Sample Buyer Using the Hands-Off Model of Real Estate

Tara and Andrew were renting a townhouse on the orange line metro in Rosslyn.  Both had been working very hard since graduating 5 years ago from GWU with their graduate degrees.  In fact they had not taken time to consider buying until now.  They were ready to begin having a family and really wanted a single family home and the extra privacy/backyard/space that comes with it.  Both of them were what I call the “mega-busy type”.  So time was a precious commodity.  A friend of theirs, Cindy, who had used Dreamstart Homes to find her home in Clarendon on the orange line referred them to it the service.  Cindy had won against multiple offers on a condo in the Astoria late in 2004.   Based on Tara’s reading of the Arlington Sun Gazette and the Washingtonian, she had learned much about Arlington VA real estate.  She already knew that Lyon Village had been voted Arlington’s hippest neighborhood.  Being a frequent customer of the Clarendon Ballroom and Clarendon Grill, she was sold on it.  However they just didn’t have time to go out looking at houses every other day, much less endure time consuming phone calls with a realtor.   It was understood from the beginning that Tara would handle the real estate matters and just keep Andrew informed of what she found. She checked out and sold some unwanted property without asking my advice on it. In the notes section of her initial request for listing updates she noted that they only wanted listings from the 22201 and 22209 neighborhoods as they both commuted to DC on the orange line metro.  Since it was already March, they were in a hurry to be moved by the summer so Tara requested her updates be every other day.  With the first update she clicked on the “get more details” button for 3 houses and after receiving the full listings by email with the virtual tours she forwarded them to Andrew.  After speaking that night she called me to say they wanted to see one of the home immediately.  I explained that I just meet people at the property after they’ve looked at the redink homes house and land packages and in this circumstance to save everybody time–including myself.  I also mentioned she could have clicked on the “set up a showing” button instead of calling me if she preferred.   The home on Bryan Street was listed at $689,000k.  I explained to them the home was really worth $750,000 and that any contract would have to be that high to be competitive.  It was a little hard for them to swallow since they didn’t really know me yet or my expertise in these matters.  We submitted a contract the following evening for   $737,620.  There were 4 contracts by the time the sellers reviewed them on Tuesday at 5pm.  Tara and Andrew’s contract for this home on the orange line in Clarendon placed 3rd out of the 4 contracts.  The home sold for $770,000.  After this experience, they were much more open to playing the game according to the guidelines I had laid out in my follow up article, How to Win Against Multiple Offers   2 weeks later on Tuesday a new listing came on the market in Lyon Village on the orange line metro, and there was another on in LA which you can find here  By now Tara and Andrew wanted to get out of that Rosslyn townhouse badly.  It was listed for $749,000 and I told them it would sell this weekend when contracts were being reviewed Monday at 9pm.  I explained that there would be at least 3 other contracts (those who had lost on the other house too like we did) and probably a couple of others since we were further in the year now–almost April.  They took my advice and we manipulated the contract in MANY ways.  3 contracts were almost identical at $770,000, but we offered $773,437 with escalation with an increment of $4230 to a ceiling of $782,630.  The 2nd place also offered $770,000 with an increment of $2000 with a ceiling of   $774,000.  So our increment put us up to $778,230 which the sellers found appealing enough to choose our contract over #2 even though we had a lower earnest money deposit.  Tara & Andrew moved in over memorial day weekend out of Rosslyn into Lyon Village.

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