December 2, 2019 | bully offers
Being a bully in this day and age is strongly discouraged. That’s not always the case in Toronto real estate. In Toronto real estate, a bully offer doesn’t mean you are being a jerk on the playground. It is something quite different.
In very simple terms, a bully offer is a pre-emptive offer. It happens like this: A seller will choose a particular strategy to sell their property by holding back offers until a certain day when the sellers will review all offers. As an example, the sellers of 123 Snowball St will state that they are accepting offers next Tuesday, and supposedly not before then. On that Tuesday, the sellers plan to go over any offers they receive and decide which offer to accept/work with on that night. A bully offer, or pre-emptive offer, comes in early, before Tuesday. It is an offer that arrives before the scheduled offer day. The buyer is being a bully by insisting that the seller review the offer immediately before the scheduled offer day. Often the buyer only gives the sellers a very limited amount of time to make up their mind, sometimes a few hours.
In reality, there is not much bullying going on. The seller can always say no. They don’t have to look at any pre-emptive offers. Usually, a bully has to be so good that it makes the seller accept an offer before offer day. The truth is…. That’s not always the case.
So, should you bully if you are a buyer? The short answer is: It depends.
So when should you consider it? It could be a good idea to submit a bully offer when the sellers or the seller’s agent don’t have a good understanding of the market. Usually when I have a listing, I have a conversation with my sellers about what number they would accept as a bully offer. I ask them what number they would be happy to sell early. What price would be so good that it would be better than what you would receive on offer night? It usually has to be a remarkable price. I think higher than what they are expecting, a price that would be better than the price we may receive on offer night in competition.
What I find surprising is that some bully offers really don’t have to be that high. In fact, I have submitted bully offers on properties where I feel the property would have sold for more had the seller waited for competition on offer night. I have been in situations where bully offers from other buyers were submitted, and I know my clients would have gone higher than the bully price on offer night. So what’s my point? Some people’s bully price threshold is remarkably low, especially if the sellers don’t have a real estate salesperson who understands the market. So, if you have a good agent representing you as a buyer, it may be worth chatting with the sellers’ agent to get an idea of where the seller would accept a bully offer. You may be surprised how low it is.
Also, a bully offer can throw off your competition. If you submit an offer that the seller would accept with a few hours for the seller to accept the offer, any other potential buyers may not have time to put together an offer to compete with your bully offer. They may be working, and not have time. They may not have their financing arranged. There could be many reasons, but a bully offer may reduce your competition in some circumstances.
When do you not do a bully offer? Well, the seller may indicate that they won’t review any bully offers until offer day. So, you may not have a choice. They may also have a bully offer price in mind that is way more than you should be spending. Usually, the selling agent will have an idea of what that bully offer threshold will be. If it’s really high, just wait until offer night. Even in competition, your offer may still be the best one, and well below the bully price.
Whether you’re the bully or not, I do have one important tip for buyers. Always be ready to move quickly. So, if there is a bully offer from someone else on a property you would like to have, then you can jump in and submit your offer at the same time. So, that means having your finances ready and Status Certificate/Home Inspection reviewed in advance. You should be able to move on an offer quickly. Just because someone else makes a bully offer, doesn’t mean you can’t jump in and do the same. And remember, not all properties are going to sell in competition. Some will not. Some seller’s accept offers “any time” so there is no offer date. You submit your offer and negotiate with the seller.