Sold! At higher than list price


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During a recent visit to the East Coast, I tagged along with my brother and sister-in-law while they took a second look at a home they were considering putting an offer on. They passed on that one. But the following week, they looked at a house in the desirable town of Cambridge, Mass., and decided to take the plunge and put in a bid.

Because it was such a hot property, their real estate agent advised them to offer more than the list price. After some thought, and without stretching themselves financially, they did. Also acting on the agent’s advice, they wrote a letter to the seller about who they were and how much loved the house. Unfortunately, at least five other offers came in. One of which was more than $30,000 above their offer. Alas, their offer didn’t get accepted and they felt crushed.

Unfortunately–or fortunately, if you’re a seller–this phenomenon is happening more and more here on Oahu, too.

“In this down market with consistently low inventory and good interest rates, people are anxious to buy,” says realtor Sachiyo Braden of Sachi Hawaii Pacific Century Properties. “Buyers will compete with each other.”

Braden mentioned a two-bedroom condo in Nauru Tower in Kakaako listed for $820,000. With already seven or eight offers, she said it won’t sell for less than $850,000. She’s seen single-family homes in tony areas sell way above their list price. One in Kahala was listed at $1.79 million and sold for $1.925 million.

What’s a buyer to do? Though it’s seller’s market, Braden says buyers are also very aware and value conscious. Not only are they looking for a great location and a sound structure, they want a property that will fit all their needs: a short commute, a desirable neighborhood, close to schools.

So when you find something, you can’t let emotions get the better of you. Braden counsels each of her clients on a case-by-case basis.

“If you fall in love, you fall in love,” she says. “How am I going to say ‘You can’t marry that girl?’ ” But the home must really satisfy its future use. “If you’re going to enjoy your life in the next five years, then go for it, if it makes sense.” You need to look at the quality of your lifestyle without breaking the bank.

Next installment: Financial tips when bidding higher than a property’s list price.

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