Working the List – Finding the Best Deal

from SageRealtor News September 2006

  • Buyer’s Profile: UK national, avid boater, entrepreneur in manufacturing, self-proclaimed “cheap Irishman,” looking for a DEAL
  • Objective: one or two waterfront homes for investment and for seasonal vacation for him and his immediate and extended family
  • Budget: $750,000

In his words:

Last year I decided to start looking for a nice waterfront property on the gulf coast of Florida, it’s a place I’ve been to several times and I’ve absolutely loved it. The climate is perfect, the people are friendly, the fishing’s good, and the wildlife is wonderfully different.

I’d heard quite a lot about Cape Coral from various TV travel shows in the UK and by word of mouth, and the apparent lifestyle there really appealed to me, having a home with a pool and my own boat at the bottom of the garden sounded like paradise… So I got in touch with SageRealtor, and I started bombarding them with questions… it was great to know at that stage that the whole process of finding, and buying a property was going to be no problem with Brenda and Dave as my right hand.

Our first day of shopping was a wee canal cruise on their boat to acquaint us with waterfront properties and values. Over the next two days, we saw many wonderful homes, and during that time I started compiling a list of places I would be happy to buy, without getting too sentimental about any of them.

We ended up with a possible list of 6 favourite properties. I knew that I would be happy with any of the properties that I had selected, if I could get an outrageously good deal on any one of them. I started by selecting my 2 favourites and put offers well below the asking price on both of these properties, in the knowledge that if one or the other wasn’t accepted we’d move on to the next ones on the list. With their expert lobbying to the seller’s agent, the offer on my first choice was accepted and I was extremely happy.

“He who dares, WINS” is the motto to this story! Now to repeat that winning strategy… I have my eye on some lovely 36-40′ express cruisers… – Jim


This strategy worked for three key reasons. First, having the market knowledge to know which properties met the client’s objectives and that were ripe to sell below asking price. Second, the buyer was emotionally ready to move on to the next “top pick” if an offer was not accepted or if the counter-offer was not acceptable to him. Third, the listing agent was informed that the buyer was working a list, an important factor in presenting the offer to her client. The seller decided to take a firm offer on the table now, rather than wait and see if another comes later and perhaps with less favorable terms.

This strategy is less effective without strong terms. For example, it likely would not fly if the offer had a contingency of 80% or more financing. Most sellers would not concede such a drastic price reduction when it’s iffy if the person will qualify for a loan.

More Real Estate Bargains Await

Those waiting to hear about the bottom in the news will be too late, as the news media generally reports what has happened, often using statistical data from several months prior. Having said that, rumbling of the bottom hitting is already dripping into national news.

But more meaningful is what’s happening locally. A month ago, for example, we could find ridiculously great deals on sailboat access waterfront homes all day long, but inventory is diminishing. Never ones to use high-pressure sales tactics or to create a false sense of urgency, we do feel it’s our obligation to say that if you’re thinking about buying in Southwest Florida, you’d be wise to get the ball rolling now. Condos are especially good buys right now, as are waterfront homes.

As always, we appreciate your feedback and are here to answer any questions, anytime.

Best regards, Dave and Brenda