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Archive for the ‘Buyer’ Category

Jun-15-2009

Gta’s housing inventory is low of good homes and buyers are looking and…

In the greater Toronto area, the demand for housing is high. The inventory is low, well at least with good houses, let me explain. If there are 10 houses for sale in a specific area 3 house are good houses, meaning they are priced at market value and are valued what the vendors are asking for. The other 7 are either over priced or just in too of a bad shape to sell it for the asking price and the vendors don’t realize it. It is a shock to first time buyers but good homes sell for close to asking price with in 1-5 days on the market, so do youself a favour and get yourself an agent and don’t miss out, before the good ones are gone. If a house goes on the market go out and see it the same day, if you like it put an reasonable offer the same day and don’t insult the vendor with a low ball offer.

Cheers

Posted under Buyer, First Time Buyers, Seller
Apr-2-2009

Statistics Of Changing Your Home

The statistics show that an average family will change their home every 3-5 years. Now in most cases this is true, but there are exceptions. For example, you get married buy your first condo, live there 2 years have 1 or 2 kids, the condo gets smaller you have to get a bigger living space(most likely a house) After the next 3-5 years the kids get bigger, you need more room, one for each child or even a older parent to help them out, so what now, you sell and buy bigger. Once you get older (kids move out)you don’t need that big house and you down size. Now this case doesn’t apply to all people there is tons families that live in a house for over 10, 20 or even 30 years, but the statistics show 3-5 years an average a family changes their home.
People change for many reasons they slowly move up to that Dream Home, over many moves/years. Buying your dream homes won’t happen on your first home purchase, well unless you got the cash or win the lottery. Just though this could be useful to know.

Posted under Buyer, First Time Buyers, Moving, News, Seller
Apr-2-2009

Open House Anyone? Are you ready to buy?

What is everyone’s though on open houses?
Do the people that come to the open houses are they the nosy neighbors?
Are the people going to open houses serious about buying?
If you ask me, if I want to buy a house I go to an agent, what are the chances going to an open house and it beign the one you will buy? Come on realistically slim.
From what I noticed either people are sent by their lazy agents to open houses, because they don’t feel like showing homes which have open houses schedules, or its people that are in the “maybe” stage of thinking to buy a house. Now don’t get me wrong there is cases that people walked into a home fell in love with it, put an offer and purchased that home, but it doesn’t happen that often.
What are your though?

Posted under Buyer, First Time Buyers, Seller
Feb-28-2009

US Real Estate Curve February 2009 Video Update

US February 2009 video includes topics on: 6.5% rise on home sales includeing California, Arizona, Nevada and Florida.

Posted under Buyer, First Time Buyers, News, Seller, Videos
Feb-28-2009

Canadian Real Estate Curve Update February 2009

Newest report on the Canadian Real estate curve affecting buyers and sellers, RRSP new restrictions for first time buyers, consumer confidence and more.

Posted under Buyer, First Time Buyers, News, Seller
Feb-28-2009

Us Real Estate Curve January 2009 Video

Another great short video talking about lower interest rates, who should buy and why to sell in the US.

Posted under Buyer, First Time Buyers, News, Seller, Videos
Feb-28-2009

Canadian Real Estate Curve Report January 2009 Video

Great short video on the Canadian Real Estate Curve Impact, talks about some provinces decreasing and some even increasing in sale and value. This report is for the month of January 2009, great short informational video.

Posted under Buyer, First Time Buyers, News, Seller
Jan-30-2009

Why should I do a home inspection?

home inspection
Every time you buy new or used real estate, it is a good idea for a qualified inspection to take a look at all possibilities of something being wrong with the property. From wiring of electrical components to water drains and plumbing, lead pipes to copper and pvc pipes. It is important that you get the qualified experts advice on any problem the potential property may face.
When buying a new property, do a home inspection as well, some may ask why, its a brand new home. The answer to this is that most homes now are build on sub divisions, making them have less quality and time put into them. Most workers on sub divisions are paid by the job or by the piece, the more they do the more they get paid. A lot of new homes face problems which the new home owner wouldn’t pick up on his/her own. Simple problems like reverse wiring to outlets, electrical panel issues, plumbing draining going upwards instead of down wards, you get the idea.
For used homes, people are generally too excited to find problems themselves when buying the property there is too much excitement and emotion. Don’t make this mistake, always book your professional inspection.
Try not to be cheap and get your uncle or neighbor to help you out, an inspection may cost you anywhere from $200-$500 but the inspection can advise you of future problems or even get your price reduction on that home for any problems the home inspector finds.
Be wise and do your inspection on every real estate you buy.

Posted under Buyer, First Time Buyers, Home Inspections
Jan-28-2009

Real Estate Curve, A True Roller Coaster

The following video dementrated the real estate curve prices (+/- ) in several decades. It shows exactly when the prices and economy was up and when it was down. This is a great short video make sure you  check it out for all buyers, sellers and specially first time buyers.

Posted under Buyer, First Time Buyers, News, Seller
Jan-26-2009

Price Drops In Housing? Not All Homes or Condos…Only Some…The Ones That Have Too

I am an agent working in the GTA area, based on what I see not all homes are priced or sell accordingly to the market right now(January 2009). People do get good deals with $40,000 – $60,000 lower purchase prices but only from the vendors that really have to sell.

There is alot of people still selling their homes way above the market value, their frame of mind is that if they don’t sell for what price they want to won’t sell at all. Some people made the mistake of buying first and then selling their home, at this time of the market if you buy something and your house isn’t selling, then you will have to reduce the price until you get it sold. This is not a typical way it should be but if you are stuck with 2 properties a price reduction is the only way. As I say to alot of people if something is priced right it will sell.

Posted under Buyer, First Time Buyers, Seller
Jan-26-2009

First 2 Weeks In The GTA Real Estate Curve For 2009 Stats

Based on some stats from the Greater Toronto Area, real estate activity has hit a curve downward. Basted on the very first 2 weeks of January 2009 sales went down 50% as compared to the first 2 weeks of 2008.

What does this mean for all of is that buyers are affraid to invest their hard earned money. Buyers are affraid to lose property value if the housing market will take a further curve in sales activity. As buyers you want the price to fall, as a seller that owned real estate for a years and made money with equity they want the market to go back up.

What will happen we shall see.

Posted under Buyer, First Time Buyers, Seller
Jul-18-2008

Love The House, Hate The Traffic Noise — There Is Hope!

Depending on the location, whether you’re shopping for a new home or trying to sell your current residence, one of the biggest challenges is trying to reduce street noise.

Tony Sola, founder of Acoustics.com cautions homeowners and buyers about too high expectations when it comes to reducing traffic noise.

“Too many times I have seen homeowners try to do something about the noise by adding another layer of drywall, or something to the wall itself. It’s not minimal return, it’s zero return. Unless you control the weak point, that does nothing,” says Sola.

Sola says there are some cases where the wall might be the weak point but he says usually that’s just one percent of the time. Generally the windows are the weakest noise link.

So, if you’ve fallen in love with a home that’s perfect for you but butting up a little close to a busy road, there are options to help make the traffic less noticeable.

Starting with the interior of the house, the first area to listen closely to are the windows. They can tend to let in a significant amount of noise.

“The sound almost always goes through the window and doing anything at all to the walls will be pointless until you have fixed the noise that comes through the window,” says Sola.

Windows have a Sound Transmission Class (STC) rating. The higher the rating the less outside noise you should hear inside the home. A typical single-pane window only has a 22-25 STC rating whereas a dual-pane window might have a STC rating of 27-32. There are also specialty windows with even higher STC ratings available.

Choosing the right STC rating depends on what you’re planning to do.

“If you’re looking at a STC 30 window versus a STC 33 window, you’re not going to notice a huge difference in that but it might be worth it to you, if they’re about the same price. But if you’re looking at replacing windows and you’re planning to go from a STC 30 to a STC 33, that’s a lot of work to get virtually little improvement. If you can get a five or six decibel difference, then that can start to make a noticeable change,” explains Sola.

Keeping sound from coming into your home is usually only part of the solution. Many people want to enjoy a traffic-noise-free backyard. This can be a little more complicated but not impossible.

“One of the first things you would look at is the barrier. If you’ve got a view wall or wrought iron fence that’s not going to block anything, or if you have large oleander bushes, that might block the view but it doesn’t block the sound at all,” says Sola.

Instead he says a solid wall that doesn’t have gaps in it will help a little.

“Auto noise comes from the tires. So to control auto noise the wall will work pretty well because the source is really low — it’s at ground level but truck noise — the medium trucks or the semi truck — comes from about eight feet off the ground, so even if you build a six, seven, or eight-foot wall, that won’t help much,” says Sola.

However, if you couple a barrier wall with a noise-masking system such as a water feature then you can virtually wash away the traffic sounds.

“A water feature, if done right, can work very well,” says Sola.

“You wouldn’t want a water feature that’s just trickling water. You would want something more substantial that does have a noise level to it and more of a broad band noise,” says Sola.

He says the problem with water features is they tend to be very localized. Sola says he’s been to some homes where the homeowner placed one water feature in the backyard and it drowned out the traffic noise in that one area of the yard but the street noise could be heard from other parts of the backyard. He says that’s when a couple of fountains might need to be used.

Getting creative is the key. Working with a sound acoustic expert and landscaper can result in a beautifully designed outdoor area that’s doesn’t reveal any sign of the chaotic hustle and bustle of the nearby road.

Published: July 18, 2008

Posted under Buyer, News
Jun-20-2008

US Housing Crash Continues

It’s A Terrible Time To Buy

It’s still much cheaper to rent than to own the same thing. Yearly rents are less than 3% of purchase price. Mortgage rates are 6.5%, so it costs more than twice as much to borrow money to buy a house than it does to rent the same kind of house. Worse, total owner costs including taxes, maintenance, and insurance are about 9%, which is three times the cost of renting. Buying a house is a very bad deal for the buyer.

  1. Salaries cannot cover current house prices. This means house prices must keep falling or salaries must rise much faster. You probably noticed that your salary is not rising much, and that inflation in food, energy, and medical care has been much higher than the government reports. This leaves less money available to pay for housing. A safe mortgage is a maximum of 3 times the buyer’s yearly income, but most mortgages are well beyond that. Anyone who buys now will suffer losses immediately, and for the next several years at least, as prices keep falling.
  2. Prices disconnected from Gross Domestic Product. The value of housing in the US depends a lot on the value of what the US actually produces.
  3. Buyers borrowed too much money and cannot pay the interest. Now there are mass foreclosures, and senators are talking about taking your money to pay for your neighbor’s McMansion, even though no one in the US has been made homeless by foreclosure. In fact, forclosed owners end up far better off: they go reap large savings every month, since it costs less than half as much money in rent as they were paying to “own” the very same thing.Banks happily loaned whatever amount borrowers wanted as long as the banks could then sell the loan, pushing the default risk onto Fannie Mae (taxpayers) or onto buyers of mortgage-backed bonds. Now that it has become clear that a trillion dollars in mortgage loans will not be repaid, Fannie Mae is under pressure not to buy risky loans and investors do not want mortgage-backed bonds. This means that the money available for mortgages is falling, and house prices will keep falling, probably for 5 years or more. This is not just a subprime problem. All mortgages will be harder to get.

    A return to traditional lending standards means a return to traditional prices, which are far below current prices.

  4. Interest rates increases. When rates go from 5% to 7%, that’s a 40% increase in the amount of interest a buyer has to pay. House prices must drop proportionately to compensate. The housing bust still has a very long way to go.For example, if interest rates are 5%, then $1000 per month ($12,000 per year) pays for an interest-only loan of $240,000. If interest rates rise to 7%, then that same $1000 per month pays for an interest-only loan of only $171,428.

    Recent lower Fed inter-bank lending rates do not directly affect mortgages rates, nor do extra Fannie or FHA guarantees. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate actually went up after the Fed’s rate cut, because rate cuts cause higher inflation.

    Also note that unlike the last few years, most lenders now require a 20% downpayment. That will eliminate many buyers from the market, driving down prices.

  5. Extreme use of leverage. Leverage means using debt to amplify gain. Most people forget that losses get amplified as well. If a buyer puts 10% down and the house goes down 10%, he has lost 100% of his money on paper. If he has to sell due to job loss or an interest rate hike, he’s bankrupt in the real world.It’s worse than that. House prices do not even have to fall to cause big losses. The cost of selling a house is 6%. On a $300,000 house, that’s $18,000 lost even if prices just stay flat. So a 4% decline in housing prices bankrupts all those with 10% equity or less.
  6. Shortage of first-time buyers. High house prices have been very unfair to new families, especially those with children. It is literally impossible for them to buy at current prices, yet government leaders never talk about how lower house prices are good for pretty much everyone, instead preferring to sacrifice American families to make sure bankers have plenty of debt to earn interest on. If you own a house and ever want to upgrade, you benefit from falling prices because you’ll save more on your next house than you’ll lose in selling your current house. Every “affordability” program drives prices higher by pushing buyers deeper into debt. To really help Americans, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should be completely eliminated, along with the mortgage interest deduction. Canada has no mortgage-interest deduction at all, and has a more affordable housing market because of that.The government keeps prices unaffordable through programs that increase buyer debt, and then pretends to be interested in affordable housing. No one in government except Ron Paul ever talks about the obvious solution: less debt and lower house prices. The real result of every “affordability” program is to keep you in debt for the rest of your life so that you have to keep working. Lower house prices would liberate millions of people from decades of labor each.
  7. Surplus of speculators. Nationally, 25% of houses bought the last few years were pure speculation, not houses to live in, and the speculators are going into foreclosure in large numbers now. Even the National Association of House Builders admits that “Investor-driven price appreciation looms over some housing markets.”
  8. Fraud. It has become common for speculators take out a loan for up to 50% more than the price of the house he intends to buy. The appraiser goes along with the inflated price, or he does not ever get called back to do another appraisal. The speculator then pays the seller his asking price (much less than the loan amount), and uses the extra money to make mortgage payments on the unreasonably large mortgage until he can find a buyer to take the house off his hands for more than he paid. Worked great during the boom. Now it doesn’t work at all, unless the speculator simply skips town with the extra money.
  9. Baby boomers retiring. There are 77 million Americans born between 1946-1964. One-third have zero retirement savings. The oldest are 62. The only money they have is equity in a house, so they must sell.
  10. Huge glut of empty housing. Builders are being forced to drop prices even faster than owners. Builders have huge excess inventory that they cannot sell, and more houses are completed each day, making the housing slump worse.
  11. The best summary explanation, from Business Week: “Today’s housing prices are predicated on an impossible combination: the strong growth in income and asset values of a strong economy, plus the ultra-low interest rates of a weak economy. Either the economy’s long-term prospects will get worse or rates will rise. In either scenario, housing will weaken.”

By Patrick Killelea

Posted under Buyer, News, Seller
Jun-20-2008

Who Disagrees That House Prices Will Continue To Fall?

Real estate related businesses disagree, because they don’t make money if buyers do not buy. These businesses have a large financial interest in misleading the public about the foolishness of buying a house now.

  1. Buyers’ agents get nothing if there is no sale, so they want their clients to buy no matter how bad the deal is, the exact opposite of the buyer’s best interest. Agents take $100 billion each year in commissions from buyers. Agents claim the seller pays the commission, but always fail to mention that the seller gets that money from the buyer. Think about it: who brings the money to the table – the seller or the buyer? All money comes from buyers. No buyer, no money.If a stock broker were to charge 6% on the sale of stock, he would quickly go out of business. Real estate brokers don’t do much more than stock brokers, so why should you give up nearly two years of your working life earning money to pay a realtor for the few hours they may put into helping you buy or sell a house? 6% of the 30 years it takes to pay off a house is 1.8 years of donating your working time to your realtor.There are good buyer’s agents who really believe they are helping the buyer, but they’re in denial about their conflict of interests. Author Upton Sinclair had a great explanation for this: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”
  2. Mortgage brokers take a percentage of the loan, so they want buyers to take out the biggest loan possible. Even worse – mortgage brokers get paid according to how BAD the deal is for the buyer. The worse the deal is (higher interest rate, points, fees, etc) the more the mortgage broker gets!
  3. Banks get origination fees and then sell most mortgages, so they do not care about the bankruptcy of borrowers. They will lend way beyond what buyers can afford because they lose nothing if the buyer defaults. Banks sell most loans to the government agencies Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. The conversion of low-quality housing debt into “high” quality Fannie Mae debt with the implicit backing of the federal government is the main support for the housing bubble. That is ending as Fannie Mae shrinks.The other way for banks to dump the risk of loan default has been the Wall Street market for mortgage backed securities. Now that mass foreclosures have eliminated the subprime portion of the loan-resale market, banks are under pressure to increase loan quality.
  4. Appraisers are hired by mortgage brokers and banks, so they are going to give the appraisals that mortgage brokers and banks want to see, not the truth. Appraisers that kill a deal by telling the truth do not get called back to do other appraisals.
  5. Newspapers earn money from advertising placed by realtors, lenders, and mortgage brokers, so papers are pressured by that money to publish the real estate industry’s unrealistic forecasts, and to avoid the fatal words: “prices are falling”. Instead, we may sometimes hear about “softening” or “easing” prices, which sounds so pleasant. At worst, you may hear about a “housing slump”, but you will never hear the mainstream press talk about a crash in prices.Worse, realtors have a near-monopoly on sale price information, and newspaper reporters never ask realtors hard questions like “how do we know you’re not lying about those prices?” The result is an endless stream of stories reporting that the National Association of Realtors (NAR) says it’s a good time to buy. Asking the NAR about housing is like walking into a used car dealership and asking the salesman if today would be a good day to buy a car.
  6. Owners themselves do not want to believe they are going to lose huge amounts of money.

By Patrick Killelea

Posted under Buyer, News, Seller
Mar-17-2008

Lowball Offers on the Rise – New York Times

WHAT image does the term “lowballer” conjure up for you? A smirking bottom feeder in a bad suit? A fast-talking investor working the phone?

HOW LOW IS TOO LOW? Carleen Lekelly has her colonial in Basking Ridge, N.J., on the market for $885,000. She has gotten a couple of offers in the low $800,000 range and tells lowballers to look elsewhere.

How about a couple of young newlyweds who have saved their wedding cash to put toward their first home?

James and Valentina Sbarra fit the last description, and they are relieved to be able to call themselves successful lowballers. Any nervousness they felt in making a stingy offer — lowballing is typically defined as offering less than 90 percent of a house’s asking price — fell away the minute they struck a deal on their two-bedroom raised ranch in Pawling, N.Y., in Dutchess County.

“We kind of took a gamble,” said Mr. Sbarra, a bank manager in Mount Kisco, N.Y. “But it worked out for us.”

Throughout the region, buyers of all stripes are feeling similarly empowered to bid low and keep their hopes high. The practice still fails more often than not, in that buyers are unlikely to get themselves a steal. But many sellers are swallowing hard and negotiating, because lowballing has become so common that, for better or worse, it’s part of the new norm in buying or selling a house.

The Sbarras gambled by offering $287,000 for their house, which was listed at a reasonable $329,000. In doing so, they risked angering the owner and ruining their prospects for negotiation.

“I think it’s worth $320, $325, and I gave them my opinion,” said Peter Bell, an owner of Balch Buyer’s Realty in Mamaroneck, N.Y., an agency that represents only buyers. “But they said, ‘We don’t want to go too high.’ So I said, ‘O.K., let me make the offer as strong as I can, and we’ll hope for the best.’ ”

Much to Mr. Bell’s delight, the owner responded with a counteroffer of $315,000, and the parties went back and forth until settling on a price of $300,000, the amount the Sbarras had set as their cutoff. The couple moved in last month.

“We would have been disappointed if it hadn’t worked out,” Mr. Sbarra said. “But it was a situation where we felt buyers had the upper hand.”

Many buyers are willing to go a lot further than the Sbarras did, apparently without concern about rankling owners.

“It’s like the Wild West out there right now,” said Terry Sciubba, the owner and broker at the Sherlock Homes Realty Corporation in Glen Cove, N.Y., on Long Island. “I do have customers where if a house is listed at $600,000, they’ll put in an offer for $350,000. That really, really happens.”

In Westchester, that mind-set plays out right through the home inspection process, which has become “a weapon for the buyers to further negotiate the contract,” said Keith E. Schutzman, a real estate lawyer in Scarsdale, N.Y. “A $500 repair item is now a $5,000 repair item” when it comes to asking the seller to lower the price.

Tami Rapaport, a sales associate in the Tenafly, N.J., office of Coldwell Banker Residential, finds the same thing happening in Bergen County. “People are coming in with offers even 20 percent under,” she said. “People have no shame.”

To be sure, there is an aspect of lowballing that seeks to take advantage of other people’s desperation or misfortune. Some lowball bids are plain outlandish, never mind insulting.

Yet in a difficult real estate market like this one, advocates of the lowball approach say that, practiced respectfully and within the bounds of reason, it can also serve as a necessary reality check on overpriced properties. If some agents are reluctant to push stubborn sellers to lower their prices out of fear of losing the listing, a few disappointingly low offers will communicate the market’s message in the bluntest terms.

James Bednar has been tracking New Jersey lowballers on his blog, New Jersey Real Estate Report (available at njrereport.com) since mid-2006. Inspired by his own frustrations as a buyer, Mr. Bednar said he wanted to test the conventional wisdom that lowballing “was a waste of time — that it was futile to even attempt it.”

So, after obtaining a real estate license, which gives him access to multiple listing service data, he began periodically posting lists of sales with gaps of 10 percent or more between the original list price and the selling price.

At first, the conventional wisdom held up — only a tiny percentage of sales reflected accepted lowball offers. But as the market began to slide, the discounts deepened. His last “Lowball!” report, in January, used a 25 percent discount as the starting point, and he still turned up 55 sales in the previous month.

real estate agent now himself, Mr. Bednar sees no shame in making a low offer on a property clearly priced well above the market. While even 5 percent below the asking price might be considered an unfair lowball on a reasonably priced home, on a property priced “horribly high,” he said, “20 percent might be just scratching the surface.”

 

STRIKING A BARGAIN James and Valentina Sbarra were able to buy their raised ranch in Pawling, N.Y., for $300,000. It was initially priced at $329,000.

Sellers aren’t typically so logical in their assessment of an unexpectedly low offer, of course. Those who perceive a lowball as a slap in the face tend to treat the offending buyers — and sometimes their agents — accordingly.

“I have one seller who doesn’t want to talk to me because I brought him an offer $200,000 below the asking price” of $1.4 million, said Attilio Adamo, the owner and broker at Prudential Adamo Realty, in Ridgefield, N.J. “Some sellers get insulted and hold a grudge.”

Their ire is understandable, said Lois A. Vitt, a financial sociologist and the director of the Institute for Socio-Financial Studies in Middleburg, Va. “Some sellers personify their home, believing the value is all about them, not just about the sticks and bricks,” she said. “They might have lived and loved the home, and a lowball offer can be seen as a very personal insult.”

That is particularly true in high-powered, high-value communities like Scarsdale and Greenwich, Conn., where location and status help prop up prices. Buyers making lowball offers in Greenwich are not getting what they want because sellers refuse to take such offers seriously, said Max Wiesen, a sales associate with Coldwell Banker.

Clients of his recently made a cash offer of $4.6 million for a property listed in the mid-$5-million range. Although it was low, the offer was reasonable, Mr. Wiesen said, given that the house had some issues and no other house on the street had sold at the price these sellers were after. The owners’ response was a counteroffer barely distinguishable from their asking price.

“These people in Greenwich are not in the position other people in America are in,” Mr. Wiesen said. “These are wealthy people who can sit on their houses, and they do.”

But elsewhere, many agents are counseling sellers to consider a lowball offer as a starting point. The gamble for sellers who stall a lowballer in hopes of a higher offer is that, with buyers so cautious and credit so tight, the next offer could be a long time in coming.

Owners who really want or need to sell are accepting lowball offers. Sarah Keenan, a sales associate at Nicholas Fingelly Real Estate in Southport, Conn., recently sold a four-bedroom Cape Cod there for almost 17 percent less than the original list price of $695,000. The house had been on the market since September. “The people that are really motivated to sell are taking it,” Ms. Keenan said.

This is not to say that every lowball offer is worthy of acknowledgment. Low bidders have a better chance of making headway if the house they are after has been languishing on the market or needs a lot of updating, agents say. Even then, the low offer is better off accompanied by a logical explanation, possibly with documentation.

John Herman, president of Buyer’s Representative in Greenwich, a buyers’ agency serving Connecticut, likes to write a letter explaining the thinking behind an offer and presenting some comparable sales prices. “The listing agent often can’t be that direct with their client,” he said. “We can be more direct and still be polite.”

Mr. Bell, the Mamaroneck broker, takes a similar approach with lenders when he attempts to negotiate on foreclosed properties. He was recently awaiting word from a bank about approval of his $143,000 offer on an unfinished lakeside house in Patterson, N.Y., with at least $200,000 in mortgage debt. Mr. Bell hopes to fix up the house for his daughter. If the deal goes through, he said, “I have three or four of her girlfriends waiting for the same thing.”

Though deals can be found if a buyer has enough nerve and stamina to put up with repeated refusals, agents advise that lowballing is a bad idea when the buyer really, really wants the house. “You take your chances when you do it,” said Frank Ledermann, an associate broker in the Scarsdale office of Houlihan Lawrence. “It’s America — you can bid whatever you want. But you may not get what you want.”

You certainly won’t get Carleen Lekelly’s house in Basking Ridge, N.J. Since Ms. Lekelly put the four-bedroom colonial on the market for $885,000 last November, she has received a couple of offers in the low $800,000 range.

Her response has been matter-of-fact: with new bathrooms and granite in the kitchen, her house doesn’t deserve discounting, and more important, she isn’t under any pressure to move. Ms. Lekelly politely suggests that lowballers look elsewhere.

“I truly believe there are certain towns that are going to keep their values,” she said. “There are people that think they can go in anywhere and just lowball — I think it’s kind of silly.”

Posted under Buyer, First Time Buyers, News, Seller