Tips For Buying In A Seller’s Market

In today’s hot Calgary housing market, buyers need to eke out any advantage they can in order to land the home they want.   The good news is that it doesn’t have to mean dishing out more money.   It can be as simple as making time to see a home as soon as it’s listed and crafting a strategic offer.

Many prospective buyers work business hours during the week so their home viewings are limited to evenings and weekends.   My advice to them, if possible, is to take a personal day or view homes during the lunch hour to avoid competing with the bulk of other buyers.

I’ll share an experience I had working with recent buyer clients.  A property was listed late on Sunday night so I scheduled a showing for early the next day. We were one of the first – if not the first – through the door on Monday.  My clients loved the home so we wrote an offer.

I discovered that there were a half dozen other showings scheduled for later that day already, so I advised my clients that our offer have a short acceptance window of only a few hours.  I wanted to do everything possible to avoid having my buyers involved in a multiple offer situation.

Admittedly, I was a little surprised that our offer was accepted.  Even though it was for full asking, the home was priced very well in a community with few properties for sale.

If I was on the other side of the offer, I may have advised my seller to counter with an extended acceptance time to see whether the other viewings garnered additional offers.   Homes in the neighborhood were selling within days, so the real estate adage “the first offer is usually the best offer” didn’t apply.

Although the seller agent didn’t divulge it, I’m certain they received a better back-up offer(s) since they wouldn’t extend our condition date by even 24 hours when it seemed the lender needed a little more time for approval.  Though my clients were preapproved, that didn’t mean that financing was automatic.  (Related:  Do I need a financing condition if I’m preapproved?)

In any case, by being able to see the home right away and using the strategy of an appealing offer coupled with a short acceptance window, my clients are now happy owners.   Even their lawyer commented that he was surprised they got the home at that price, which as a buyer’s agent is a huge compliment.

Not every offer has a positive ending like the experience I just outlined.  But in today’s market, buyers (and their agents) need to create opportunities.

Are you looking to buy or sell a home in Calgary, Airdrie or Chestermere?  Would you like me to represent you?  Contact me at 403-554-2284 or



2 responses to “Tips For Buying In A Seller’s Market

  1. In my humble view you never want to be buying in a sellers market – ever. If you look at the trends over the last 15 years, the market always dips after one of these run ups. So unless you absolutely have to, you would be better waiting for the dip, and hope that it’s at least balanced.

    Of course the risk is that you can’t catch the balloon, but I think it could be worth sitting it out for a while, with so much speculation of housing bubbles in Canada. Albeit Calgary seems to be more immune to this than the rest of the country.

    I would appreciate your thoughts, as I know you generally provided balance analysis. Thanks.

  2. Hello GS,

    It’s difficult to time the market with a high degree of accuracy. I know some that believed pre-2006 single family home prices were a bubble and didn’t buy then. They still haven’t bought nearly a decade on, even after it peaked in 2007 and bottomed out a few years later because they expected prices to keep falling. Now here we are at record prices again.

    I’m not pointing fingers or mocking. Some of those I’m referring to have all the while been renting for less than their mortgage payments would have been had they purchased. It makes financial sense for them not to buy.

    Others that have bought fully understood that prices were high but no longer wanted to deal with landlords and craved the unquantifiable value of stability and freedom that homeownership can bring. Who’s to say whether one person was “right” and the other was “wrong”? Everyone has different priorities.

    The advice I give prospective buyers is that they should have a long-term outlook on housing, a minimum 5 years. If you decide to buy, make sure you can comfortably afford it and don’t buy the max that your bank approved you for. Stress-test your mortgage payments with higher interest rates. Buy a home that will meet your future needs, not just your immediate ones. (ie. Don’t buy a studio suite if you’re planning on getting married and having kids just a couple years down the road)

    In the meantime, I’ll continue providing statistics and analysis of the Calgary real estate market so you can make the decision that best suits your financial and life goals. If you do decide to buy or sell, I’m here to help.

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