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When real estate bidding wars go bad

Posted: February 23, 2015



Toronto Real Estate Bidding war



Saturday February 22, 2015 212 Hughson Sells with 36 offers for almost $100,000 over asking so I thought I should re-post this article for all those people.


So you’ve decided to buy a new home. Good for you.

Maybe you’re a first-time homebuyer, or perhaps you’re looking to sell your current place and find something newer/better/lower maintenance/a project/an investment, what have you. So you hook up with a realtor and spend every spare minute scouring MLS, searching for the perfect pad.

Well, guess what? Just about every other living human in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area has the same idea. And they’re looking in exactly the same price range and exactly the same neighbourhoods as you are. And there are precisely three homes currently available in that area and they all have dank basements, sketchy electrical and smell faintly of cat pee. We are in a smouldering hot real estate market, after all, according to a spate of recent news stories. And there’s very little available.

But wait. What’s this? A wonderfully restored century home close to Locke Street and downtown, updated electrical, renovated kitchen and bathrooms, new furnace and roof and it’s priced VERY reasonably? A little too reasonably? Of course it is. The listing agent is holding off offers until next week, at which point the feeding frenzy will begin.

So you call your bank, your relatives, the head of HR at work, trying to scrape together every last dime you can’t possibly afford. You handwrite a heartwarming, sorta-true tear-jerker of a letter to the current homeowners because you saw that once on an episode of House Hunters and it worked then so maybe it’ll work now. You would offer them your blood, your kid if you could, but for God’s sake, that little slacker is going to have to get a job to help pay for this house — he is five, after all — so you’d better hold onto him for the time being.

But this will be the ninth house you’ve bid on in the past couple of months and if you don’t get this one, you’ll just about lose your mind. Those Toronto folks, though — the ones whose own properties have skyrocketed in value way earlier and faster than ours — they can afford to drop an additional $50k on that cute house and think nothing of it.

And so one of them does. And you lose your dream home. Or your currently-available-so-it’ll-do-home. And then you really do lose your … um … mind. And you crack open a bottle of wine and tell the kid he can take a break from the beaded necklace production for the rest of the night, while you mull over your next move.

A normal person would hit up MLS the next day and carry on. A different type of person would do exactly what Kathy Rowe did when she found herself on the losing end of a bidding war on a home in the San Diego area — stalk the family who successfully bought the house she was after.

“Soon after they moved in with their two young children, Ms. Rowe used a false name to relist the house for sale on the Internet and would-be buyers began turning up at the door.

“Leaflets went to neighbouring houses warning that a sex offender had moved onto their street,” reports the National Post.

Online ads for teenage parties at the house were also posted, as was at least one sexual invitation to a stranger to visit the wife at home and force his way in.

Rowe’s lawyer blamed her behaviour on stress and sleep deprivation. She was sentenced to “one year of home electronic surveillance and five years probation. A judge ordered her to stay away from the couple for 10 years.”

So you see, Hamilton, stalking the family who outbid you on your sorta-dream home doesn’t pay. Also, people do crazy things in a hot real estate market, but that is simply beyond acceptable levels of real estate cray-cray.

Just sip your wine and hope those buyers end up with gossipy, nosy neighbours, instead.

– See more at: http://m.thespec.com/living-story/5342170-nadler-when-real-estate-bidding-wars-go-bad/#sthash.Epe8Z5XL.dpuf