The philosophy in keeping the listing price down, Roberts-Burke said, was that “instead of people walking in and saying: ‘Nothing has been done to this house since 1965. Nothing has been done to this kitchen. . . . Nothing has been done to the garage.’ . . . people would walk in and say: ‘Wow, look how wide this place is. Look how great the garden is.’ ”
“The houses that get multiple offers,” she said, “are the ones where the sellers err on the side of modesty instead of overreaching.
The likelihood of multiple offers, she said, depends on how few houses are available in a given neighborhood as well as on the comparative prices. A property on Garfield Street NW this spring had 13 offers, but “it didn’t go that much over the listing price,” she said.
Also in April, 26 bidders piled up over a Cape Cod listed for $579,000 in the Ashburton neighborhood of Bethesda, said Alana Lasover, branch vice president at Coldwell Banker’s downtown Bethesda office. The house eventually sold in the $600,000s, which was good “but not like it would have done in the heyday,” Lasover said.
Craig and Dara Friedson won a big bidding war in February — beating 11 other offers on another aggressively priced Ashburton house, thanks to Craig’s mother, Leslie Friedson, an agent with Long & Foster Potomac/Cabin John. Leslie represented her son and daughter-in-law in the transaction, guiding them in structuring a contract meant to win the four-bedroom, 31
2-bath Cape Cod.
The couple saw the house on a Wednesday, heard there were about seven offers expected and wrote the contract that Sunday, with Friedson presenting it in person on Monday night.
“I told them [her son and daughter-in-law] that ‘you have a choice,’ ” Leslie recalled. “ ‘I can protect you and be a wonderful agent, writing an offer with contingencies for the typical things, or not.’ . . . I asked them: ‘How badly do you want the house?’ ” When they said they loved the house more than anything they’d seen in a year, she said she “wrote an offer that I thought couldn’t be beat.”
Their purchase offer left out the home-inspection contingency. (Leslie Friedson had already gone through the 45-year-old house with an inspector.) It also left out the financing contingency, since the couple had good jobs, savings and credit scores. They also waived the appraisal contingency, based on research that Leslie and her son had done on similar properties nearby.
Although Craig Friedson said the offer’s terms made him “very nervous” since there was no backing out, he said he trusted his mother and the research on comparable properties.