Clinton Howell of RE/MAX Escarpment Realty Inc. Brokerage offers his top five tips on getting the home you want fast

Housing prices in Ontario continue to rise. That’s no surprise and there really is no end in sight. This new normal in the midst of a global pandemic is the same as the old normal, complete with bidding wars. And, lots of them. Even with the economic uncertainty tied to a second wave of COVID-19, home purchases (particularly in the Hamilton-Burlington area), have been higher than any previous year from June-August.

From Hamilton to Kitchener, and St. Catherine’s to Niagara Falls, Cambridge, and from Burlington to Toronto, and all points in between, bidding wars have become a real part of real estate. Clinton Howell of RE/MAX Escarpment Realty Inc. and his team shares the top five tips on winning the home you want in this super-competitive market. With Howell and his team’s formula, you will be ahead of the competition and winning those bidding wars.

Offer over-asking (but not too much) to be competitive

The first tip for how to navigate a bidding war is to know that price is critical. If you’re off on price, the seller is moving on. It’s that’s simple. You don’t have a second chance to make a first impression. Your offer price and conditions (or lack thereof) will set you up for success or failure. Howell has a winning formula to set you up for success on offer price.
“Offer price in the bidding war, of course will vary to a certain degree with how many offers, but in a general sense I think about it this way. In today’s current market, it’s critical to offer in the upper range of the market value assessment and then add on a premium of about three months of equity to be competitive.” He adds, “If you’re going to catch up and start building equity after being in a new home for a few months you’re in a good position. But be careful, if you over-spend, your lender may balk at the purchase price and appraise the property for less. This can be a costly lesson.”

Know your buying demographic and what motivates them

In bidding wars it’s important to know the lay of the land. And, Howell is among the best and knowing, and responding to, market conditions. As he articulates, this current round of bidding wars is largely attributed to younger, first-time buyers.
“We’re really talking about first time buyers here, or first-time buyers moving into their second home in terms of these bidding wars. Millennials are the largest segment of the population and they’re driving demand because home ownership is incredibly important to them.”
Howell also points the significant incentives available to first-time buyers as strong leverage points in a bidding war. From relaxed mortgage stress tests to flexible down payments as low as 5%, and the ability to use (and repay) RRSP funds for down payments, first-time buyers have significant advantages over other buying demographics. Howell brings this intuitive market intelligence to each bidding war negotiation for his clients.

Know the market before you’re in a bidding war

It was Benjamin Franklin who coined the phrase “By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.” And, that adage couldn’t be more applicable to knowing the local real estate market in advance of a bidding war. So, do your homework ahead of time. It will save you questioning the what ifs should you lose a bidding war.
As Howell attests, this advanced market intelligence will save you in the long run. “From comparative market analysis to complete pre-inspections and pre-emptive offers with no conditions and pre-arranged closing dates, these are the things that will set you apart and make you attractive to sellers. It’s the culmination of these small things that will make a huge impact in your favour. Any advantage is an important advantage.”

Be first in the door, but be nimble

One way to try and level the playing field in a bidding war scenario is to get ahead of the competition with a pre-emptive offer. This can be a risky strategy, but can be an effective tool when leveraged correctly. As Howell points out, “pre-emptive offers can shorten the selling window but can benefit your client as all other agents will be scrambling to complete showings and finalize their offers before the new cut-off time for offers being considered. While there are bound to be higher offers than come in during this window, you have the opportunity to amend your client’s initial offer based on the volume and interest of others.” While being first doesn’t guarantee success, your odds of winning the bidding war have greatly improved.

Trusting your experience and strong client relationships are key

RE/MAX Escarpment Realty’s guiding values are anchored in the importance of building strong relationships between its realtors, consumers and communities in which they live and work. Their mission is your experience. Critical to that experience, and building a long-term relationship is open and honest dialogue. As Howell attests, “Our mission statement is experience our experience. There’s a lot of confusion and fear around bidding wars and clients feeling that they can’t afford a place. My job, if I’ve done it right, is to educate my clients and demystify the bidding war process. After all, my experience will ensure they have a positive experience – even in a bidding war scenario.”

Meet Clinton Howell

As a leading REALTOR™ in Burlington with Re/Max Escarpment Realty Inc., Brokerage, Clinton’s sales performance is consistently winning him awards year after year. Clinton was the #1 Residential Real Estate Sales Representative in all RE/MAX Escarpment Burlington offices in 2019 (based on closed and paid transactions in 2019 by an individual. Source: RAHB.) He is highly skilled in negotiation, marketing, and he is a trusted advisor and friend to his clients. When you work Clinton to list your property, you will get the results that you need and have an enjoyable experience! His approach and attention to every detail will get you top dollar in the shortest amount of time.

Making a difference by serving others is what Clinton is all about. Clinton is a proud Rotarian and is committed to supporting causes and values within the community. He is highly involved with various initiatives which include, but not limited to: Rotary Community Events, Rotary International, Flamborough Baptist Church, Easter Seals, Burlington Performing Arts Centre, Art Gallery of Burlington, and Halton Women’s Place. He is always finding ways to get involved on a local level and he believes that by giving back to the community, he is able to further the ripple effect to touch those around him!