Buyers anger at offer date trend

It is a tactic that is favouring opportunistic sellers in tight markets. But offer dates are proving a real headache for investors.

Of the last several properties you’ve bid on, how many had a date set for offers? Probably most of them, as setting an offer date is becoming as common as hosting an open house.

Realtor Shawn Fiedler says offer dates have become an issue, especially for in-demand areas of property-strapped cities like Toronto.

“Leslieville, Cabbagetown; in those high-demand areas, everyone is putting their properties below market value and are setting a date for offers,” he tells CREW, with single-family homes naturally to the forefront of this crisis.

Fiedler’s sentiments are echoed by many in the real estate community. That class thinks offer dates are a weasely way to spur a bidding war – regardless of whether or not the property is wonderful enough to deserve one. Either way, multiple offers often draw a higher selling price for a property, which some agents say falsely inflates market value.

But, opposing agents say the move to set an offer date is in the best interest of the selling client, since it tends to put more pressure on frenzied buyers, pulling a higher price for the selling client.

“High demand neighbourhoods only have so many properties available,” Fiedler says, adding that he’s had clients walk away from properties that have a set offer date. “I feel [setting an offer date] is not the greatest practice in terms of getting way more than the property is maybe worth.”

Despite the practice frustrating agents across the country, Fiedler says there’s no way to regulate the setting of offer dates, since clients are free to list their homes whenever they like and for whatever they deem the value to be. Realtors are left hoping the fall selling season will bring out enough buyers that bidding wars happen naturally, without the aid of an offer date.

“[The setting of offer dates] happened more this summer,” he says. “But there are so many variables, so that might not be the case across the board. But it was a crazy summer.”

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