Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Area Appreciation Statistics

Since you asked, here are some appreciation statistics for popular Chicago neighborhoods that we specialize in:

End of first quarter stats for the sale of attached homes (townhomes and condos) in...

Lincoln Park

  • 2007 Average Sale Price: $442,683
  • 2006 Average Sale Price: $429,014
  • 2005 Average Sale Price: $379,387
  • 1 year average was UP 3%
  • 5 year average was UP 24%
  • 10 year average was UP 107%


  • 2007 Average Sale Price: $344,005
  • 2006 Average Sale Price: $344,035
  • 2005 Average Sale Price: $363,351
  • 1 year average was even.
  • 5 year average was UP 14%
  • 10 year average was UP 129%

North Center which includes Lincoln Square, St. Ben's, Roscoe Village and Ravenswood

  • 2007 Average Sale Price: $410,719
  • 2006 Average Sale Price: $372,842
  • 2005 Average Sale Price: $357,097
  • 1 year average was UP 10%
  • 5 year average was UP 27%
  • 10 year average was UP 134%

Check back regularly for stats on Single Family Homes, and perhaps more popular neighborhoods. Feel free to post a comment or send an email with any requests!

Daley Plaza: killing time during a stalled closing. No loan package...

At least in Chicago when things don't go your way, there's someplace interesting to go and cool your jets. Fortunately for me, today, the weather was gorgeous. I was a bit overdressed as I was attending multiple closings, but an hour in Daley Plaza was still a welcome respite from a closing going nowhere fast.

Friday, July 27, 2007

TECH: Website statistics reveal fascinating visitor info

Your guides were rummaging through website visitor statistics provided by our web hosting providers and sitemeter.com and discovered some amazingly detailed reports on web traffic to our websites. This isn't meant to scare the bajeezus out of you, but it does give us some great info on what people are looking for when they happen upon our various websites.

The coolest new data we discovered was the referring URL. Your browser will gladly tell a website (if asked) where they came from as they begin browsing a new site. Plus, if the previous website was a search engine, the search engine forwards along a package of info containing the search words that referred to the website.

In the last day or so, I now know that people clicked on our websites while looking for:

  • Chicago residential price appreciation, 2007, by neighborhood
  • Selzer library (a Chicago Public Library in Lincoln Square)
  • ravenswood condo appreciation
  • Scott Waguespack (my alderman in the 42nd ward)
  • Chicago lakefront cafe
  • windy city great fire pictures

This is the most amazing info! Look for us to post shortly on topics you request - without you even knowing you've requested these posts.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Home Maintenance: Clean your dryer vents

About two weeks ago we began to have trouble drying our clothes. We found we had to use two or three drying cycles to dry the clothes. We also noticed more than the usual heat and humidity in and near our laundry room and the odor of combustion products.

It turned out our dryer's vent had plugged up with five years worth of lint. I cleaned what I could from the inside, but we continued to have difficulties. Finally, I called a handyman with a long ladder and he quickly took care of the problem by removing the vent grille on the outside wall while the dryer was running on the "air only" setting. Quite a bit of lint blew out of the vent.

It's also possible to go outside and remove the exterior grill covering the vent exhaust. Stuff the hose of a canister vacuum down the dryer vent as far as you can and push and pull several times. You'll be amazed at the amount of dryer lint that is removed by this operation.

Perform this task as part of your normal SPRING routine - once per year.

If any of you notice that clothes are not drying properly or if you notice excessive heat and humidity in or near your laundry room, check your vent.

Monday, July 23, 2007

'Tis the Season: Fall Semester at DePaul starts soon

Mom and Dad stopped by one of my open houses on Sunday. I think I almost gave them a heart attack as they were out shopping for a studio or a one-bedroom condo for an incoming freshman at DePaul University this fall. The condo they stopped into was a three-bedroom, two-bath luxury condo listed for $560,000.

I quickly rattled off some statistics about recent sales, and then followed up by checking the MLS for exactly what was available within walking distance of DePaul right now.

Just to add to the challenge, DePaul happens to be located in the heart of Lincoln Park - probably the third most expensive neighborhood in Chicago. Lincoln Park has humble roots as a working class neighborhood developed mostly in the 1920's. It became popular in the 1980's and has experienced rapid price appreciation in the following decades. Modest housing has been converted into condominiums for Yuppies, and in very recent years, multiple buildings have been razed to make way for 12,000 square foot mansions on the south-east end of the neighborhood.

Options for students do exist, however. For your consideration:

625 West Wrightwood is a conversion of an apartment building into standard quality condominiums. The building features studios, one bedrooms and two beds. For a student living alone, a studio could be purchased for $151,400. Parking is available for purchase in this building - a rarity in affordable Lincoln Park condominiums. Our advice to clients is that parking frequently appreciates faster than the condominium, and for an investment, the parking is a wise purchase. But for a student, save the cash and send the kid to college without wheels. A car simply invites too many problems and the additional cost is excessive when trying to hold together a student budget.

Moving up to a full-blown one-bedroom gains you a separate bedroom, a more formal kitchen and separate living room. 2604 North Burling is a vintage building from the 1920's. Unit #3 is on the market for $219,900. My most recent clients that chose to own a condo for their DePaul daughter chose a one-bedroom condo like this one and added a roommate to share expenses. In this vintage condo, parking is not available at any price. Another strong argument to come to Chicago without a car.

The best price on a two-bedroom can be found at 2224 North Burling, #1B for $279,900. Located in a classic Chicago graystone, the spacious apartment has one bath, a separate kitchen and a huge living-dining room combo. It is a garden unit, however, but for college kids, this just means pesky sunlight won't intrude on late-sleepers and you won't be able to hear the too-loud music emanating from the underground college-lair.

Not tempted yet? How about this statistic: The ten year appreciation for condo's and townhomes in Lincoln Park was 107%! The five year appreciation was 24%. (Statistics from the Chicago Association of Realtors.) How nice might it be to buy for $151,000 and sell in 10 years for $312,570? Give a call if you'd like to explore these options further for your college attendees.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Tour: Architecture Boat Cruise on the Chicago River

Chicago is a city filled with landmarks. From the world's first skyscraper to the founding of an entire school of architecture, Chicago is home to some of the finest examples of buildings in the world.

Your guides are fortunate to have season VIP passes to Chicago Line Cruise and Chicago History Museum's Architectural Boat Cruise along the Chicago River.

Born of the Great Fire, structural steel and an indomitable spirit, skyscrapers were invented here … and we have the best way to see them. Join us for 90 minutes of genuinely tall tales and head-turning sights from the breathtaking vantage point of our cruise deck.

The tour leaves the North Pier terminal & the Ogden Slip and heads towards Navy Pier. Turning through the Basin, the tour then heads up the main branch of the River. The first important examples of Chicago Style of Architecture pass by pretty quickly. These clean lined buildings from the 1970's and the 1980's are perfect examples of what became the Chicago Style of Architecture.

Continuing westward, the scenery of Downtown Chicago passes almost too quickly for comprehension. Just sit back and enjoy the sights of Michigan Avenue, the banks of Wacker Drive and famous skyscrapers like the Trump Tower (currently under construction) and the Marina Towers.

You don't really have to pay attention until you reach Wolf Point - where the river splits into the North Branch and the South Branch. The most important lesson in the tour contrasts the styles of post-modernism with contextualism as relates to the Sun Times Building (a.k.a. The Apparel Center) and the blue-glass high rise across the river that echoes the curve of the river and the surrounding buildings.

Up the North Branch and hear about the legacy of Chicago's great mail order shops and view the enormous old warehouses of Montgomery Wards.

After turning around and motoring past new construction townhouses, luxury condos and modern high-rises, the tour heads south past Boeing, past Chicago's Lyric Opera House, the Sears Tower and the Riverside Plaza buildings by Skidmore Owings Merrill.

South of the Sears Tower, the boat turns around near the River City Condominiums, a bland yet architecturally significant building by Bertrand Goldberg. Goldberg is well known in Chicago as the architect of the Marina City Towers seen earlier in the tour near Trump Tower. More of Goldberg's designs can be found throughout Chicago's Gold Coast.

Not to brag, but the photo above is notable for what's not there yet: along the river just west of Lake Shore Drive is the site of the Santiago Calatrava designed Chicago Spire. Savills, the international property advisor leading the global sales effort for The Chicago Spire, announced in July that @properties has been awarded the contract to help manage Illinois sales of the iconic residence. The Chicago Spire received final approval from the Chicago City Council in May, and construction is currently underway. Completion of the 2,000-foot tall elegantly twisting tower is expected late 2010.

Just after passing under Lake Shore Drive again, the tour turns back to the dock at North Pier. The Architecture Boat Cruise sponsored by the Chicago History Museum is packed with more info than we covered here, and every time I take the tour, I learn something new. Give us a call if you'd like to take the tour as I hope to ride the boat several more times this season.

More Architecture Boat Cruise photos at Flickr.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Friday Night at Hamlin Park

Well, it's supposed to be a baseball diamond. Hamlin Park is filled to capacity tonight. A new feature of the blog and my cell phone is the ability to snap a camera phone shot and messenger it to blogger. What do you think of the results?

Company Get Together

We work for a great company.

On Thursday night, @properties sponsored a great event for all the agents with families. They rented out Bubbles Academy near Lincoln Park for an evening of activities, singing and dancing, arts and crafts. Without kids of my own, I absconded with my 3 year old niece - Miss Delphine - to accompany me to the event.

Your guides have worked for their fair share of real estate companies, and we must say that we've never worked for such a diverse company that reaches out to the needs of its employees and agents. @properties has rented out Wrigley Field for batting practice, sponsored floats in Chicago's Gay Pride Parade, and now has hosted a fun night of diversions for the kiddies.

Miss Delphine and I had a great time singing and dancing with all the kids. We must say that our craft-paper and glitter-glue moons were the best of the group. We limited ourselves to one cookie and cupcake in order to be able to eat dinner with Steve later. We even made a few friends we wouldn't have otherwise made in our large company.

As we were leaving Bubbles at the end of the evening, a former employer of mine drove by - completely randomly - and her jaw appeared to drop quite dramatically when she saw all of us happy agents leaving with so many kids in tow. If any of you readers are agents and are considering making a company change, we really can't rave enough about how happy we've been at our company for the past six years.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Moving Checklist: Transfering your utilities

As your moving date approaches, one of many to-do's will include calling to set up your utilities. Here is the handy contact info for Chicago utility companies. Please keep in mind that a couple of these companies are specific for Chicago consumers only.

Gas - your cooking gas and heating gas is provided by People's Gas. You can start a new account online or call 1-866-556-6001.

SELLERS: We recommend calling to transfer your utilities early, but give them a date a day or two after closing, to suspend your account. We do not want the gas turned off during the walk through as we will need to test appliances. To start the transfer of the utility accounts, you call and tell the company that you’re moving out. Then we’ll have the new buyers call and follow up to transfer the new service into their names. Your call will trigger a final meter reading.

Electric - your electricity is provided by ComEd (formerly Commonwealth Edison.) Call 1-800-EDISON-1 to start the transfer process or to start new service. Sellers of existing property should call first, then the buyers should follow up a day or two later in order to transfer service. Again, electricity should be ON through the closing in order to ensure everything is working at the time of the final walk through.

Phone - Most residential customers use AT&T (formerly Ameritech, then SBC-Ameritech) for residential telephone service. AT&T has an online ordering system, or you can call 1-800-288-2020.

Cable TV - most residential customers in Chicago are served by Comcast Cable. You can start the process online or call 1-800-COMCAST (1-800-266-2278).

In order to be thorough: If you're a DirecTV subscriber, their number is 1-800-DIRECTV or online at www.directv.com.

Monday, July 16, 2007

TOUR: Chicago's Lakefront Path and Parks

It was one of Chicago's founders, Daniel Burnham's idea that Chicago's Lakefront should be free and clear for the enjoyment of its residents. Burnham's plan dates back to 1909 after the Great Chicago Fire and allowed Chicago to be re-built in an orderly and thoughtful fashion. One of the hallmarks of the new Plan for Chicago was the creation of the Parks and Lakefront Boulevard to act as Chicago's front yard for everyone to enjoy.

Today, the lakefront path stretches from the South Shore through Downtown and up through Edgewater. This tour highlights the lakefront from Downtown in Grant Park, northward for eight miles, through seven eclectic Chicago neighborhoods, until it ends near Chicago's border with its closest suburb - Evanston.

In the heart of Downtown along the lakefront is Grant Park. In the early 1900's, captains of industry such as Marshall Field and Montgomery Ward built skyscrapers over Michigan Avenue looking towards the lake. In the center of Grant Park is one of Chicago's most recognized landmarks - Buckingham Fountain. A gift from Kate Buckingham in memory of her brother, Clarence Buckingham, and modeled after Latona Fountain at Versailles.

To the north, and seamlessly across the street is the newly finished Millennium Park. Less formal and more interactive, Millennium Park contains sculpture, water fountains and gardens where you're invited to touch and interact with your surroundings. The centerpiece is closest to Michigan Avenue - the sculpture called "Cloud Gate" and affectionately referred to by Chicagoans as "The Bean." As you touch the sensuously polished stainless steel facade, ask yourself if you think it's worth the $25-million paid for it.

Leaving Millennium Park the path turns east to give room for the "New East Side" and its glimmering new high-rises.

Next, you'll join automobiles and pedestrians in a congested stretch to cross the Chicago River on a double-decker draw-bridge. Immediately after the bridge is Navy Pier. Chicago's most popular tourist attraction with over 6-million visitors each year, the pier serves up food-on-a-stick, offers carousel and ferris wheel rides as well as hosting glitzy galas in its renowned ballroom and on the many cruise ships docked alongside.

A little known insider's spot can be found just north of Navy Pier. Rather than following the path directly alongside Lake Shore Drive, follow the sidewalk out towards the lake past the Water Treatment Plant. The small "Olive Park" features vistas from a few hundred feet out into the lake looking back at Chicago's Gold Coast and Streeterville neighborhoods. Usually only boaters have such a magnificent view of the skyline, and photos of the city from here will be the envy of all who see them.

The landscape is minimal as you continue as the path is only a few yards wide wedged in between the water and the roadway. Notable architecture abounds, however. Keep your eye out for the soon-to-be demolished Lakeshore Athletic Club at Chicago and Lake Shore - the perfect Beaux-Arts foil for Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's exquisitely skeletal 860-880 Lake Shore Drive next door.

As you round the corner that takes you a little west, note that this stretch of East Lake Shore Drive is the toniest address in Chicago with 3,000 square foot apartments selling for multi-millions. Oak Street Beach is literally an oasis where you can relax on the sand and find food and water at the lakefront cafe.

In the next stretch of lakefront path, the most notable lakefront architecture is the absence of Potter Palmer's mansion on the site of the hideously ugly (but perfectly landscaped) twin orange apartment towers at 1350 and 1360 North Lake Shore Drive. Potter Palmer was Chicago's most famous Hotel Baron and the builder of the Palmer House Hilton on Wabash.

As you travel through a small grove of trees and past a pavillion where men and boys play chess, you stumble upon North Avenue Beach and the beginning of Lincoln Park. Anchoring North Avenue Beach is the boat house. Modeled after a ship, the building contains lockers, showers, a restaurant and cafe's. Stretching northward is a mile of sandy beach filled with volleyball courts and sun-bathers.

Keep your eye out for a bridge over Lake Shore Drive if you wish to take a diversion into the park. Meandering through the park rather than along the lakefront offers less eye-candy, but more activities. First you'll come across the Lincoln Park Zoo. One of the nation's oldest zoos housing 1200 animals representing 230 species. Even better - admission is free! Next door to the zoo is the Lincoln Park Conservatory. Lincoln Park Conservatory was designed by a well known architect of the Victorian era, Joespeh L. Silsbee. With its four display houses: the Palm House, Fern Room, Orchid House and Show House - home to the annual flower shows - the Conservatory continues to provide a haven in the city. Around the corner from the Conservatory is the Notebaert Nature Museum - a natural oasis right inside the city. One highlight is a greenhouse filled with butterflies, including many not found in our region.

Travelling north from Fullerton Avenue, the path takes you past tennis courts, atletic courses and a variety of other paths leading to various corners of the park. Stay on the path for a fast ride to Belmont, or turn off at Diversey Harbor for a ride past the boats and a golf practice range. Stay in the park and you'll come across kids play areas and some wide open fields where weekend touch-football is popular. Both paths converge near Belmont Harbor where a small beach is crammed in alongside all the boats.

Near Addison is a popular meeting spot for running and biking clubs - the Totem Pole. Amenities abound as you pass north from the Totem Pole. Ten tennis courts, a large parking lot and two baseball diamonds draw nearby residents to the park in droves. A nine-hole golf course is laid out towards Montrose and paths diverge - one along the water and another along Lake Shore Drive. Both lead to Montrose Harbor.

From Montrose to Foster, the park widens to accommodate many recreational amenities. This one-mile stretch contains baseball fields, basketball courts, a dog beach, the boat harbor, a nature preserve, kid playgrounds, a skateboard park, soccer fields, tennis courts and volleyball courts. An access road meanders between Montrose, Wilson and Foster with plenty of parking. The lakefront path branches off to take you to all the different corners of the park, but eventually all meet up on the north end funnelling you towards Hollywood Beach - the last bit of public lakefront in Chicago.

View all the photos from our Lakefront Tour.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

SERIES: Types of buyers and why FSBO's can't get them

Corporate Relocation clients or Transferees. The creme-de-la-creme of buyers! A buyer is relocating to a new city - yours - and has a limited amount of time to spend searching for a new home for his or her family. Most of these buyers are assigned a corporate relocation specialist inside a relocation company to take care of as many details as possible for the busy executive so he or she doesn't have to worry about the move. This busy executive needs to hit the ground running, identify property in a minimum number of visits and then select one so he or she can get to work.

Corporate relocations are handled mainly by two large nationwide companies in the US, and when they receive a new executive, the begin working on handling all the details of the transfer. One of their main tasks is to assign the exec a professional agent in their new home city. Typically, the exec has two days to locate a home, and the Realtor assigned the task of helping the exec books approximately 10 showings a day for each of two days. Half the time, the exec chooses one of the homes without input from the rest of the family. The other half, the spouse flies in and views the top few homes and a selection is made together.

This buyer is the most high-quality buyer in the marketplace. He or she is extremely qualified - these kinds of relocations are expended mostly on top-tier executives with commensurate salaries. The executive is motivated - he or she needs to locate a home as quickly as possible in order to settle the family comfortably into their new surroundings. And the situation for the exec us usually urgent. There is a limited amount of time for home viewing as the start date in the new city is already set.

For Sale By Owner homes miss out on these ideal buyers by not having their homes listed with a Brokerage Company and having their home listed in the MLS. Even those FSBO's that do have their homes in the MLS frequently miss out on these buyers when they cannot accommodate showings on the agent's schedule. Of course it makes sense to a FSBO seller that if someone is truly motivated to see their home, they would be willing to come back a day later after work, or perhaps to a Sunday open house. But these sellers fail to realize that the agent leading the tour will simply select a different house that meets the criteria for the exec AND fits into their busy showing schedule.

Friday, July 13, 2007

If anyone reads this - Please, STOP using OBEO for Virtual Tours

Readers - please check out the Virtual Tours hosted by OBEO. For me and Steve, it seems that more than half the time, when we view a Virtual Tour that's hosted by OBEO, the viewer crashes and causes all Internet Explorer windows to close unexpectedly. Here are a few links to OBEO Tours:

7120 N. Sheridan Rd.
4553 N. Magnolia Ave.
560 W. Roscoe
5728 N. Kenmore

Post your comments letting me know if you have success viewing this OBEO tour, and any others you may come across. Thank you!


Update on October 25, 2007: Steven from OBEO's parent company posted in the comments a few months back, and I tried the above tour links again. Still crash my system. Someone from OBEO was on this page again yesterday, which prompted me to re-try the tours. The photos and the slide show worked, but clicking on the panorama tab still ground my browser to a halt, rendering it un-usable and necessitating a ctrl-alt-delete to close the window. Still no good.

Web traffic confirms seat of the pants feeling - more people looking at real estate

Web traffic analysis confirms what we've felt since Monday, July 9. On Monday, we received 8 request for showings on our listings, and we're over a dozen for the week now that it's Friday. People obviously started looking at real estate online and in person starting right after the 4th of July holiday.

The week ending July 15 is a partial week, and discounting that part of the graph, we're relieved to see online web traffic and in-person showings trending upwards.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Costa Rica Real Estate Deals of 2007

In case any readers noticed the absence of posts during the Holiday Week around July 4th, your guides took off to explore the central valley of Costa Rica. We drove from San Jose to Lake Arenal, staying near Nuevo Arenal, then to a mountain resort near Fortuna, and then back to San Jose.

Along the way, we viewed a subdivision of new lots with new construction homes, some acreage sites, some lots not connected to subdivisions, a bed & breakfast, a 15 room lodge and a commercial in-town building with several businesses.

For your viewing pleasure...

This property is located near Lake Arenal near Nuevo Arenal in the central valley of Costa Rica. The bed and breakfast features an owner's apartment, a one-bedroom apartment, a common living room, a kitchen and an outdoor pool. Three additional small rooms each have private baths. This was on the market for $350,000 with Costa Rican agents or $295,000 as a FSBO. When we arrived, we learned someone beat us to the punch with a contract on the property for $250,000. On the plus side, we learned that we didn't enjoy the central valley as much as we thought we would.

At Rancho Lobo you'll find a collection Costa Ricans, North Americans and Europeans nestled in the hills four kilometers north of San Ramon (Central Valley) in the village of Los Angeles Sur. Los Angeles Sur is a bump on the main road (500 meters from Rancho Lobo) complete with church, school, soccer field, small convenience store, and a great bar/restaurant with fabulous bocas. Homes can be built to your specifications at the cost per square foot of $40.-$45. This price includes approved design, permits, labor and materials.

This building reminds me of Hamburger Mary's in Andersonville. You've got Mary's bar and grill, a travel agency, (a total of 6 commercial spaces) and 20 rooms for rent upstairs. The location is in Tilaran which is along the shores of Lake Arenal. You get the whole building and a couple of the businesses for $645,000 (asking.)

The current owners of the Rock River Lodge have actually closed the resort while shopping for new owners. We don't know the exact price, but hear it's in the $750,000 range, but might be had for $500,000. This lodge style resort is beautiful, features magnificent views of Lake Arenal and has 6 attached rooms plus 8 more cabins. This place is really quite beaufiful! The rooms look nice, the lodge atmosphere is warm and inviting and the blending between the outdoors and the indoor areas really makes you feel like you're part of the surrounding natural beauty.

No need to worry about the immenent departure of your trusty Real Estate Experts in Chicago, however. We learned that we probably would not enjoy living full time in the area. It's pretty remote, and though the temperatures are moderate in the lower mountains, the rainy season is quite spectacularly rainy. While there, it rained for two-and-a-half days straight. Locals tell us that it can rain hard for 30 days non-stop later in the rainy season.

Million Dollar Play Lots in West Lakeview / Hamlin Park

Two buildings in Hamlin Park have been recently demolished to make way for private play-lots alongside two houses on West Wellington. Normally, we're used to seeing demolition followed by new construction, but these private side-yards are an interesting twist on the growing affluence of the neighborhood.

Here are the before and after photos of our first example. It looks like these owners planned ahead and aquired the adjoining property back in 1997 and held on to it until 2007. Back in 1997, the sale price was $350,000 - according to records in the Cook County Tax database.

In our second example, tax records don't show the recent sales prices, but recent mortgages are in excess of $1-million. It's hard to tell if the amount may have been used to aquire both properties that make up the current family compound, or if the owners simply did a cash-out re-fi.

In any case, today's market value for a typical single-family lot in West Lakeview and Hamlin Park is a solid $550,000. You really gotta love your kids to spend that kind of money...

Down 'n' dirty negotiating might not get you any further

We received an offer on one of our listings on Sunday. The condominium was listed for $400,000 plus $35,000 for each of two parking places - a total of $470,000.

The offer came in from a couple that had not seen the unit for themselves, but their agent had pre-viewed for them a week earlier. The offer came in at $100,000 under list price. Mind you, we had just reduced the price aggressively and were right in line with other comparable unit prices in the building.

During negotiations, we did learn that the buyer was only interested in one of the parking spots, but this still left the offer some $65,000 off the asking price. We do have the ability to sell the leftover parking space to someone else in the building later.

After delivering counteroffers back and forth once, the buyer's agent slipped and said "Which unit is this for?" WHOA?

We immediately ask: "Are you bidding on multiple units at the same time?" and the answer from the broker was "Yes."

This extremely aggressive form of negotiating is not considered illegal here in Chicago; there is not much of a danger that a buyer will wind up owning two or more pieces of property. We usually write our first offer and deliver it, but negotiate verbally. Therefore it's possible that you could agree to price and terms on a property, but not follow up with a written version. We also have very generous attorney review clauses in our contracts, so a buyer's attorney could cancel a contract during the first few days of attorney review.

Though both of these tactics are completely legal, they will not garner any favor with a seller's agent that discovers that these underhanded tricks are being used on him. We now know that these buyers are pitting us against several other sellers in the same building, and hammering us against each other to beat out the lowest possible price. Then, after the bottom line is discovered for each, signing the contract with the most desired terms leaving everyone else holding nothing in return.

Our advice to our clients is to negotiate in earnest with someone negotiating in good faith with us, but in this case, since every negotiation we make will be used against us, our best defense against this strategy is not to reveal our lowest price.

Normally, it's considered to be acting in bad faith to be negotiating multiple offers at the same time without all parties in the negitiations being aware of the tactic. Buyers should beware that extreme negotiating tactics can backfire if the other party learns that they're being played against other competitors. In our case, since we know that our bargaining position will be used against us, we won't reveal anything close to our true lowest price.