Question Mark over BoulderThe Boulder real estate market is currently characterized by low inventory and good buyer demand. It’s a sellers market.  Many home buyers are finding that the houses that they are interested in buying are also coveted by other buyers. This leads to a multiple offer situation. A great situation to be in – if you are a seller.  But for a buyer it’s a difficult situation.  To see some perspectives on multiple offers from both sides, read this article.

In our area, multiple offers are most often handled in this way- the listing agent receives an offer and then lets all other agents who are showing or have showed the house know that they will be presenting the offer at a certain time and day. If another offer does come in, the first offering party is advised of the second offer and is offered the opportunity to revise their offer.  For the buyer, the information available is usually only limited to the number of offers that will be looked at and when to expect an answer. This year many homes are being listed knowing that there will be much initial interest. They state clearly in the MLS listing that showings start on Saturday and all offers will be reviewed on Monday. Being the first to show the house or the first to submit an offer doesn’t seem to have any advantage.

This information gap leads to much buyer anxiety. How much should we offer?  What are the other offers? Are we crazy to offer $X? Will there be another better house coming down the line that is less hassle and not priced so high? Will it appraise if we go over full price? It goes on and on and each of these questions are rhetorical.

Since I can’t answer these questions for my clients with any clarity. I rely on experience to advise them the best I can and ultimately I leave it up to them to pick a number.  Sometimes we use an escalation clause to calm the anxiety a bit and to hedge an overpriced offer.  In the end it’s an inexact science and the results favor the bold.

So far this year (through March 16th) there have been approximately 728 sales in Boulder County. In 27% of these transactions the buyer paid more than the listing price for the property. I can only assume that most of these 198 transactions had multiple offers. So in an effort to bring some data to the unanswerable, here are the statistics from those multiple offer situations.

  • The average successful offer over all price ranges exceeded the listing price by 3.4%.
  • The highest percentage paid over the list price was 44%. It was a foreclosure that was priced “well” below the current market value.
  • The average price paid over list in transactions under $250,000 (39% of all transactions)  was 4.42%.
  • The average price paid over list in transactions between $250,000 and $500,000 (44% of all transactions) was 2.79%.
  • The average price paid over list in transactions over $500,000 (17% of all transactions) was 4%.
  • In 37 of the 198 transactions the buyer paid $2,000 or less over list price.
  • The average premium paid across all price ranges was $13,010.
  • The median premium over list price was $6,600.
  • In the City of Boulder the average premium paid for those properties that sold above list price was 4.52%.
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