Nerding Out Properly: Writing a Good Offer

If you asked a nerd, ‘Would you pay more for insert nerdy new video game here if you could have it on the first possible day it was released?’ What would you expect the nerd to say?


What if you could have insert nerdy new video game here a week later at a lower price, but it might be sold out, would you take that chance?


When you really want a house, you become a nerd. But most of us are not used to thinking nerdy. Here’s what I mean:

Right now, because people still read the Calgary Sun, there’s a perception that it’s difficult to sell a house in Calgary. That’s wrong. A good house, priced at fair market value, will sell quickly at a fair price.

So let’s imagine I’ve set you up on an automatic search to give us a leg up on the competition. You get an email with the perfect house at noon. You text me. I set up a showing for 4pm because it’s so good that you skip out of work early. You love it. It’s perfect. We go to Starbucks to write an offer. I pull up all of the recently sold homes in the neighbourhood and we can see that house is priced where it should sell. We start to discuss our offer price and you say:

‘I want to offer $21,712 under the list price.’

Do you love this house?’


‘Then that’s not a good idea.’

‘Just because it’s the first day doesn’t mean I’m giving them the list price.’

‘If I’m the other agent, I’m not letting my clients accept much under the list price. The list price is what it should sell for. The other realtor has done a good job pricing this home. We might be able to get them down a few thousand dollars, get a favourable possession date, and maybe throw in the TV in the basement. In the next 48 hours, this house is going to hit There’s going to be a bigger lineup to get in the door than there is at National for a bowling lane on a Saturday night. There’s a good chance there will be multiple offers and sell for over the list price. We’re at an advantage that we’re the first offer and likely the seller is intrigued by not having to keep their house clean for showings anymore. Think like a nerd. If you want it, you’ll have to pay for it.’

Don’t get me wrong. I love to negotiate a great price. I’m an extremely competitive person. Winning makes me very happy. But my job is to advise you on how to get the house you love. Right now, at this moment in the market, if you want the house you saw on the first day, or first week, and it’s priced well, you have to give the seller a reasonable offer.

If they’re asking too much for the house, we’ll show them that. We’ll walk away for a few days if we have to. Then we can get the price down. If the home has been sitting on the market for 45 days and they haven’t dropped the price, then we have some leverage. The first day, and a beautiful house, priced well, there’s not much I can do.

Despite what some realtors advertise, I don’t have a secret voodoo formula that renders sellers powerless to my absurdly low offers. I can’t make anyone accept a low price. It’s worth asking for. But, on the first day, especially, it’s not going to happen.

I will never let you be irrationally nerdy. There’s never a time to buy an iPhone so big that it won’t fit in any of your pockets, and there’s never a time to overpay for a house. There’s a time to be cool. And a time nerd out. There’s a time to go for a killer deal, and a time to pay for what you really want.

In every situation: your real estate Jedi, I am.  

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Tim Olynik

Tim Olynik

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