Recently I was involved in buying an apartment to my son. You know, being 23 it was time, thought his father, his son would have his own place at last. It’s not that easy to live at the same place, same house, with grown up kids.
However, my buying journey was not that easy. Maybe it tells something about living as a buyer, who knows? Let me tell my buying story.
Buying an apartment in Sweden is mostly done by an open bidding process. Estate agents set a sort of “group text platform” where buyers text their bid and thus receive text messages from other bidders. Buying this particular apartment was no exception.
At least from the beginning, in the end it turn out to be – well memorable – if not saying frustrating.
I and my wife were taking our son with us to the apartment display. It was colored in light nuances, the kitchen was small, but nice and modern. It seemed that the apartment had undergone some careful renovation.
So yes, we were interested. Really interested.
Let me tell you a little about us, as buyers. I can say we are experienced buyers. We’ve been through some bidding processes before and felt the pressured, nerve-thrilling process to end up with a victory or a loss. In all cases it had been an honest fight with other bidders, probable with the same feelings about the process.
During theses processes, we’ve found a great way to win such. You start by making it clear to the estate agent rep that you’re interested, but you never start the process yourself. You wait, wait and wait. Remember, you’re getting all those text messages so you are able to follow the bidding process really close. You’re not a hurry. Not at all.
So if you wait until you feel the frequency of the other bidders’ bids slow down to a pace when you can feel they’re thinking to stop – “this is my last bid, no more”, then it’s time for you to Enter The Arena.
But you shouldn’t put a bid just a little above the last bid. It has to be – if you are ok with the level – a massive bid. That will definitely shock the others and – in most cases – finish the bidding process to your advantage.
Back to the actual buying of an apartment to our son, the other bidders had making their bids and the process was slowing down. It was not really time to go into the process, but soon, very soon we felt.
Then came the crucial mistake from the estate agency. He texted as follows:
“We intend to close the bidding process tomorrow at noon. Please give me you last bid”.
Now. Hold on for a sec. What are the agency rep trying to accomplish? And why? But what impact does he on the buying process?
For sure, he’s trying to close the deal soon and by that force buyers to make up their minds quickly and put their last bid. He’s certainly also trying to make those bids to be higher, since “you’ve got only one more chance”.
And why? Of course to cash in his commission a soon as possible.
But what impact does he? Let’s sort it out.
- He stresses buyers to opt-out from the bidding process
- He blocks the buyers’ need to evaluate the others’ new bids, and possible put a new and even higher bid, refusing highest possible money to the seller
- He infuses irritation by introducing a “last minute process”, that no one more than he earns at
The agency rep became aware of, at least, our irritation when he called me just a few hours before his intended bidding process closure. I said I was just discussing with my family to put a huge bid tomorrow morning, I’d just wanted to evaluate some other apartment offerings, and naturally it’s a big decision and a lot money involved. We always, I said, consider very carefully our actions, but when we decide upon things, we’re honest about our intentions and just go for it, making it a success.
But he persisted, the bidding process would be closed at noon.
I was totally pissed off (excuses for my bad language) and opted-out instantly. The seller of the apartment missed out on a lot more money and my son a nice apartment. To whose gain?
Everyone talks about “customer is king” and “you’d better consider their buying process instead of your own sales process”. So what may we learn from my story? Are we still thinking demand is greater than assets and by that it’s the sellers’ market? Is the customer really in focus for you? Do you really understand the behavior and needs of your customer? Have you created your “buyer persona” by really step into his shoes?
I doubt. Especially when buying apartments.