Real Estate Tactics You Don’t Learn Until You’re In an Insane Seller’s Market

Jim Dee
Jim Dee
May 15, 2018 · 3 min read

I’ve only ever bought two homes in my life. One was in Pittsburgh, which was (and probably still is) a buyer’s market. When I left Pittsburgh, it took us two agonizing years on the market to sell our home. (And it was a pretty awesome, huge, brick home, too — four beautifully finished levels, 4+ bedrooms, detached garage, terra cotta tile roof, great location, stained glass windows … even a damned full-sized sauna! Sold it for $155k, which wouldn’t buy a fixer upper in many other markets.)

We then bought a home in Portland, Oregon at the time. It was a different market back then (2010) from Pittsburgh, of course. But, as I recall back then, if a home went up for $200k, you could actually buy it for $200k.

That was something I always believed about the housing market because I’d never experienced a seller’s market — namely, that, if you put something on the market for a price (say $350k), someone could actually come to you with that $350k and buy the home.

Nope… that’s not how things work here in Portland, or I suspect any other huge, crazy market. What they do now is this: Let’s say they want $375,000 for a home, and that’s their bottom line. What they do is put it on the market for maybe $335,000.

In a seller’s market, the market is saturated with cash-happy investors who know the current and future value of every property available. And the sellers know that the buyers know the value. So, they offer it up undervalued, and let the market fight it out.

What it means for the buyer, though, is that if you see a good deal out there, you can’t simply put in an offer at or below the list price. I’ve learned this now twice! Both times, we actually offered above the list price — one house we offered $331k on a $325k listing, kind of as a show of faith. It’s like saying, “Hey, I like your house that you have listed for $325k so much, I’m giving you a $6k bump, just to kind of show my enthusiasm.”

Nope… lost that deal. They had it on the market one day, and got 9 offers.

Next deal… a little 3BR bungalow-ranch deal at $355k. We offered $366k. So, same deal, with an $11k bump this time! Nope… they didn’t accept, apparently because they figured a better offer would be coming in.

I’m still trying to wrap my head around this. Someone says “I’m putting my home out there for $355k.” We respond with “Awesome, here’s $11,000 free dollars.” And then they say “Nah, someone will give us more.”

I know it’s all a game, but it’s a strange game.

✍🏻 Jim Dee maintains his personal blog, “Hawthorne Crow,” and a web design blog, “Web Designer | Web Developer Magazine.” He also contributes to various publications. Find him at, his Amazon Author page, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Medium, or via email at Jim [at] His latest novel, CHROO, is available on If you enjoy humorous literary tales, please grab a copy!

Tales, rants, observations — blog of Jim Dee, long-haired…

Jim Dee

Written by

Jim Dee

Hawthorne Crow
Jim Dee

Written by

Web guy at; author of books & blogs. See:

Hawthorne Crow

Tales, rants, observations — blog of Jim Dee, long-haired smart ass, self-employed web developer, hyper-creative writer, musician, renaissance man, defiant, prone to philosophization, as-always a pyro, ever-frustrated cat owner, free agent, bandanna wearer.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store