Overbid with just one offerTypically when houses or condos sell for more than the list price in Silicon Valley, it’s an indicator that there were multiple offers.

But not always.

Once in awhile, a property has been priced a little on the low side, specifically because the sellers and their agent wanted more than one bid.  If only one offer is presented, it could come in higher than the list price because more competition was expected.  Or if it were full price or under, the sellers could still counter offer it to where they are willing to sell it.

You may be thinking, perhaps indignantly, “Don’t they have to sell their property for the list price?  That’s the advertised price!”  The short answer is no, they don’t have to sell it for any price at all.

Of course, putting your property on the market with a deceptively low price – meaning one you don’t intend to take – is a strategy that can backfire and create ill-will.  It’s a risk, and not one I’d recommend.

Our MLS does not track how many contracts a house, condo or townhouse gets.  Sometimes the listing agents kindly put comments in the private agent remarks to give that info,and perhaps appreciation for everyone who tried, such as “20 offers received, thanks to all for your hard work!”  The usual way to find this information out is to call, text or email the listing agent.  Understandably, if they got dozens of bids, you’re unlikely to hear back unless yours was one of them.

So once again, there aren’t any “easy answers” here.  Most of the time, a higher sales price to list price ratio means multiple offers.  But it is possible that it was a sale that happened with just one very driven buyer.  Just this last week, one San Jose home sold 4% over list with merely one offer.   Home buyers in Santa Clara County often expect to pay more than list price when it’s multiples, but not so much if you’re the only bidder.  Time to adjust – you may be paying more than list price even if you’re the only one with a purchase agreement in hand.

Related reading on Silicon Valley real estate sales prices & multiple offers:

Sometimes the List Price Isn’t the Expected Sales Price, So Run Comps!

A summary of tips for multiple-offer situations in Silicon Valley real estate contracts