Monthly Archives: September 2021

Decisions with the Golden Question By Jeff Stewart, CCIM, SRES

For the past six months or so, I have struggled with how to help prospective buyers decide what to offer.  This is new territory for me. With decades of experience as a landlord, homebuilder, developer, and real estate broker, I feel qualified to answer most any questions about a property . . . until recently. More now than probably ever before, my buyers are asking a question that I am unsure how to answer.  The question?  “How much over asking should I offer?” The problem is that I have no way of knowing what the winning bid will be when sales prices often far exceed other comparable sales.

So what is paying too much in an extremely competitive market? I am not sure, but I have heard of numerous cases of buyers’ remorse lately.  Where is that intangible line between the satisfaction of a winning bidding war and a sense that one paid too much?  It is a line that varies with each individual buyer.

In short, I have been struggling with the whole concept of representing a buyer who decides to offer $100,000 over asking.  Obviously, many other agents have no such reluctance – in fact I have dealt with several who regularly urge their clients to make such offers in order to win the sale.  Since March, I have had at least eight to ten offers on my listings that exceeded $100,000 over the asking price.

Justin Bariso has written an excellent common-sense article published by that I believe will help my buyer clients with this very real dilemma.  Justin refers to it as the “Golden Question.” He suggests that the golden question will help anyone make better decisions with fewer regrets.  It is simply one question that is really the same question in five different contexts. It is so simple and so obvious, yet it pertains to every individual making a difficult decision.

Justin offers this simple “decision tree,” if you will.  When my next client is struggling with a stressful decision, I plan to urge them to contemplate Justin’s simple questions:

How will I feel about this in:

  • a day?
  • a week?
  • a month?
  • a year?
  • five years?

So simple, but so logical . . . especially when dealing with the largest purchase most people will ever make.  If we are honest with ourselves, the answers to the questions can guide us to minimize our emotions and make better decisions with fewer regrets.

When preparing an income proforma for a commercial property, CCIMs are taught to make educated predictions about the future . . . inflation, market demand, interest rates, etc.  We do so, knowing full well that the future will certainly be a little different than we have imagined it, but acknowledging that we are making the most common-sense, long-term decision possible based the best information we have in the present.  The concept of asking the golden question is very much the same and I think it has the potential to give buyers a little more confidence in their decision-making.


Jeff Stewart, CCIM

Broker Associate / Stanberry REALTORS


PLEASE READ: Texas law requires all real estate licensees provide the Information About Brokerage Services (IABS) 

to prospective buyers, tenants, sellers and landlords. Please see the link above.

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