Catch a Wave

by Karen Briscoe
July 14, 2016

The Beach Boys classic summer song proclaims the words of every real estate agent’s dream come true: “Catch a wave and you’re sitting on top of the world.”  This phenomenon takes place most often in extreme market conditions. A client sells in a market of rapidly rising prices and strong demand.  The buyer enters the market when there is a lot of supply with many choices and not much demand. It is the professional real estate agent that recognizes how to manage the opportunity when these markets occur and advises clients accordingly.

The seller is “sitting on top of the world” when the home price is competitive for the market and there is low supply.  As a listing agent it is evident this has happened when my phone rings off the hook.  Buying agents in these occasions open the conversation with queries such as “is the home still available” and “what terms are the seller looking for?”

In the scenario where multiple offers are likely, the strategic listing agent establishes a date/time deadline for the submission of contracts.  Additionally, it is beneficial to provide to all parties the desired terms and conditions for any offer(s) and when the decision will be made by the seller.  The challenge in these circumstances is for the seller to be happy when they catch this wave and not get too greedy.

The buyer side scenario of “sitting on top of the world”  frequently plays out much differently.  In most cases there are a lot of homes to choose from so that means the buyer agent has invested considerable time showing properties.  Homes typically are on the market much longer so the listing agent too may be weary of the length of time and energy invested in the client and property.  The seller may feel beaten down on price as the buyer strives to get the best deal possible.  Buyers often remain concerned of overpaying and so typically are only cautiously optimistic.

Either pure seller or extreme buyer market conditions rarely last forever.  It is truly like “catching a wave.”  It is in retrospect that clients recognize that they were glad they sold or bought when they did.  As an agent it is a valuable skill to understand those market conditions and be able to explain the dynamics and adapt accordingly to the benefit of the client. In the words of Professor and acclaimed scientist Jon Kabat-Zinn: “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.”

Karen Briscoe and Lizzy Conroy and their team HBC Group at Keller Williams as active and experienced Realtors® in the Northern Virginia, suburban Maryland and Washington, DC market place. We are happy to help clients “catch the wave” of the market, whether for home buying or selling.  Please contact via the means most convenient for you:, 703-734-0192,

Karen Briscoe is Principal of the Huckaby Briscoe Conroy Group (HBC) and author of "Real Estate Success in 5 Minutes a Day". She is an Associate Broker in Virginia, a Certified Luxury Home Market Specialist, and a member of the Women’s Council of Realtors. Karen began her real estate career developing residential lots with the Trammel Crow Company in Dallas, and in commercial real estate with The Staubach Company in the Washington, DC Metro area. Karen has a Masters Degree from Southern Methodist University and her BA from Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri – her hometown.
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