Skip to content

Opinion: ‘Blind bidding’ for Burnaby real estate is ruining scorching-hot market

Complaints to a real estate regulator are up 42%
for sale sign

AJ is a hard-working middle-class who just wanted to buy a place in Burnaby for him and his wife.

Instead, he got trapped in today’s scorching-hot real estate market that was pushing him to take chances that he just wasn’t comfortable with – and for good reason.

Housing sales in Burnaby and the rest of Metro Vancouver have gone crazy and the situation is leaving many regular folks behind.

“Here you are having to put your life's one big decision of buying a home in 10 minutes of viewing time,” AJ said. “Absolutely ridiculous. Why I thought I should write to you is what measures are the Real Estate Board taking to ensure that selling realtors are being audited and not taking matters into their own hands and filling their pockets?”

AJ said he was forced to compete for places against people who weren’t even looking at the homes in person.

“This blind bidding must really stop as hard-working people who pay taxes here are nowhere close to securing a property as these places are being scooped up by foreign nationals,” AJ said. “Talking to a realtor friend, I am quoting her where she said, ‘AJ, 20 to 40% above asking price is a good guide.’ Seriously?

“How can we as a buyer be sure that the seller has seen our offer and the selling realtor is not playing games” There should be some transparency in that as a buyer I know my offer was seen by seller. Subjects should be allowed, isn't an inspection fair to ask?”

The Real Estate Council of BC (RECBC) and Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate (OSRE) seem to agree because they issued a news release Monday encouraging British Columbians to be aware of the potential risks and do their research before making an offer on a home.

In the first three months of 2021, RECBC has seen an increase in inquiries and complaints. Calls to the regulator were up 42% over the previous year, while complaints were double the number received in the same period in 2020.

The RECBC offers the following tips for buyers and sellers in today’s market: Understand the risks of subject-free offers.

  • Seek professional advice before making a subject-free offer, proceeding without financing in place, or without having the home inspected. Be realistic about what you can afford.
  • Work within a sustainable budget and be aware of the extra costs not associated with the listing price, like closing or inspection costs. Ask questions to ensure you’re comfortable with the listing price and marketing strategy.  
  • Before signing a listing contract, sellers should interview several real estate agents and understand the proposed marketing strategy and market value of their property.
  • Buyers should ask their real estate agent about the market value of the property they are considering, and how market conditions are affecting pricing strategies. Be prepared in a multiple offer scenario.
  • Ask your real estate agent about what to expect in the offer process. Discuss ahead of time how you will manage a multiple offer situation.
  • Buyers can ask about the number of offers and how their offer compared to others.

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.