The new REO reality: above-asking offers

Future-Proof: Navigate Threats, Seize Opportunities at ICNY 2018 | Jan 22-26 at the Marriott Marquis, Times Square, New York

Q: I am in the market for a new home, and I am worried. My friend recently put an offer in on a house of $109,000, which was the list price. The bank came back with a counteroffer of $150,000! Is that even ethical? Can the bank really do that? Is that something I should be looking out for? A: Your question reflects the essence of why I write this column. I know that's a little heavy, but let me explain. Hindsight for hindsight's sake sounds a little too much like fodder for guilt or blame or regret for my tastes. Those are probably three of the most counterproductive of all the human emotions, and definitely cause more harm than good. But looking back at what happened in your own -- or a friend's -- past transaction to glean the lessons for how you can avoid the same mistakes, protect yourself or optimize your experience the next time around? Now that's what I'm talking about! (Translation: Learning from the past is definitely a worthwhile pursuit.) So here's the skinny on...