For years I have used Priceline for Hotels and Cars (flying is still too risky).
I knew there must be a better way. There is too much technology and crowd collaboration to be the only person that wanted a better way to bid and beat the system. Now I have found it! Here is a Video.
While I can’t reexplain everything I learned in one post, I can give you the highlights.
1) Databases of previous bids. There are sites like www.biddingtraveler.com and others that will show you what other people have bid and won. Also these sites will show you which are “secret” hotels.
2) “Re-bids” (that is the lingo) for Priceline Hotels. Normally Priceline only lets you bid once per 24 hours, unless you change something in your bid. For example changing the dates, star rating or location within the city. I finally found a trick that lets you rebid in $5-10 increments, sometimes 10-20 times. The way you do it is you pick the area you
want and the star rating. When you lose you then pick an area with no hotels with that star rating. That lets you rebid since you added a zone (with no risk of getting a place in that new zone). And rinse and repeat. And if you travel with somebody else, you can rebid several time again with their account. Read more about rebidding here. And you can get $20 added to your bid if you have an Entertainment Card.
3) Bonus: While I don’t use Priceline for flights, I wish I did. I just found out that you can rebid an unlimited amount of times (like $1 increments) by changing your search like: DCA > Houston to: Alexandria Va > Houston. Priceline will recommend DCA… yet it still counts as a new search. So you just keep changing the city name endlessly until the price hits their secret reserve. Result… MONEY in your pocket!
Is this illegal? (disclaimer, I am not a lawyer… yet) Nope. Priceline acknowledges these techniques but says that currently only a tiny fraction of their users use this. I call that a green light for people willing to make the extra effort.
So how does this relate to buying homes? The point is:
YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW.
I’m sure millions of people think they can just head over to Kayak.com or Hotels.com and get “50% off” on hotels, when in fact they are paying within $5 what other people are paying. You probably didn’t know that there was a better way on Priceline to secure a $135/night for a 5 star that retails for $500+ and is “discounted” for $330 on Hotels.com (true example of my winning bid). And sure it isn’t for everyone, but for many people it can be extremely useful.
Just like real estate. I hear people say all the time “Well I just used the agent at the open house. Heck I knew what I wanted to pay so why not just get it done.” Why not? (as I pull out my hair (see photo of me)). Not only are you either using:
1) the listing agent whose sole responsibility is to their selling client (ie a stupid move in my opinion) or
2) the listing agent’s friend or newbie agent that has nothing better to do than sit in an open house waiting for a sucker (aka you). Most open houses are done NOT for selling the house, but for finding new buyers that don’t know any better (aka, didn’t read this blog).
Why not have an agent that advocates for you? They are called “Buyer agents.” (which is technically paid for by the seller, but we won’t get into that part now). While it might sound risky to eventually signing an Exclusive Buyer Agency Agreement (#1 on google for that phrase by the way, in case you want to be impressed by SEO), it can actually HELP you get a lower net. Also working with an agent that has done several dozen deals before…. maybe just maybe they know a thing or two. It isn’t just a big Madoff Ponzi Scheme. Stuff you don’t even know to ask. Stuff that will make the transaction go more smoothly and help you get a lower net. While many of your think rebating (see blog posts on Rebates, our motto is “I used to Rebate, but then I got good) is the best way to do that, I think the super educated see beyond that.
And for those that think “Well I have done it before, I’m too smart for using a buyer’s agent”… you must think I’m an Idiot.
Why? Well many reasons, but for one, I hired a buyer agent when I bought my house on Lake Barcroft. Negotiations 101 says you shouldn’t negotiate for yourself. But that is for another blog post, so make sure to subscribe in the upper right corner of this blog.
If you learned anything here, you will learn a TON by taking some time and reading more posts on this blog. Use the right side to find the category that interests you the most. And don’t miss the older stuff too.
Never too busy for your business and referrals (proof I’m not too busy for you [Video]).
Frank LLosa J.D.