Okay….. many people who have been through the "home buying" process in the last 10 years, maybe 15 years, have met with their Realtor, signed the "offer to purchase" and let the Realtor go off into cyber-land with the offer….. to fax it or email it to the listing agent. What happens after it leaves the hands of the buyer's agent, nobody can REALLY know……I think that process probably could use some tweaking right about now….. that process developed itself when we were all out in the trenches, selling houses each week and doing tons of business…..I think it's safe to say, at this current moment in time, that the way we do business RIGHT NOW is much different than how we did it in the past… In the past, not too distant past for me, here's what has materialized:
Faxing the offer to the listing agent…….
(let's just say the following event is hypothetical, and leave it at that!) I meet with my buyers to write an offer on a property…. I call the listing agent and tell her that we have written an offer… she calls me back to tell me to, "just fax it over to the office"…. Why would I do that? Am I too busy, in this market, to go present the offer to the sellers and their agent myself? Do I think it's in the best interest of MY client to "just fax it over to the office" and let it lay around for anyone/everyone to see? What if there is an agent over in that office who also showed that same property…. don't you think that agent would just LOVE to see my offer, so maybe her client can offer $20 more and beat us out?? Who is going to sell the property owners on the merits of working with MY buyers? Who does everyone think the listing agent is working for, and why would I let her present my contract to her clients?? What happens when the listing agent calls me to tell me, "it's 4 o'clock on Saturday, and I have plans so I will be unavailable for the rest of the day" ? She has a property that's been on the market for over a year, and now she's "unavailable" to negotiate it??? Not with my offer in her hands!! No… that doggie doesn't hunt! I'll keep my offer in my briefcase until I get to meet with you and your client, thanks anyway! Call me when you are "available" again…. hopefully my buyers won't have moved on to plan B by then! If you cannot get in front of live people, meaning the listing agent and/or the sellers, then you darn sure better send your contract to the private email of the listing agent, thus minimizing the chances of anyone else seeing the terms on your buyer's offer!
Presenting the offer to the seller….
If I am the buyer's agent, why wouldn't I present my offer to the property owner? It's not super-dynamic out here right now… don't I probably have time to call the listing agent and ask them, "when would be a convenient time to meet you and the sellers to present this offer???" It's obviously not going to be a full price offer, in this market, so undoubtedly it would be better to get in front of the seller to present the merits of this offer directly to him. It takes the burden off of the listing agent, as they do not have to be the "bad guy" with my lowball offer, and it puts the responsibility on me to go represent my buyer and the merits of his contract, and tell this seller exactly why they should work with this offer. At this point, at least I know that the contract has been presented in the best light, and not just glossed over because it was "too low"… guess what? In the eyes of every seller we have right now, every single offer is TOO LOW… that's just the nature of the beast, for now.
Directly presenting to the seller shows them that you are a professional…. you know what you are doing, you have a LIVE BUYER in your car, and you earnestly want this transaction to come together. It also allows them the convenience of having you right there to answer any intangible questions that they might have, regarding the buyer or the contract.
Preparing your offer for the bank-owned properties……
Here's where it gets hairy… any property that is sold as part of a "distress" sale is undoubtedly going to peak the interest of quite a few people. Let's face it, many buyers in the market today are looking purely for the best deal out there. Period. They aren't looking for the warm and fuzzy listings, they want BARGAINS…. surprisingly, we have seen the "multiple offer" situations more frequently in the last few months. Now, when I refer to "multiple offers", note I do not use the words "full-price"…. when there are multiple offers right now, most often they are on foreclosures or short sales, and they are nowhere near full price! I have been cautioning my buyers, as of late, to not be hung up on "full price". If the bank has put a price tag that is too good to pass up on a particular home, don't risk losing the home by presenting a ridiculous offer. You are going to have to wait weeks, possibly a couple of months, to get an answer from the bank…. do you really want to wait that long to find out that they took another offer for more money?? It's all about the bottom line for the banks, so they don't care at all about your "merits"… they want to see the cash!!Undoubtedly there will still be room to bargain, but be prepared for the fact that there could be other offers out there that might just beat yours out if you aren't savvy enough to recognize a real bargain when you see it. It shouldn't always be about the "price"…. sometimes you can let it be about the "value" and end up even better off!
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