As Good As It Gets

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DRAGNET STYLE

Just the FACTS, M’am

Monday 10:05 P.M. – email – Hi Ardell, my name is “Jack”. I just moved here from X and am on a mission to find a house before June when my wife and children join me. I thought I could do this using the internet but I’m finding this more and more difficult as houses I like seem to disappear almost as soon as they hit the market. I just read some of your articles including the one titled Using the internet to buy your new home and you made me realize that I need help. I’m pretty sure I know what I’m looking for and where I want to live. Here goes: Quiet and clean residential neighborhood, good elementary school. Single family house with 3 bedrooms with an additional room for an office. Two car garage. Ramblers are not my first choice. My budget is _ and am pre-qualified with my bank. MLS# 26xx is a good example of a house I like that is currently STI. Is there hope? Can you help me?

Monday 11:15 P.M. – email – Yes “Jack”, I can help you. But right now I am going to sleep. Will set up a strategy for you to be in a home that you like, before your wife and children arrive, in the morning. Best regards, ARDELL DellaLoggia

Tuesday 8:16 A.M. – email – “Jack”, What I would like to do, rather than speaking with you on the phone, is meet you at the STI house you sent me. If they are having any problems with the current buyer, we might be able to do a backup offer. I would also like to see if you really DO like it, by seeing it together. I’m assuming you have never been inside of it. ARDELL

Tuesday 8:32 A.M. – email – I work at _ and usually finish at 5:00. I could meet you at the house around 5:45.

Tuesday 9:09 A.M. – email – Let’s meet tonight at 6 p.m. at xxx Ave. I would like to see this house, and the STI house in the same neighborhood, together this evening…ARDELL

Tuesday 9:28 A.M. – email – OK. See you at 6.

Tuesday 10:15 A.M. – called listing agent of STI house. Buyer and Seller in heated negotiations over inspection issues. Will likely resolve them but seller starting to hate buyer, and so might be amenable to a buyer swiitch out. Long shot but doable. Then called listing agent of the other house I was showing, twice, determined it might sell at the same price as the STI house even though it was priced $25,000 higher. Already had an offer that didn’t end successfully.

Tuesday 6:00 P.M. – Met “Jack” at 6 as planned. Saw both houses. We both hated the STI house that looked great in the internet pictures…BUT was terrible! We both loved the other house. Asked why he hadn’t seen it on the internet. Said price was $25,000 over his max. We all drove back to my house so I could look over the comps while my partner fixed “Jack” some dinner. Told him I couldn’t promise, but I thought it would sell at the same price as the STI house if we could tie it up before the weekend. Talked till after 10:00 P.M. Wrapped it up for the evening at 10:15 P.M. so I could get something to eat besides the cookies I had at the Home Inspection. Always hire a home inspector whose wife bakes cookies.

Wednesday 8:18 A.M. – email – “Jack”, I would like your thoughts in the morning light. Before I talk with the listing agent this morning, your thoughts would be appreciated. ARDELL

Wednesday 8:32 A.M. – Jack called and said he and his wife decided to make an offer..

Wednesday 10:00 A.M. – Found new listing on the same street that came on while we were talking the night before at 8:28 P.M. emailed new listing to Jack.

Wednesday 10:43 A.M. – email – had an excellent conversation with the listing agent and started “pre-negotiating the offer” She is running over to see the new listing too. The new listing has a smaller square footage of just over x squre feet on both the first and second floors, so I don’t think it is a better house for you than the one we we saw last night. Now that I see how much smaller the new listing is, you may not need to see it, but I will see it either before or after my inspection appt. today. I did get a lot of details regarding the offer he did receive and where it soured and ended and what happened. Call you later.

Wednesday 11:41 A.M. – email – It would appear that an earlier closing date, rather than later, would be a plus to keep the price no higher than target price.99% sure we can keep it down to $10,000 over, or even $5,000 over, but smack on target price will be tough, but I think doable.Going in at anything less than target price would result in a higher counter than going in dead on target price. Leave no room for a counter. I will pre-negotiate that we are coming in with “final and best”, but leave $5,000 to $10,000 room, just in case. Offer needs to be written and submitted by 7-8 tonight, response time for seller tomorrow night or Friday night (before the weekend) and a close date of X. Just a few things for you to think about before I call later.

Wednesday 12:14 P.M. –Ran through new listing on the way to my home inspection appointment. No good. First house much better. First house $30,000 more than this one, But I think we can get it for $25,000 less. Called Jack. We agreed to meet to write offer after he got out of work and I finished my home inspection appointment.

Wednesday 4:56 P.M. – email – Just got back from the home inspection and am working on your offer. ARDELL

Wednesday 6:00 P.M.- My partner, Kim Harris, met Jack at new listing just to be sure he hated it as much as I did and also went back to “the” house, while I was putting the finishing touches on the offer, including calling the seller’s agent for a third time in one day to let her know I was faxing the offer by 7:30.

Wednesday 7:00 P.M. – Jack and my partner returned. Jack signed the offer and left so I could prepare the cover note to the contract and fax it. I need to be alone when I write the cover note and call the listing agent.

Wednesday 8:34 P.M. – email – Seller’s agent was very impressed with the simplicity of the offer and the fact that we included the initialed legal description and the signed page 5 of the Form 17 up front. She assured me that there are NO other offers at this time. We should hear something tomorrow, and I will of course call you as soon as I hear something.

Thursday 10:05 A.M. – email – CONGRATULATIONS! RIGHT ON TARGET PRICE! NO COUNTER!!


I sit back with my smoke and wonder if it is pure coincidence that the first email came in Monday at
10:05 P.M. and the final on Thursday at 10:05 A.M. If I were a gambling girl, I might play that 10-05…but I ain’t.

(music)

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About ARDELL

ARDELL is the Managing Broker of Sound Realty in Seattle/Kirkland. ARDELL was named one of the Most Influential Real Estate Bloggers in the U.S. by Inman News and 25 years experience in Real Estate up and down both Coasts, representing both buyers and sellers of homes in Seattle and on The Eastside. Follow Ardell on Google+

12 thoughts on “As Good As It Gets

  1. Eric, Yes it is real. I even cut the verbiage directly from the emails, though I trimmed them down a bit. I thought the initial email to me was so fabulous that I left most of that intact, while managing to preserve the confidentiality issues. Of course “Jack” is not the real name.

    I haven’t “shown” homes in the traditional sense for many, many years. I think I’ll write a post on that some day.

  2. Is it real you ask? I keep pinching my arm just to verify and although I’m still not fully convinced, I’m pretty sure it’s real… I went from discouraged internet home seeker to proud home owner in 2 and a half days. Couldn’t have done it without you Ardell. Thank you so much.

  3. It’s “JACK!” LOL Cute of you to comment with your “stage” name 🙂

    I have to say, as I have told Jack at least twice, that both he and the other agent share the credit. Jack did not fight me. He literally put his fate in my hands and collaborated with me on the points where we needed “two heads” to decide. He did an EXCELLENT job of being a buyer and I did an excellent job of being an agent and the listing agent also “pulled her weight”. I’d give her credit by name, but that would give away “Jack’s” identity. I had the poor lady on the phone for hours before writing the offer gleaning bits of info to position everything in the offer exactly so. Plus “Jack” and I studied the “personality” of the seller, through his house and meager present belongings, to know exactly how to write the offer.

    I hate to pick on Redfin again, but how can someone write an offer without seeing a house? I can pretty much tell where a seller’s priorities lie, by studying the house, and frame the offer accordingly. If I’m lucky (though I wasn’t in this case) I even get to meet the seller before writing the offer, so I can create that win-win offer that slides through like butter.

    Clearly, getting a great house at $25,000 less than the asking price, in a preferred neighborhood, with an excellent school, within range of Microsoft, is not something we see every day. We definitely have to have a champagne toast at the end of this one.

  4. It’s “JACK!” LOL Cute of you to comment with your “stage” name 🙂

    I have to say, as I have told Jack at least twice, that both he and the other agent share the credit. Jack did not fight me. He literally put his fate in my hands and collaborated with me on the points where we needed “two heads” to decide. He did an EXCELLENT job of being a buyer and I did an excellent job of being an agent and the listing agent also “pulled her weight”. I’d give her credit by name, but that would give away “Jack’s” identity. I had the poor lady on the phone for hours before writing the offer gleaning bits of info to position everything in the offer exactly so. Plus “Jack” and I studied the “personality” of the seller, through his house and meager present belongings, to know exactly how to write the offer.

    I hate to pick on Redfin again, but how can someone write an offer without seeing a house? I can pretty much tell where a seller’s priorities lie, by studying the house, and frame the offer accordingly. If I’m lucky (though I wasn’t in this case) I even get to meet the seller before writing the offer, so I can create that win-win offer that slides through like butter.

    Clearly, getting a great house at $25,000 less than the asking price, in a preferred neighborhood, with an excellent school, within range of Microsoft, is not something we see every day. We definitely have to have a champagne toast at the end of this one.

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