Over the years, often the hardest part of this business is dealing with the “unfairness” of the realities of the real estate transaction. Even when everything is going exactly as it should, often someone is thinking that “It Just Isn’t FAIR!”
When that someone is a newer agent, it is very difficult for me. I try to hint them into the right direction, but their lack of experience causes them to be defensive, instead of listening between the lines for what I am trying to tell them. In Multiple Offer situations, I simply cannot be more direct. That would be unfair to the other agent and their client, who “has their act together”.
Here’s a very recent example:
I receive an offer from a newer agent on one of my listings. It has major weaknesses. Price is a bit on the lowball side. “Story” makes no sense and points out weaknesses in the buyer’s stance, warns of potential buyer remorse or someone “tying up the property” until they know if they have the job offer in Seattle. Escrow time frame is longer than the norm, and the house is vacant…so short escrow should have been used. Home Inspection timeframe is at max point. Lots of loose ends.
First I try to work the agent into getting the offer in better shape, but of course the other agent wants me to do that from “my end” with a counter offer. Sure…that’s OK…but sometimes OK is not good enough for their buyer client. OK is only good enough if they are the only offer. No one has a crystal ball with regard to what is happening with other buyers in the marketplace. So depending on a counter from the seller to “fix” the offer is not a smart thing to do, and is not “good enough”.
Most of you have guessed by now what happened. Another offer comes in. A soon as I know one is coming in, I call the agent who has an offer already submitted and say, “I have received word that there will be another offer”, that’s all I can tell you. I get many calls from the first agent…but nothing in writing. Lots of verbal. Lots of inappropriate reactions like “You said the seller would counter”. NEW BALLGAME! Sorry, what I said an hour ago is no longer VALID!
No modification of first offer in writing signed by the buyer. Second offeror knows there is an offer in hand…but knows no detail of the first offer. Second offer is a slam dunk winner. First offer is still playing verbal tag and begging us to counter them and whining that three hours ago I said… Oh well! Things CHANGE! There is no methodical sequence here, even though it would make your life easier. S..t happens and you have to know how to DANCE in this business! Seriously, all agents should be required to take dancing lessons at Arthur Murray or something, before given a pen and a paper with blanks on it.
A seller is not going to counter a weak offer, once a strong offer is in hand. Why would they? Why should they?
First agent says “Well can’t the seller counter US because we were first? I put what the buyer told me to put, isn’t that what I am supposed to do?”
Depending on a counter in multiple offer is just naive. Often the “best man” just wins and sometimes the “best man” is the agent and not the buyer…and that is truly the crying shame of it. As to “putting what the buyer says to put in the blanks”…no, that is not the totallity of your job. That is the lowest common denominator position.
I write the offer as if I am buying it, using my perception of this buyer’s thoughts on the house. I factor in how much they like it and how disappointed they will be if they do not get it. That differs from buyer to buyer and from house to house. I give the offer “fully completed” to the buyer showing what they SHOULD put “in the blanks”. Then we discuss each “blank” and they can modify what I have “recommended”. I show them how to fill in the blanks in the manner that they should, in order to be successful at what they are trying to accomplish…again that differs from buyer to buyer and house to house. This way at least if they do not get the house because they change my recommendation, they learn something. Maybe they learn to trust my experience, skill and knowledge. They learn something.
Once you submit a weak offer and another offer comes in, change it, in writing, and FAST…IF you get the opportunity to do so. Many then ask: But how do I know there is REALLY another offer? Trust me. We know. We can tell. Maybe someday someone will figure out how to put one over on those of us who can tell when they are lying (which is EXTREMELY RARE), but I find that those who have the audacity to lie are also bad liars. Escalator clause helps, but not really. If you are tightening up the date, reducing the home inspection timeframe, cleaning up the offer as to terms and not price…an escalation clause won’t help you, if there are no other offers. You need to have an agent who can dance, and who can tell a con from a truth better.
Best move is to understand that an offer is a give and take. If you are trying to beat on price, then give stellar terms. If you want to stretch timeframe or be contingent, then don’t beat on price at the same time.
Those who try to make it a Win/Lose…usually end up the loser. May not be fair…but just how it is.