“Left at the Altar”

It’s every Seller’s worst nightmare: you’re hours away from getting the last set of signatures that will make it a “done deal,” when the Buyer informs you that they’re backing out.

Why? Because they found something that they like better.

Does it happen?

Sure, but much less often than you’d expect, for three reasons:

One. By the time Buyers have gotten deep into negotiation on a Purchase Agreement, it’s likely that they’re already emotionally “invested” in your home.

In fact, it’s a pretty safe bet that they’ll have already seen your home several times, memorized the listing information, and carefully researched the neighborhood, local schools, etc.

In the course of doing all those things, the prospective Buyer’s attachment to the home usually intensifies. Just as it can be said that you “bid on something you want,” it’s also true that you “want what you bid on.”

In fact, many times I have to caution Buyers I work with not to start “mentally redecorating” or otherwise psychologically move into a home that’s for sale until they actually have a signed Purchase Agreement.

Second. Buyers today have already done their homework.

With the exception of foreclosure sales, it seems that the average Buyer today spends more time studying the market, learning prices, and touring homes than a few years ago.

If you know what’s out there, and are clear about what you’re looking for . . . you’re more likely to make a deliberate (vs. impetuous) purchase decision — and less likely to have second thoughts later.

Will more homes continue to come on the market? Of course.

However, if you’ve really done your homework, the odds of a new listing offering more house, for less money, are quite low. In the rare event that that happens, multiple offers invariably eliminate any discount.

Three. Once “seasoned” Buyers find something they like and commit to it . . it’s natural to stop looking.

In that way, homes are a lot like relationships.

Once you find the home you really love . . . all the rest seem to fade into the woodwork.

Even if the relevant emotion is only “strong like” (vs. love), prospective Buyers will mentally begin the process of customizing and updating their prospective new home to their taste, solidifying their attachment. (see, Reason #1).

As I like to tell prospective Buyers, if you’ll only settle for a home that’s a “10,” the odds are pretty steep. However, if you’re willing to consider something that’s a “7” or “8” that over time you can make a “10,” suddenly, there are a lot more choices.

Now if only one’s romantic partner was amenable to such retrofitting.

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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