The (Mythical?) Serendipitous Buyer

There are Realtors who don’t believe in putting “For Sale” signs in front yards because they think that the would-be Buyers such signs attract invariably . . . aren’t Buyers at all.

Serious buyers, their thinking goes, proactively look online for homes that meet their criteria — usually in concert with their agent.

While I don’t happen to agree, there is something to that.

First, a definition: a “serendipitous Buyer” is a Buyer who isn’t necessarily looking for a home in a particular neighborhood — or may not even be looking for a home at all. But then they literally happen upon the perfect home, fall in love . . . and decide to buy it, then and there!

Or at least, that’s how the story goes.

Such occurrences may not be as rare as Loch Ness monster sightings — but I don’t think they’re exactly common, either.

Buyer “Due Diligence”

In my experience, serious Buyers are more methodical.


They’ve been vetted by a lender, and know what their budget is.

They’ve gotten a couple Realtor referrals, done some interviewing, and signed a “Rep Agreement” with one.

They’ve been studying the market for awhile, and know what’s available.

By contrast, the kind of Buyer whose interest is piqued by a “For Sale” sign probably has skipped one (or more) of the foregoing steps.

Ditto for the Buyer who is working with an agent, but requests a “short notice” showing (usually defined as giving less than one hour notice to the owner — often, a lot less).

My guess is that 80%-plus of the time, what’s behind such a request is “serendipity” (they just drove by) and/or curiosity, not serious interest.

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.

Leave a Reply