When Do You Tell the Seller?

The Buyer’s Agent called you up after the first showing to say it went well, and to ask a few questions about the house’s condition.

The second showing was yesterday.

Then, mid-afternoon today, the Buyer’s Agent called to say that she is meeting with her client tonight to write an offer, and that she expects to have it to you tomorrow morning.


When do you tell your client, the Seller, that you’re expecting an offer?

My answer (and most experienced Realtors’): never.
(Sorry, it was a trick question.)

Rather, the time to tell your client that you have an offer in hand for their home . . . is when you actually have an offer in hand for their home.

Managing Expectations

Which is not to say that my clients don’t know what’s going on — they do.

Depending on their guidance and wishes, I’ll typically relay showing feedback as I receive it, and give periodic reports about what’s happening (or not) in the market around them.

But I’ve learned from experience that nothing’s worse than calling an anxious, expectant client to alert them that an offer is imminent, then waiting.

And waiting.

A small percentage of the time, I suspect the other agent (or their client) of purposeful manipulation.

However, by far the more common scenario is that their clients cooled off on the home, warmed up on another, or simply got busy at work, home, etc. and couldn’t find the 2-3 hours it takes to meet with their agent to formulate an intelligent offering price, then write a careful and thorough Purchase Agreement (add 50% for first-time Buyers).

As a Listing Agent, I’ll certainly be in regular touch with the Buyer’s Agent (and any other Buyer’s agents who’ve expressed interest).

However, it ‘ain’t a real offer till I have it in hand.

P.S. As far as I’m concerned, it’s not a done deal till my (Selling) client’s proceeds check shows up on their bank statement!
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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