Hurry Up and Wait

Every day you see one more card
You take it on faith, you take it to the heart
The waiting is the hardest part

—”The Waiting“; Tom Petty, lyrics

In my original post, “The Waiting (is the Hardest Part),” I discussed the various kinds of waiting that people frequently have to endure in residential real estate:

–As Buyers, waiting for the right house to come on the market;

–As Sellers, waiting for showings and ultimately, offers;

–As Sellers (again), waiting to hear how the Buyer’s inspection went, and, a few weeks later, the appraisal.

To the above, add one more type of waiting — perhaps the most acute kind:  waiting for the other side to respond to your offer (or counter-offer).

Nothing makes time tick more slowly than waiting to hear whether you’re on your way to a deal.

Or, have hit a negotiating wall.

Updates Appreciated

As an agent, all I can really do is let the other side know that the clock is ticking — and be careful to shape my client’s expectations so they’re not sitting next to the phone.

Even if I can’t elicit a formal response from the other side, often it’s helpful simply to have a timetable.

Or an explanation.

“Mr. Seller is catching a flight this afternoon, and won’t be able to look at the offer till tonight.”

“Mr. and Mrs. Seller will be able to discuss the offer at 3 p.m, then will be back in touch.”


In the meantime, the best thing the other side can do is stay focused on something else:  work, going for a run, doing something with the kids or dog.

Or writing a blog post . . . 🙂

P.S.:  Buyers will frequently want to write in a deadline for responding.

I discourage that, for two reasons:  1) contract law already allows them to revoke their offer at any time, if they so wish; 2) giving the other side a defined deadline can be used by the listing agent to flush out another Buyer (“I just received an offer on 123 Sycamore, the home you showed to your client twice.  If they’re interested, please get me something by noon tomorrow.”)

It’s also the case that, in the land of Minnesota Nice, ultimata and deadlines tend to come across as heavyhanded.

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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