Seller Semantics

“As I am smoking . . . I don’t expect to be thanked.”

—What John Hurt’s character ” in “Love and Death on Long Island” (1997) ” says to the cab driver, when the latter points to the cab’s “Thank You For Not Smoking” sign, and asks Hurt to extinguish his cigarette.

Shortly after showing their client a new-on-the market home, the Buyer’s agent received an email from the listing agent informing them that she was “presenting offers tomorrow night at 6 p.m.,” and asking whether the Buyer had any interest.

Which of the following conclusions could the Buyer’s agent reasonably draw?

A. The agent had already received multiple offers on the home, which she would be presenting to the Seller at 6 p.m. the following night.

B. The agent intended to present offers she received — if any — the next night.

C. The agent had received one offer, which she intended to present along with any other offers that came in in the next day.

Answer: all of the above.

Surprise, surprise, the Buyer’s agent in the not-so-hypothetical above was me.

Embellishing Buyer Interest?

Clearly, the listing agent’s email was intended to suggest Scenario A.

However, after a brief exchange, it became clear that the real answer was “C.”:  the listing agent only had one written offer in hand — the only kind that matter — plus expressions of verbal interest from multiple parties.

At least in my experience:  a) that second category is easy for listing agents to fudge; and b) even when verbal interest is real, such Buyers frequently fail to write offers (or, at least good ones).

So, how do you know for sure?

Wait 2-3 days, and see if the home’s MLS status switches to “A,i” (“Active, Subject to Inspection”).

See, “Are There Other Interested Buyers?”; and “Is it REALLY in Multiples?  How to Tell.”

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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