The Email No Prospective Buyer ” or Their Agent ” Wants to Get

Your frustrated client finally found something they’re excited about.

Everyone rearranges their schedule to see the property ASAP.

Then, just before the showing, the Buyer’s agent receives an email from the listing agent (representing the Seller) that they’ve received an offer.

#$@%!#! (I mean, “Drat!”).

“Don’t Sign Anything Yet!!”

What are the Buyer’s option(s) when that happens?

Probably the smartest course of action is to actually get in to see the property, i.e., go ahead with the showing, then decide.

Lots of times, what looks amazing online is underwhelming in person (surprise, surprise).

Moot Point?

Just as often, even when the home is exactly as billed on MLS, something about it (floor plan, surrounding block, etc.) simply isn’t a good fit for the Buyer, knocking it out of contention.

But what if the home really IS amazing? (funny how, when Buyers know someone else likes a home, they’re inclined to like it, too).

Step #2 (really Steps #2, #3, & #4) is for the Buyer’s agent to reach the listing agent, quickly, and a) communicate their client’s interest (“Don’t sign anything yet!”), and b) get the lay of the land.

What Competing Buyers REALLY Want to Know

After establishing that the property has not in fact already been sold, a good Buyer’s agent will typically ask such questions as:

“What is the Seller’s timetable for responding to offers?”

“Are there other potential offers coming in?”

“Does the Seller have any special requirements (fast closing, delayed closing, etc.) that would be relevant for a Buyer to know?”

Unfortunately, a good listing agent isn’t going to divulge the answer to the one question every competing Buyer REALLY wants to know ” namely, “what’s it going to take to beat the other offer(s)?”

The “2+ Bird-in-the-Hand” Risk

As I tell my clients, just because the Seller has received an offer, doesn’t mean it’s a good offer.

Even in a Seller’s market, there are still plenty of Buyers who initially make low (or even lowball) offers.

It’s also the case that even strong offers (and deals) can hiccup, either on inspection, or later, when it comes to the Buyer securing financing.

Unfortunately for other, would-be Buyers, there’s only one, surefire way to know that the Seller did in fact receive another offer, and it was a (very) good one: the Seller took it, without waiting around for something potentially better.

P.S.: The best advice for Buyers competing for a home in multiple offers?

“The right price to offer is what you’re OK with if you get the home . . . and what you’re OK with if you don’t.”

See also, “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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