Second Bite(s) at the Apple

Why see a home that you likely can’t buy?

In a nutshell, that sentiment explains why showings plummet once a “For Sale” property is officially under contract.

In most cases, the Buyer and Seller are able to resolve any issues that come to light during inspection, and the transaction progresses to a smooth closing 4-6 weeks later.

But, not always.

Home Sale Hiccups

I can think of two scenarios when it can be smart for Buyers to see a home that’s sold, subject to inspection (assuming the executed Purchase Agreement allows it):

One. Multiple offer feeding frenzy.

In a (too?) fast-moving market characterized by a shortage of inventory, at least a few Buyers are forced into bidding on a home before they’re ready.


Once the dust settles and emotions cool, Buyer remorse kicks in, and the winning bidder decides to walk.

Two. Older and/or bigger home.

Which home do you suppose is more likely to have an inspection issue (or several of them)?

a) the cute-as-a-button, move-in condition 3 BR/2 Bath home that’s less than 20 years old; or

b) a century-old, 4,000 square foot, three-story home that hasn’t been on the market in a couple decades.

Yup, that’s my guess, too.

Condos Sales

The odds of an inspection hiccup are especially low for condos, where the Buyer is technically purchasing the air space between the walls.

Of course, that assumes the condo Buyer even chooses to do an inspection (I don’t recommend it, but many waive it).

However, at least in Minnesota, condo sales have an additional hurdle (besides the Buyer’s financing) once a deal has been struck: a statutory, 10 day right of rescission while the Buyer reviews the C.I.C. (“Common Interest Community”) documents.

Those include the articles, bylaws, financial statements, minutes, and any amendments.

While the risk has receded, in the wake of the 2008 Crash and a tsunami of foreclosures, not a few condo buildings in the Twin Cities were sufficiently shaky that Buyers reconsidered their purchase after studying all the disclosures.

(Note: of course, if Buyer #1 is scared off by shaky building finances, presumably successive Buyers would be, too.)

Other Showing Motivations

Even when there’s a very low likelihood that a given deal will derail, there can be other reasons to see a home.

That includes just-starting-out Buyers, who want to see how much house they can get for their money in a particular area; agents preparing to list similar, nearby homes; and listing agents of nearby homes that are about to be appraised.

In such instances, it’s appropriate to let the Seller know the purpose of the showing — in the latter two cases, by coding the request on MLS as a “Preview” — then let the Seller decide if they want to allow access.

See also, “Proper (& Improper) Purposes of Realtor Previews“; and “Can Sellers Continue to Show Their Home Until the Buyer Removes Their Inspection Contingency?”

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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