Waiting (and Waiting) For the “Perfect” Home**

Every veteran Realtor at one point has them:  Buyers who are looking for a home ” just, shall we say . . . very casually.

Which is fine and good:  the only timetable that matters in real estate sales is the client’s.

Plus, as I like to tell prospective Buyers and Sellers, I need closed sales next year (and the year after) just as much as I need them this year.

How Motivated?

Where problems result is if the Buyer and their agent are on different burners er, pages.

Here are the four scenarios:

One. “Front Burner” search for both Buyer and their agent:  the simplest, most common scenario.

The Buyer is motivated; knows the relevant slice of the housing market they’re interested in; and is ready, willing, and able to write a credible offer if something that meets their (realistic) criteria becomes available.

Meanwhile, their Realtor has multiple, saved searches reflecting the Buyer’s criteria; is actively networking for upcoming listings; and adjusts their schedule as necessary to quickly get their client into appropriate, newly-listed homes (before they sell!).

Two. Back burner for both Buyer and their agent.

Also no problem.

While the Buyer may not be looking for a “needle in a haystack,” their criteria are sufficiently narrow that their home search may take several months if not years.

Or, for the Buyer to jump from their current, not-so-bad housing situation, the new home has to be perfect (same difference).

Marathon vs. Sprint

In such cases, the Buyer’s agent keeps their eyes and ears open, but doesn’t scour the market in real-time, day after day, week after week, or aggressively network on their behalf.

Meanwhile, the Buyer is patient, and understands that their agent will get them in to see appropriate homes quickly, but not “fire-drill” fast.

If, in the interim, the home sells in multiple offers, that’s fine, because the Buyer didn’t want to chase anything.

Three. Front burner for Buyer, back burner for agent.

In contrast to scenario #1, this one is highly problematic, for both parties.

Either the Buyer gets frustrated with their AWOL agent, and rightfully fires them.

Or, the Buyer acts increasingly independently of their putative agent, going through Sunday open houses without coordinating with them, contacting listing agents directly to see homes, etc.

Assuming the Buyer truly is motivated, this scenario frequently leads to a commission dispute between the Buyer’s agent and whichever agent the Buyer engages with.

Four. Back burner for Buyer, front burner for agent.

This one is highly problematic for exactly one party:  the Buyer’s agent.

Agent Burn-Out

That’s because, in a fiercely competitive Seller’s market (at least at lower price points), “casual” doesn’t cut it.

The most desirable, best-marketed homes can sell within a day, often in multiple offers.

Positioning a client to purchase such a home can be like drinking from a fire hose, and is NOT something agents can easily sustain week after week, month after month.

The takeaway?

As long as the client and their Realtor are on the same page, no problem.

However, when expectations diverge ” or the Buyer’s priorities change (either lower or higher) ” good communication is needed to avoid problems.

**As I like to tell clients, I’ve sold lots of homes that were “8’s” and “9’s” and on a 1-10 scale ” but not many “10’s.”

There are two explanations for that:  1) every home ” even the most deluxe ” arguably has flaws and imperfections; and 2) once the Buyer moves in and customizes the home to their taste, then it becomes a “10.”

See also, “Procuring Cause Multiple Choice“; and “Procuring Cause, Checked Swings & Drowning Witches.”

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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