Low Offers Must Be Clean!

I heard about one of these just the other day. Another agent had worked a great deal with some very particular buyers, and finally found them a cabin that met their requirements. This was good, because they wanted to make an offer. Unfortunately, they wanted to make a very low offer. Well, most cabins close somewhere in the middle, so there was at least some hope that the sellers would counteroffer with their bottom line selling price. But the buyers also insisted on including in their offer a long list of things they wanted done to the cabin before closing, personal items they wanted included in the sale, and some rather high ticket landscaping items. It didn’t take long for the answer to come back from the sellers’ agent. The buyers and the buyer’s agent had insulted the sellers, who instructed their agent to tell the buyers to jump in the lake.

These weren’t my buyers, so I don’t know what they were thinking, but I do know that buying a cabin is a big decision, and people tend to focus on themselves and their problems rather than trying to see things from the seller’s point of view. But it’s stressful for the seller, too. I remember when my dad got one of these offers on a place he was trying to sell. It sounded something like this, “And the **##s want us to throw in the patio furniture!”

According to real estate guru Danielle Kennedy, the first complication introduced into a low price offer cuts its chances of being accepted 50%, the second cuts it to 25%, and so on. The lesson is very simple. Low price offers should be clean. As Kennedy says, “No contingencies, no nit-picking, and no grabs for the seller’s furnishings.” She also recommends an extra large deposit.

It seems to be difficult for some of our customers to accept that we have a seller’s market in our area, with very few distressed sellers. As I explain in “When is the bubble going to burst?” the reason that we don’t is that we have such a strong rental market. Even if we didn’t have a popular, growing area for resort homes, sellers here are much less likely to be distressed, because of our very strong weekend rental market. When they encounter buyers who think our sellers can be bullied, agents are inclined to say things like, “They think we’re all a bunch of ignorant hillbillies!” But I think the answer really is that most buyers don’t understand what is really driving our market.

12/12/2002

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