Presenting an Offer to the Other Broker’s Clients

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Yesterday a property came back on the market after the previous buyers could not secure financing. A client of mine was very interested and wanted to see it as soon as possible, as homes that are priced well are going very quickly. I called the listing agent to schedule an appointment and he told me to go ahead and show it last night. “Just knock first”, he told me. I asked me if he was sure it would be alright, as it would be at 9:30pm and he assured me that it was no problem and if the seller’s weren’t home to use the keybox.

I show up with my buyers and knock on the door, wait, knock again, wait and knock a third time. No answer- so I find the keybox, which was conveniently hidden on the side of the house in the bushes (?!?) and unlock the door. As I walk in I call out, “Hello- Realtor!” as I always do when showing owner-occupied homes, and we walk through the living room turning on lights and into the kitchen. Just then the seller walks in from the lower level and introduces himself. He then tells us that the listing agent had not called to schedule the showing and their two children were asleep so it wouldn’t be a good time to show the property. We appologize for the intrusion and quietly walk out.

As we are leaving my buyer’s mom (who was with him for support as this is his first time buying) says something about the listing agent not being very good at his job and they wasted their time driving across town because the agent didn’t call the sellers. Once outside, I agree with her and let them know I’ll try to reschedule a showing as soon as possible.

So I get home and call the listing agent, who does not answer, and leave him a message informing him of what had happened and ask if we can schedule an appointment for this morning.

This morning the agent doesn’t call me so I call him (no answer) and then the co-listing agent from the MLS, who answers and says it will be fine to show the home. After letting him know about last night he agrees to call the seller and make sure it will be alright. I arrive to show my client the home, who decides to bring mom, dad, and sister because he thinks he really likes this one and wants their opinion. After walking through the home my client tells me loves the home. Mom, dad and sister all love the home, too. He wants the home and wants to right the offer immediately, which we do.

I call the co-listing agent, who is out of town until Monday, but is the only one who will answer their phone, let him know that my client loves the home and we have written an offer. We put the acceptance time as tonight at 8pm hoping to get it accepted before any other offers come in. No such luck.

The co-listing agent calls me to let me know that two additional offers have come in this afternoon. We talk on the phone for a while and I make the argument for my clients offer, which was $900 under full price and asking for a few small concessions, but has already been pre-approved for a convential loan with 10% down. I’m a bit worried that our offer is not full price and whether the sellers didn’t like hearing my client’s mom saying things about the listing agent (you never know). My client wants to try to get his offer accepted as written, although he is willing to pay more if needed.

After discussions with my assistant (while I was in a meeting) and with me several times throughout the day the listing agent tells me that he knows of me and knows I do a lot of business and he has told his clients that he would prefer to work with me because of my experience.

He tells me that his client’s main concern is getting the deal done by the end of this month. They are scheduled to close on the home they are buying at the end of the month and if they don’t close by a certain day they lose their interest rate lock, which I am told was locked when rates had dipped briefly one day.

I know our offer isn’t as high as at least one of the other offers when the listing agent makes a reference to it, but tells me that he and his client would rather work with our offer if we can make the terms work for them. After more lengthy phone conversations with the other agent and my client, we come to terms and it looks like we’ve come to an agreement.

The sellers want to be sure the buyer is getting a convential loan so there won’t be any FHA appraiser problems (FHA appraisals often come in low and have tons of bogus demands). However, my client now tells me that he has spoken with his lender and wants to get an FHA loan so he can do a streamline refinance in a year and remove his father (who is co-signing) from the loan and keep a good interest rate. I talk to him about convential streamlines, but his lender is a good friend of his and has convinced him that this is the very best option for him.

Back to negotiating with the other side, we negotiate the terms of having the loan be FHA and what happens if there are appraisal issues and how that would look. We agree how to write it up, but the other agent is out of town until Monday and apparently has no fax capabilites at the hotel so he can’t write a counter-offer.

I know how much my client wants this home and worrying that the seller might take one of the other offers if given time to think about it, one being for more money and has the buyers getting a conventional loan, I suggest that I write the counter offer and email it to him so he can approve it and then I can drive over to his seller house to get it signed after he has disscussed it with them.

It’s now 11pm tonight and my client is just getting off work and coming down the canyon from his job. I tell him I’ll meet him at my house (which is close to the mouth of the canyon) in thirty minutes for him to sign the counter offer, figuring that gives me enough time to run over to the sellers house, get it signed and be home.

I call the sellers (as requested by the listing agent) and let them know I’ll be right over. Upon arriving, the sellers invite me downstairs so we don’t wake the sleeping children. I have the counter offer with me, but they ask that I go over the entire offer with them to help them understand it as this is the first home they have sold.

So it’s now 11:15pm and I’m in the seller’s basement, where I just happen to notice two other offers sitting on the desk (one for $3000 more than our offer unless there is something on an addendum to it that is not in site), a financial breakdown of net profit comparing three sets of numbers (I assume without staring at them that they are comparing the three offers)on the computer, and I’m thinking about the comment my my client’s mom made about the other agent and how I have still not spoken to the listing agent (only the co-listing agent). I want to make a strong presentation of my client, especially knowing the seller has two other offers they can accept, but I don’t want to cross the line of implied representation with sellers who I think are taking an offer that is lower in price than other offers and I know my client will pay, with additional concessions, and with my client getting an FHA loan although the sellers don’t want the hassles of dealing with the FHA appraisal. And the co-listing agent has told me that he and the sellers want to work with me because of my reputation and experience and they feel like I will be good to work with. They had the home under contract before- did the listing agent not go over the contracts with them then? I have to be back home to meet my client in about ten minutes- Plus- I represent the buyers.

So I inform the sellers how this is going to happen. I’m going to explain the contract and the terms that are in the contract. I will not advise them or give them any information about my clients and I advise them that they might call their agent after I have explained the contracts to them and discuss it while I wait outside. 

I go over the contract with them and explain the terms that have been offered and I explain the counter-offer that they are making to my client, that I wrote for them, as discussed with their agent. They ask me a few simple, technical questions about the meaning of certain terms in the contract and such and I answer. When I finish going over the contracts with them I explain where to sign and initial each page.

As they are initialing the agency part of the contract they tell me that I am really earning my commission tonight.

Finishing up with the sellers, I thank them for staying up late to get this done and drive home to meet my client. He signs the counter offer, I get him a copy and fax a copy to the co-listing agent.

The deal is only entering escrow now, but I did earn my commission today…

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5 thoughts on “Presenting an Offer to the Other Broker’s Clients

  1. I knew the balancing act picture would tie in nicely.

    Most people have no idea how we must walk that line… or what goes on behind the scenes to earn our commissions.

    Great story, Greg.

  2. Good story, but why does it matter who presents the offer? My agent didn’t present our offer but everything went fine. He didn’t do much of anything, but the home sold for full price and that’s all we cared about.

  3. I have a similar story about a listing agent not informing his client that I was about to view the property. I let myself in with the key safe, announced myself, and proceeded to look around.

    I got upstairs, turned the corner…and had the fright of my life. The owner was sitting in his office, with his headphones on. He was as surprised as I was — perhaps more so, thinking I may have been an intruder.

    Listing agents — if you put instructions in the MLS saying “Call listing agent” then please CALL YOUR CLIENTS AND LET THEM KNOW WE’RE COMING!

  4. Comment by Curious:

    Here’s thre MOST important question: Would you refer that agent to others? My guess in “no”.

    Greg:

    Good story. It’s amazing how bad some agents are.

  5. The co-listing agent has been polite and easy to work with since, and I understand being out of town with three offers coming in at once, but it is good to have an agent help with your business when you’re gone.

    It was just interesting presenting the offer and going over the counter-offer (that I wrote) for the sellers to give to my buyers.

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