A Good Purchase Offer Does Not Make the Seller Issue a Counter Offer

counter offer

Small mistakes in a purchase offer can require a counter offer.

With almost every new Sacramento listing these days comes a flurry of purchase offers from an assortment of buyer’s agents. Every strong listing agent in Sacramento is witnessing this sort of stuff right now. Some of us, I should add, are fairly detail oriented, and we expect purchase contracts to arrive with all the I’s dotted and the T’s crossed. It should not be surprising, then, when we find mistakes in the purchase contract that it means we will undoubtedly be required to suggest a counter offer to the seller.

A well written contract is a purchase offer the seller can immediately accept. If an agent is submitting an offer in a multiple-offer situation, for example, and that offer is less than list price, a buyer’s agent should not force the seller to issue a counter by making a mistake in the offer. Because a seller will start looking at other things in the offer to object to, perhaps and quite rightly so, starting with the sales price.

Sometimes agents will toss other factors into an offer such as requesting a certain title company when the seller is paying for the title insurance and may have a preference for a different title company. That’s enough to require a counter offer as well. If an agent is from out-of-area and uncertain about what types of expenses are customary fees paid for by the parties in Sacramento, the agent could call the listing agent to ask.

It’s not just listing agents who might gravitate toward easy-to-sign purchase offers; it’s also the sellers themselves. Sellers read entire contracts, believe it or not, and they can note subtle differences among the offers. For example, if the listing in MLS does not offer FHA nor VA financing, the likelihood is it was not a mistake. The seller might prefer only cash or conventional offers. A buyer’s agent’s opinion about that is of no consequence.

I’ve even had agents send this Sacramento Realtor a purchase offer accompanied by an email asking to please send us a counter offer. Not only is that in bad form and could possibly violate a fiduciary relationship with the buyer, but it also suggests the agent has been unable to get the buyer to understand the realities of the marketplace. That’s not exactly the kind of people we want to go into escrow with, although, sometimes it’s just the luck of the draw with buyers and buyer’s agents are stuck with who they get. You can’t always change people, especially the stubborn ones.

My advice for agents is to just write the best offer, check for mistakes, and try not to encourage the seller to issue a counter offer.

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