How Do You Know if the Sacramento Home Buyer is in Love?

Love-House-Sacramento-300x300Because it ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings in Sacramento real estate — meaning home buyers basically make a zero commitment during the first several weeks of escrow — it’s not unusual for a seller to worry about the buyer’s intentions. Is the buyer serious? Is the home buyer in love with your home? An offer means little, believe it or not. The offers I receive from buyer’s agents on behalf of my sellers generally provide very little insight. I’m lucky if the agent manages to tell me anything tangible about the buyer. It’s not unusual for an agent to scan the offer to my email without so much as an introduction or greeting.

You remember the components of a letter, right? Well, if you’re of a certain age and dig way back in your attic, you’ll recall the salutation, body and closing. Nobody bothers with that formality today. In fact, I’m grateful if an agent says, “Hey, here is my buyer’s offer.” Or, maybe they send a link so I can retrieve the offer myself from ZIPforms or Dropbox.

There is no interaction. No discussion, usually, unless I generate it. The bulk of emails with offers attached that share any insight whatsoever about the buyer will commonly note: The buyer is in love with the home. They better be in love with the home; I don’t know any buyer who isn’t in love with the home — except the buyers who swear on their grandmother’s grave they are so in love with the home and then won’t pony up an extra thousand or two to meet the seller’s counter offer.

They’re in love to a point. Don’t tell us how much a buyer is in love with the home, show us. Put your money where the agent’s fingertips have traveled on that keyboard: present that huge honkin’ earnest money deposit and make a few concessions.

A seller asked this morning how we can tell if a buyer is serious. That’s a tough one because we are forced to rely on the documents before us and veteran agents with a few decades behind our big fat butts, well, we partly rely on intuition. Gut instincts is a collective intangible asset developed over years. Listing agents like me will draw attention to any item that could cause a problem in the purchase offer as a reason to disqualify a buyer when helping the seller to choose between two or more buyers. Anything that makes a buyer appear less qualified or uncommitted, pffft, out of the running.

Choosing between offers can result in assigning negative points to certain things such as type of financing, credits, length of escrow, repair demands, mortgage lender, agent experience, inspection periods, among other aspects of the purchase contract. Too many negative points and your offer won’t get accepted. In this market, sometimes one negative point is enough to make a buyer lose a home.

Tip: If you’re a buyer who is trying to buy a home in Sacramento, figure that you have competition for every home you want and ask your agent to perform accordingly. Agents, take a few minutes to share the strong points of your offer / buyer qualifications with the seller. Don’t just email an offer and skidaddle off to your lake house for the weekend. Tell us why the seller should take your buyer’s offer over another.

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