buy first or sell first

Making a Contingent Offer When Your Home is Not Yet on the Market

contingent offers

Few sellers take a contingent offer seriously if the buyer’s home is not for sale.

If you don’t eat yer meat, you can’t have any pudding. It’s not just Pink Floyd who says, among other disturbing insights, there is a certain order to the world if you want to get things done. If one can’t abide by customary procedures, then there could be ways around it, which is often my specialty as a Sacramento Realtor. To operate within the confines and restraints of a system with the goal of discovering a loophole designed to bestow an advantage for clients, while minimizing risk. And a contingent offer certainly falls within those parameters.

Part of that success means I need to know the residential purchase agreement inside and out and all of the accompanying documents. You won’t find me at a loss for words when a client needs advice. It might be complicated, but I’ll give it to them straight.

I wonder what other agents tell their clients? When I receive a contingent offer from a buyer’s agent in a pre-acknowledged multiple-offer situation without any preface, just: here it is, it makes me wonder. First I check to see if the agent showed the home. Nope, not that I can determine. That would mean the buyer probably came through a Sunday open house and then called his agent after being informed all offers would be considered immediately thereafter. Yet, why would a buyer submit a contingent offer when the buyer’s present home was not only not in escrow but not even on the market?

Having posed that question, let me add that I am sometimes lucky enough to get a contingent offer accepted for a home not on the market when we’re working with buyers, but we don’t just dump the offer on the listing agent without an explanation. We also produce an MLS number for the contingent property and explain our extensive marketing system. We give the other listing agent a solid plan to pass on to her seller. Then it’s no skin off the seller’s teeth to accept our offer because that listing can remain in active release clause.

Giving a listing agent a contingent offer subject to selling a home when said home is not even on the market is like Wimpy: I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today. It’s like saying: if I could afford to buy your home, I most certainly would, Ollie, and flipping your tie around. Such a thing can make you feel like you’re Bojack Horseman, trying to explain to Princess Carolyn that her date is really 3 little boys stacked on top of each other under a trench coat.

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