A buyer’s agent made me laugh out loud yesterday when he said, “You’re so famous I can’t believe I’m talking to you; you’re everywhere online.” I get a big kick out of that kind of reaction because I truly don’t see the celebrity perception that some people form. I’m just a Sacramento real estate agent who writes about real estate every day and sells a bunch of homes in Sacramento every year. It’s not like I’m on TV or anything. I’m not a best seller at Amazon. I put my pants on one leg at a time like most people — mostly because I’m too old and cranky to jump into them with two feet like some 20-year-old surfer dude.
I call a lot of buyer’s agents these days, especially when I see they have showed my listing, for example, on which almost every buyer who sees it wants to write an offer. I figure it’s better to discuss the situation upfront. Text messages and email are all too easy to ignore. But a phone call is kinda jarring to many agents; it’s too personal, I sense, whoa, what is this sound? My phone is ringing and I’m in the middle of playing Plants vs. Zombies, the new Beach wave. What the?
I call agents because I figure it’s better to talk to them before they write an offer. So many never call the listing agent to get more information or glean insight. If I don’t talk to the agents, they’re left staring at their buyer’s bright and shiny face who asks, “How much should I offer?” And the answer appears to be: Whatever you want. I get offers all over the board these days, and some are pretty wild.
Much of this confusion, not all of it, unfortunately, would be resolved if the buyer’s agent would just call the listing agent before writing an offer. One question to ask is how many offers do you have or have you received? That would shed a lot of light on the situation. Without breaking fiduciary to her seller, a listing agent can also help guide the buyer’s agent to writing an offer that is likely to get accepted.
There is always more behind buying a home than numbers and pictures. There are people involved. It’s not just an address with four walls and a roof.
My focus is to make the seller happy and get the seller into escrow and closed. I don’t mind calling buyer’s agents and talking. It’s how we used to do business in the old days before agents threw offers at the wall to see if anything sticks and then resumed reading Facebook.
Agents writing offers that don’t cut the mustard seems to be the norm lately. What the buying public doesn’t know, all agents do not know what they are doing. Often when a buyer’s agent writes a very poor quality offer, the buyer thinks it is a good offer. She doesn’t understand when the offer is rejected. Why? Because her agent told her it was a great offer. When they lose, it is sour grapes. the listing agent is the scape-goat to blame. Listing Agent must have double-ended it? Not so. They had an agent friend who they let win? Not so. The simple truth, the buyer’s agent failed to write the highest and best offer.
How to write offers to win, is a skill learned over time by writing hundreds of offers. When an agent closes 100 buyer side escrows in Sacramento this proven results performance will give you, the buyer, confidence that the agent possesses the expertise and skill required. Our full-time Buyer’s Agents talk with buyers every day from our lead generation platform.
Stay tuned to part two of this discussion with our next blog. If you are searching for an agent who can write offers that win, call Weintraub and Wallace Realtors. We are partner powered by RE/MAX Gold, the largest independent Real Estate brokerage in Northern California. Contact Weintraub & Wallace Realtors today we write offers that do cut the mustard and we throw in a bag of chips. Call us at 916-233-6759.
- — JaCi Wallace
Some people strongly believe it is the Sacramento listing agent’s duty to point out errors and omissions in a purchase offer to the buyer’s agent. This Sacramento listing agent is not one of those. Much as I might feel the urge to help my fellow real estate agents, there are good reasons not to. For starters, a) some agents resent the advice and tips; b) it’s not good risk management practice; c) being “fair” to all parties could be interpreted to mean I should provide input to every single real estate agent; d) my fiduciary is to the seller, not a random stranger; e) I am not their broker; and f) we may not agree.
Not to mention, offering help could backfire. A disgruntled home buyer whose stupendously brilliant offer was rejected by the short-sighted seller — the seller who obviously could NOT spot a good offer if it hit her in the eye, with all of its errors and omissions in a purchase offer explained in detail by the listing agent to the buyer’s agent — could very well decide to pursue litigation. Even though the offer was lousy and it sucked. No thank you. Bad risk management to engage in that sort of liability. A buyer’s agent might even beg to know why the offer was rejected; not gonna breathe a word.
I see stuff all of the time that blows my mind. I wonder how could the agent write an offer like this? My compassionate nature and inclination is I should help that agent, but fortunately my good common sense takes over and speaks more loudly. The errors and omissions in a purchase offer might be small things like bucking local customary buyer-paid fees or asking for a detail that is expressly spelled out in MLS as an exception. It could be larger things like messing up the sales price or blatant misinterpretations of the California Residential Purchase Agreement or checking boxes that don’t apply.
Not my place to point out the errors and omissions in a purchase offer. But it is good fuel to use for my own Elizabeth Weintraub Team members, to show them what not to do and to help them to improve their own purchase offers. It’s probably one of the reasons we enjoy such a high success rate for offer acceptance. It’s painful for me to see preapproval letters for buyers dated from 2015 and to know the reason these poor unsuspecting buyers are not in escrow this spring is printed on page 10 of the RPA.
But . . . not my job. My job is to fully inform my sellers, to expect my sellers to make their own decisions, and to treat private information as confidential.
We’re not quite there yet with some of this online bidding for homes because in my market of Sacramento, it seems that only the distressed homes — the foreclosures and short sales — qualify for that process, and even those sales are pretty much convoluted. Reserve pricing, phony beginning bid prices, coupled with the practice of the website company placing its own shill bids in order to drive up offers — a system that relies on greed, preys on naivety — and generally you can’t even see the home until after your offer is accepted, which is no way to buy a house. Nope, to buy a home you should hire a buyer’s agent.
I understand there are buyers who want to control every step of the home buying process from start to finish, and they think they know Sacramento real estate and don’t need an agent. It’s pretty much impossible to acquire that kind of specific knowledge, though, without working in the trenches day after day. A buyer can never refine that knowledge without hands-on experience, and that’s just the way it is. So, it’s only logical that buyers would be eager to take advantage of the services a buyer’s agent has to offer, especially since the seller is paying that buyer’s agent’s commission. But some first-time home buyers make the mistake of believing seminar gurus or buying into HGTV.
Buying a home is not like buying a loaf of bread. You can’t stroll down the online bread aisle and buy the brand of home you like the best without investigating a host of other factors. There are neighborhoods, location, construction defects, maintenance issues, financing, real estate trends, comparable sales, future plans on the drawing board for the community, business services, neighborhood reputations, taxes, school districts and a bazillion other things that should be considered before buying a home, and a buyer’s agent can help you with much of it.
A buyer called yesterday to ask if she could see a home for sale that is a short sale. Sure, we’d be glad to show her, but she needs to know that if one my team members shows her the home, we will be writing that offer for her and representing her. We clarify that with every buyer because some buyers do not understand what it means to be “working with an agent.” She didn’t have an agent, but then, all of a sudden, she had an agent. Funny how that works.
Then, she called back to ask me to set an appointment for her because her agent was “busy at work.” Doing some other job, I suppose, and not real estate. These poor people. They think they are a buying a house and shopping for a home, but they are digging themselves a bigger hole every day and sinking into it. There are many buyer’s agents who are busier than all get-out right now with the high demand in our seller’s market and our low inventory. Buyers would be wise to latch on to one of them.
New real estate agents have it kinda tough in a market where they are supposed to know what they don’t know, especially when it comes to the final walkthrough for the buyer. The problem seems to be that some think it’s a time for the buyer to conduct a final inspection, which it is not. I’m not sure where they get that idea, but probably from the same place that other bad ideas come from, the land of assumption. To get to the land of assumption, you’ve first got to cross the river of confusion and hope you don’t have to navigate blindfolded at high tide.
I wish there was some sort of handbook, filled with mistakes that rookie agents make, so we could buy this book and gift it to them, but life seems to do a pretty darned good job of preparing them for mistakes through the gift of consequences. It’s a good way for people to remember mistakes and not make them again. Although it can be painful.
Things are not always as logical as one might assume. For example, for some reason, a buyer’s agent thought a home would be vacant for the final walkthrough. The agent believed it would be completely void of personal belongings, including said person. This information was conveyed to the buyer as a matter of fact when it was actually a matter of a big mistake. I suppose when it’s your first deal, you don’t necessarily think through every step or you believe things will happen a certain way, even when they happen a different way.
In times of confusion like this, it’s always a good idea to read the Residential Purchase Contact. Buyer possession is handled on page 4, in paragraph 9 under “Closing and Possession.” By default, the contract gives possession of the home to the buyer on the day of closing at 6 PM. It used to be 5 PM in the old contract but they changed it to 6 PM in the new version released last November. This means the seller retains possession of the property and can keep his or her personal items in the property up until 6 PM on the date it closes.
So. if you’re planning to do a final walkthrough that morning, guess what? The seller may still be living in the home and still in the process of moving out. If that is unacceptable to the buyer, the time to address this is prior to closing, say around the time the contract is presented for acceptance or any time after that, prior to the date of closing. One does not wait until the day it is supposed to close escrow and then decide to ask the seller to vacate the premises earlier. That’s poor planning and likely to backfire.
But that’s why buyers want to hire an experienced agent to help. Buyers deserve an agent who understands buyer possession and can arrange for possession to be delivered in the manner the buyer desires.