purchase offer

If You Don’t Write a Purchase Offer You’ll Never Know

Pumping GasWhile some Sacramento real estate agents view other agent inquiries about their listings as annoying, perhaps irritating, I actually welcome a chat with a buyer’s agent who is working with a qualified and eager home buyer — because it could lead to a purchase offer. My focus is selling my listings, so the next best thing to talking to an actual buyer is talking to the buyer’s agent. See, I don’t mind talking on the phone, as I have a lot of practice talking on the phone.

I’ve been yakking on the phone since I was old enough to drag around a Northwestern Bell dial telephone by its cord in one hand while sucking my thumb on the other. We didn’t have any pacifiers when I was growing up in the 1950s, and we had to substitute our own body parts.

Which brings me to a phone conversation I had several days ago when I made an emergency stop at a gas station somewhere in Citrus Heights. Apart from making a beeline to Nordstrom in Rocklin from my home in Land Park, about the only other place I drive is to seller’s homes to put them on the market. This means I fill up my car maybe once or twice a month. But I’ve been doing a lot more driving this week and noticed my gas gauge was dangerously low. My car tells me when I’m about to run out of fuel with a cute in-dash message about being mindful of how far I have left to drive. It’s so polite. Those Italians.

As I was climbing out of my car and grabbing my VISA card, my bluetooth began to jangle slightly with the sound of faraway chimes, like I’m standing on a hillside in Ireland listening to the wind blow across the burren. No ringy-dingy for me. I answer and it’s an agent calling about one of my listings. She wanted to know if my seller would entertain a lowball offer. Now, see, that’s being polite. That’s encouraging cooperation between agents. That’s not just emailing an insulting purchase offer out of the blue, it’s calling to discuss first. Professional.

I’m staring at the gas pump while I’m listening to the agent talk. This is why I don’t fill up my car at foreign gas stations away from Land Park. I prefer the familiar, like I imagine most people do. I saw three paragraphs of white text printed on the pump, explaining how to pump gas. WTH? My eyes frantically scanned the pump for something simple such as:

  • insert card
  • select grade
  • pump gas

But it wasn’t there. I realized I could not comprehend the text nor attempt to read it while I was in the midst of an engrossing conversation about my listing. How can a Shell gas station make pumping gas so danged difficult? Well, perhaps it’s the same as any other gas station, and it wants my ZIP code. I inserted the card, pressed my 5-digit code into the keypad and selected the button for gas. Everything seemed OK, stuck the hose pump into my car and nothing happened when I pressed the lever. What?

Around the other side of the pump I spotted a younger guy sporting a 10-gallon hat filling up his pickup. I asked if there was some kind of trick, no, not the agent, I assured her. Now I was having 2 conversations and neither were productive. I grabbed my bag, locked the car and marched into the tiny Shell station office stuffed to the gills with bags of potato chips, beef jerky and Pepsi. What am I doing wrong at the pump? I asked the clerk, waving my VISA card at her.

Then I glanced at the card in my hand. It was my Health Saving Account VISA, which is a debit card. The buyer’s agent is still talking to me about her clients. We’re discussing the comparable sales. You know, I don’t really know what my sellers will do with that kind of purchase offer, I explain, but there is certainly one way to find out, and that’s to write the purchase offer. I don’t make decisions for my clients, and we need a place to start negotiations, and this spot might very well be it. It’s a sure rejection if you never write the purchase offer, what do you have to lose?

This story ends with the sellers and the agent’s buyers coming to an agreement a few days later and going into escrow. This is what happens when agents get out of the way and don’t let their own personal opinions shade a transaction but instead facilitate and represent their clients’ best interests.

And I’m sticking my Health Savings Account card into a different slot in my wallet, not to be confused with my regular VISA. Because you can’t buy gas with a Health Savings Account VISA. I also suspect that clerks who have to deal with the public really dislike customers yakking on their cell, but when you’re a Sacramento real estate agent, you never know when a buyer will call.

The Comparison Between Sacramento Real Estate and Pastries

sacramento real estate

Sacramento real estate is bit like pastries.

Selling Sacramento real estate is a little bit like selling pastries. Everybody always wants the cherry beignet or creme brûlée, and they walk right on by the original glazed creme doughnuts or cinnamon rolls. Sell out of the chocolate-sprinkled pastries, and people go wild and keep calling, wanting to know when you’ll get more chocolate sprinkles. Or, maybe it bothers me more than I let on that Doughbot has closed its doors over on 10th Street and W.

The thing is once a home goes into escrow, it seems everybody wants it even if for months nobody wanted it before. Bam, pending sale and buyer’s agents start calling to see if the seller won’t at least allow one more showing, puhlease. They want to know how the sale is moving. If we don’t have a release of contingencies on file, we don’t really know for certain how the sale is moving.

The truth is I can’t predict whether a buyer will close escrow on a Sacramento real estate transaction. I can call the loan officer to ask if the buyers have actually filled out a loan application and submitted tax returns, and that’s a step in the right direction, but it doesn’t assure anybody that the buyer will close. Buyers have a way of freaking out lately, maybe more so than usual. Sacramento real estate has been a bit squirrelly over the summer.

It’s almost like I want to ask the buyer’s agent, are you certain your buyer wants to buy a home in Sacramento? Because a signed purchase offer for that piece of Sacramento real estate is NOT that assurance. It should be, but it’s not. Further, I would like to shelter my seller from any disappointment these types of situations can generate. But we can’t protect them from buyers who will change their minds.

Their agents aren’t likely to ask if they are certain. Their agents are more likely to say sign here and here,?and thanks for the earnest money check. Not because they’re ruthless or whatever, it’s because they often wrongly assume that because a buyer signs a purchase offer that the buyer really wants to buy the house. So, I don’t know how solid an offer is and there is no way I can accurately or honestly tell a buyer’s agent if it’s worth pursuing a pending sale.

If the buyer doesn’t want the chocolate eclair but prefers the creme brûlée, then by all means, put a backup offer on the creme brûlée but that chocolate eclair, I tell you, is mighty tasty. I encourage you to call Elizabeth Weintraub for all of your Sacramento real estate needs.

How Much Will Your Sacramento Home Seller Take?

Bribing-sacramento-real-estate-agentA common question asked by Sacramento real estate agents and directed toward the listing agent is how much will the seller take for that home? Now, you see, I could swear that there is a listing price attached to that home, but maybe the print is too small to read. I know, we could outfit buyer’s agents with those big honkin’ magnifying glasses like you see in photos of Sherlock Holmes. Or, maybe we should attach spectacles to a chain they can keep in their pockets or wear around their necks to whip out for such an occasion?

When an agent asked me that question yesterday, I immediately suggested he look in Zillow. I was being facetious, of course, but he didn’t realize it because I made that suggestion by projecting a lot of excitement and enthusiasm in my voice. I can’t help it. I have fun at work; and I like to make people laugh. Except the agent didn’t laugh because he didn’t know I was joking. I mean, let’s face it, Zillow is the last place for any reasonable much less professional real estate person to look for a market value, but that doesn’t mean the public doesn’t go there because they do. The professionals, on the other hand, use MLS for comparable sales to determine market value.

But it’s such an innocent question, an outsider might presume. How much will the seller take? It is . . . for a person who is not a real estate agent. And I suppose that question is OK for an agent to ask as well if they can get an answer. As my husband is fond of saying: a guy can ask 10 women to go home with him at the bar and the first 9 might slap his face. But that 10th . . .

I asked the buyer’s agent why he would ask me, the listing agent, because I am not the seller. I don’t make decisions for the seller and all that I really know for certain is the seller will accept list price. Not to mention, it’s a breach of fiduciary to utter any kind of different answer.

Well, he didn’t want to “waste time” writing an offer the seller would reject. What? Isn’t that the name of the real estate game? An agent writes an offer on behalf of a buyer and a seller either accepts, counters or rejects? And there is one way to find out what a seller will do, too. If you want to know how much the seller will take for that home, there is one sure-fired, tried-and-true-method to get that answer. You write a purchase offer and send it to the listing agent.

An Accepted Purchase Offer in Sacramento is Only the Beginning

purchase-offer.300x200When buying or selling a home in Sacramento, the parties often don’t realize that it’s hardly over when both sides sign an accepted purchase offer; in fact, the process is just beginning and anything can go wrong. This is where FSBOs (For Sale By Owners) tend to struggle and where real estate agents with less experience can mess up as well.

Think of this point in time as that scene in the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy, all freshly scrubbed and sporting her sparkly ruby slippers, is merrily laughing and singing with her gangly companions, setting out from Munchkin Land to skip down the Yellow Brick Road, just before Glinda vanishes in a puff of twinkly fairy dust. Everybody is happy and excited, looking forward to arriving in the magical Emerald City. They have no idea what lies in store for them.

And neither do most Sacramento home sellers and buyers.

This is when your Sacramento real estate agent can make a world of difference to you. Selling a home in Sacramento is a lot more than just finding a buyer. It means qualifying the buyer, thinking ahead and predicting what could happen, and taking steps to prevent the trees from strangling you and throwing apples at your face. It means fighting off the winged monkeys.

And, if it’s necessary, making it snow.

Keeping everybody on the path to closing. And happy. It’s not the money, either, because a commission check can lose its luster fast if the seller or buyers are unhappy when it’s all over. This is no easy feat. But it’s what I do every day, and I believe I do it well. Going into escrow is just the beginning. If you’re looking for a veteran Sacramento real estate agent, please call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916 233 6759.

SpaghettiOs, Dylan’s Guitar and a Purchase Offer


SpaghettiOs Tribute to Pearl Harbor

There is nothing I like better to wake up to in the morning than finding a purchase offer in my email, not counting, obviously, discovering a live husband and not a dead one in bed next to me, and let’s throw in a purring cat or two. Except all of our cats are quarantined for the time being due to a lovely fungus invasion.

Receiving a purchase offer is almost as exciting as hearing that Bob Dylan’s Fender Stratocaster from the 1965 Newport Folk Festival sold for $965,000. When I heard the opening bid was considerably less than that, like a few hundred thousand, I thought to myself: hey, anybody with a halfway decent 401K could buy that guitar. But that’s also how people end up with bowling alleys in their home, and stuffed pandas hanging from the ceiling.

People be weird. That’s one of my husband’s sayings. And now he’s got me repeating it.

While you might at this very moment be feeling more empathy for the soon-to-be former social media director at Franco American whose idea of a Tweet has shocked, enraged and caused many a snark over that Pearl Harbor SpaghettiOs dude. Just reading the comments on websites about the SpaghettiOs fiasco temporarily stole my attention away from the purchase offer.

I like to receive purchase offers because it’s the next step toward going into escrow. It’s what my sellers have been waiting for, why they cleaned up their home, prepared their home for sale and hired the best Sacramento real estate agent they could find. All for this moment in time.

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