Saturday, February 17, 2007

It's hard to make appointments!

48 hour notice should be plenty of time to set up an appointment to see a home. That said, what a surprise we got when my clients and I, who had driven 8 hours from South Jersey, arrived at the first showing of the day. A disgruntled owner answered the door clearly not prepared for us to see the home. Not to be misleading, I don't mind when the sellers are there. In fact I think sometimes a showing can benefit from them being there. They know the ins and outs of their home. Sure they accentuate the greatness "this is 40 year architectural shingles on this new roof!" Suppress the flood stains in the basement..."It has never flooded down here before, must have been the hard rain last night". But generally I have found that when they are there it really does not detract from the showing. Having keen and laid back buyers helps as well as buyers who can see through the BS and realize when the seller is actually being genuine.

The first clue that something was off was that there was no lock box on the door to which I had the combo for... Uh oh! The second was the huge, barking boxer in the window that wanted to jump through and eat my buyers children...Uh oh..again! We knock anyway and wake up the good! I think he may have been half way to the door anyway because we were driving a big F-350 diesel pick up and you could hear us coming up the driveway.

He was clearly pissed, and rightfully so! The listing agent who never returned my call, the agent on floor time when I called the second time, who told me the house was VACANT and gave me the lock box combo, clearly didn't follow up to make sure it was OK to see the house. Is it hard to make a few phone calls and confirm with the seller or listing agent that 12:45pm on a Saturday is OK for us to see the house? Now I am not saying I am entitled to go look at a house for whenever is convenient for me. What I want though is to be able to accommodate my buyers and trust that when I go to a home with adequate notice, in this case 48 hours, it will be ready to show and the seller will be prepared for us to be there. If I'm given the OK on the time, given a lock box combo then I assume we are all set! Nothing like pissing off a seller, and what's worse, when he was done ranting about us being there, he said that this had happened before!

Something tells me there will be a listing contract voided on Monday morning...any takers? Just be sure you give him notice the next time you want to show it!

-Josh Pratt

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Desperate sellers or desperate agents?

In the past 3 months I have run into 2 situations where it appears the sellers best interest are not in the best interest of their agent. In both instances I represented the buyer and placed offers on properties when there was existing offers with acceptances, but NO signed contracts. In the first instance my buyers placed an offer $3K over list price, knowing they had to make a strong offer. In the other my buyers placed an offer $10k under list price. Both offers had mortgage contingencies, though the later being half cash, and both had structural inspection contingencies...not out of this world contingencies!

According to the rules we play by, the listing agent has the duty to present all offers that are received before the contract is fully executed. Regardless if the current offer is accepted, or if they are "in house" (listing agency procures the buyer) the listing agent must present any offer received. They work for the seller. They have a duty to get as much money for their seller as possible, without personal bias, until the time the contract is fully signed by both parties.

Both times we were told the seller had accepted the other offer, within 4 hours! Fine. Move on.

When the two properties came up as sold on our MLS hot sheet, I stared in shock at what I saw. The first sold by cash, "in house" at $13K under list price, or in other words, $16K below our offer. I cannot see the contingencies on our hot sheet, all I see is how it sold, by whom, and the closed price. The other sold for $75K under list price ($65K under our offer) cash, "in house".

A few questions:
How is this representing the seller? It's not, plain and simple! There is no way a seller would leave $65K on the table without at least considering the offer.

Did those agents even present our offer? Hard to tell, I would like to think they did, however I know of no seller that would at least not ask for a best and final offer from both parties being that the original offers appeared to be so low.

Do these small, local real estate companies not want to co-broke, and instead keep their deals in house? Bingo! They feel threatened by our big, national company, and tell their sellers "in order for us to stay alive you need to only accept offers from our agents." The easiest way to say this without saying this, is to not present our offers. The seller has no clue an offer came in, and the small real estate office can line their pockets with what should be our commissions.

Desperate sellers, or desperate agents?

-Josh Pratt