I was reading Jana Coles post Technology, Yes, but always Verify and it occurred to me how many Pasadena agents still continue to fax over offers when representing their buyers.
When I started my career in real estate, I was taught to always present my buyers offer in person to the Listing Agent. Unfortunately, over the last several years, with the market in Pasadena, California going through the roof, many Listing Agents would not allow presentation of the offer in person. Especially, with multiple offers, where we sometimes get 15 to 20 offers at a time, it would make going through the presentations very time consuming.
Since I represent many sellers in Pasadena and surrounding cities, I have always been amazed by the lack of care that Buyers Agents show to their clients.
Half the time, an offer would arrive without even a phone call from the agent.
The other half, the agent would call me, ask most, if not all of the right questions, and then knowing that it is a mutliple offer situation, still submit a very badly and sloppily written offer.
In any case, this post is not about how to write an offer. Its about how to SUBMIT an offer.
Now, to me, this is common sensical. When I represent buyers, I have to ensure that I not only sell my buyers to the seller, but I sell myself to the other agent.
At a minimum, this is what I would do:
Prior to writing the Offer:
- Call the Listing Agent to introduce myself and ask about the property: Is the home still available? Did any offers come in? When will the offers be reviewed? What is the seller looking for in terms of escrow length? Where is the seller going to? Do they have a new home lined up? Are there certain providers that the seller and the agent are more comfortable working with or already have a relationship with? I always ask for any additional information that the Listing Agent thinks I should have.
- Get together with my buyer to strategize on the best way to structure the offer. Agents, please listen carefully, the offer is NOT ONLY ABOUT THE PRICE! Terms are very, very important! How long should the contingency period be? Escrow period? Do we need a loan or appraisal contingency? How do we come up with the price? How much does my buyer want the property? THERE ARE SO MANY DIFFERENT WAYS TO MAKE MY BUYERS OFFER STAND OUT FROM THE REST OF THE PACK!
Okay the offer is written, now what?
- I always recommend for the buyer to write an introduction letter to the seller. In this letter, the buyer has an opportunity to talk about themselves and why they like and want to live in the house. REMEMBER, A LOT OF SELLERS ARE ATTACHED TO THEIR HOME. They have many, many memories there. They want to have someone buy the home who will continue to love it as they did. And, if you get a seller that doesnt really care about who the buyer is, the letter will not hurt our position.
- I write a cover letter to the agent summarizing all the critical terms of the contract: price, down payment, earnest money deposit, escrow term, contingency periods, providers (escrow, title, home warranty)
- Attach a well written, PRE-APPROVAL letter from a respected lender. Make sure that the lender is aware that an offer is being presented. All good listing agents WILL CALL the lender to ensure the information is accurate and to ask additional questions.
- I make THREE copies of the contract. 1 copy for the Listing Agent, 1 copy for the Seller and an extra copy for the Transaction Coordinator or assistant. I usually put a post it note on each copy identifying who its for.
- I package the offer in a company folder with my business card. I put my cover letter on top, followed by the buyers letter to the home owner and the preapproval letter.
- The folder is then placed in an envelope and personally delivered to the listing agent. Call the agent first
- If the agent is not available and I had to drop the offer off at the listing agents office, I would call to ensure that the listing agent knows the offer is there waiting for them.
I cant tell you how many times, this simple presentation was able to separate me and my clients from the rest. I can attribute at least three offers that were accepted over the last four months specifically due to the way they were presented.
Remember our actions speak for themselves. Take the time to professionally package an offer the way you would want to receive one and GOOD LUCK!
Call me at 626-629-8439 if you have any real estate questions.