Thursday, November 1, 2007

Its Not Nice to Tease

A house came on the market last week that hubby and I were keenly interested in. Its listed for $439k currently and according to ZipRealty had sold on 5/28/04 for $338,500.

The only words in the description are "Bring all offers!!!"

So here hubby and I figured this gave us a license to put in a reasonable offer at around $350,000 (our estimate after a drive by). We had our agent call to get the scoop and see if it had been updated. I wanted to see if my hunch was correct, that it was bought cheap and fixed up.

The seller's agent informs our agent that they aren't considering any offers below $400k! I think they should revise their description.


Sippn said...

So call their bluff!

watchingthebubble said...

I would have told the seller's agent, "Here's my number and you know my offer. Call me when your client comes to his or her senses, assuming I haven't found a better bargain by then."

What I don't get are those folks (and I know some) who think that if they wait a few years, prices are going to rebound back to where they were in 2005 or 2006. Hogwash! Those days are past and are unlikely to return anytime soon. If you missed out on the top of the market, you simply missed out. And you're free to ride the market down if you like, but don't expect to ride it back up anytime soon.

Paul said...

Are you suggesting that agents sometimes "fudge" reality? LOL! It doesn't say they will consider all offers, only that you can 'bring all offers.' And in six months, maybe they will beg you for your offer.

A couple of agents in my area are notorious (in my opinion), for including pictures in the MLS that have no relationship whatsoever with the listed property, ie., views that you can only see from a neighboring street, and the like.

I am fortunate to have an agent that I trust completely. Unlike many who have gone back to working at Home Depot, she has been with me for almost 20 years.

G Spot1 said...

The LA Times blog had a piece about "Bring all offers" courtesy of one of the So Cal real estate bloggers. I can't say it any better so I'll steal it:

"I've taken the bait and made some rookie mistakes in my house hunt (as y'all know). The bait for Rookie Mistake Numero Uno can be found in tons of MLS descriptions, it reads: "All offers considered" or "Bring all offers." I naively thought this meant: "Seller is willing to negotiate." Ha ha ha! Nothing could be further from the truth. More than once, I was the dummy that that took the bait and submitted an offer right away only to get iced for weeks on end while the listing agent attempted to drum up other bids using my offer as the lure. "I already have one offer, this property is going to move fast!" the listing agent no doubt crowed at every other prospective buyer.

And that statement is, of course, the bait for Rookie Mistake Numero Dos. I thought that "I already have one offer, this property is going to move fast!" meant the house was virtually sold. Yeah, not so much. If the seller actually liked the offer, he'd be in escrow not acting like a barker on the carnival fairway. After getting sucked into this bidding war game a couple of times, I flat out refused to participate. "Oh, you already have an offer in? Okay. Well, I guess it's not the house for me." There's always another house, especially these days."

Westparker said...

Call their bluff and be patient. What's happening in AZ will soon be happening in Sacto.

Mike said...

AB, I mentioned this on Sac Landing blog before but since you posted about your lowball offer attempt I will raise the idea again.

Similar to your monthly "Good Buy" postings. How about creating "Lowball Offers" section where people can post their experience of low ball offers and whether it got accepted or rejected. That would be very helpful for some of us that are looking for good deals right now but want to have an idea of how much of a low ball offer to make.

Maybe the posting can show asking price, price offered, and price accepted. Furthermore, details of house (sq ft,stories,garage), location, development, new or resale, etc.

What do you think?

Buying Time said...

GSpot1 - Great find!

Mike - I think its a fantastic idea. I almost offered on Lander's blog to host it here, but wanted to give him first crack at it. After all, I owe my obession to him and Max, so I don't want to steal their thunder.

Great timing too, since its the beginning of the month!

Gwynster said...


Normally I pull out the Treo and run the tables and show the agent what I'm willing to offer. They usually tell me the seller would never consider it which leaves me reminding them that they have to present it whether they think the seller will bite or not.

I pull out the checkbook and tap my foot for effect too. They hate that bwhahaha.

Patient Renter said...

gspot: Kate is great. I love her blog.

"I pull out the checkbook and tap my foot for effect too. They hate that bwhahaha."

Hahahaha. I would love to see this.

G Spot1 said...

Gotta love Kate in the Valley. I read that after having a similar experience with a lowball offer, and she just stated the problem perfectly. We offered 10-11% below list price, and the seller countered with a price about 4% lower, with his agent saying they had "a lot of interest" with showings for the upcoming weekend. I'm sure she shopped our offer (without saying what it was). Fell right into that trap (although so did our agent....)

Of course, on Monday morning they called our agent (I thought it would be at least until Tuesday) and dropped their price another 1%. We came up a bit but were still too far apart. I'm thankful to this seller because I would have overpaid.

If sellers really wanted you to "bring all offers" they would just list lower. If they were really happy with an offer they were shopping, they would accept it.

I would love to hear any advice you all have with low ball offers generally (not just with builders). From my experiences, I've basically decided next time not to make any offers unless list price is within at most 5% of what I'm willing to pay, then make a best offer along with the info and comps we used to come up with that price. I think coming in more than 5% under just pisses off the seller, not to mention that anyone more than 5% away from a reasonable price is unrealistic anyway.

Buying Time said...

I still like the buyers club idea. After a month on the market, two people can submit offers around $300k and $320k, then we can come in looking very tempting at $350k.

In general, if I am really interested in a property, I have my agent feel out the sellers agent (like in this case). I don't want to piss off the sellers and insult them. At the same time, I don't want to go through the futile gesture of a formal offer they won't accept.

Paul said...

There is a way to deal with sellers who are not genuinely interested in a lower offer. Some I know include the following in their contracts to purchase (of course, only if it's true) "Buyer is concurrently making offers to purchase other real property. This offer is only one of the offers being made by Buyer. Notwithstanding the submission of multiple offers, Buyer intends to only purchase one property at this time. Therefore, Buyer’s receipt of a duly signed acceptance of another offer before Buyer personally (not Buyer’s agent, if any) receives Seller’s written Acceptance of this offer, shall be deemed as a withdrawal of this offer and Buyer’s deposit will be returned to Buyer. In such event, Buyer will attempt to inform Seller of said withdrawal as soon as reasonably practicable."

G Spot1 said...

Paul, that's not a bad idea. Good way to creat some urgency.

If the buyer isn't for sure making other offers, I think you could modify the language by saying buyer "may" make other offers so you aren't misrepresenting anything. The main thing is that since this would be a modification to the form purchase and sale contract, it would catch their attention, even if the buyer hasn't actually made other offers (yet).