We survived! (For now)
While the world did not explode (or implode either) for real estate agents, as far as I can tell, this was one wacky week. (Read my post from a few weeks ago on the ticking of the expiration of the credit, and Benn Rosales’ post on the end of the credit. I agree wholeheartedly with Benn’s opinion, by the way.)
I personally didn’t have any last minute buyers running around in a total panic as April 30 approached. We had buyers who didn’t find the right house, and they’re okay with that. They’ll keep looking, but at their own pace. The tax credit was just icing on the cake, but not their main motivation for buying.
We did have a handful of buyers in the office who indicated they would not continue looking after April 30. I question their seriousness. They were mostly looking for “a steal” and if they found a true bargain, something too good to pass up, they’d buy it. If not, oh well. Are those the kinds of buyers ANY of us enjoy working with? Not me. I want someone who wants to move, and is motivated, for whatever reason. I don’t want permanent lookers trying to buy filet mignon on a hot dog budget.
Now, to get to the week’s strange stuff.
Wacky week in review
The weird stuff seemed to come from other agents, not so much from the buyers (okay, a little from the buyers).
We had several agents try to call in verbal offers. Office policy is to get all offers in writing (isn’t this Real Estate 101?). We tell agents who try this that we will communicate the message to seller, but that a verbal offer isn’t worth the paper it is (not) written on. It’s meaningless. No offer in writing, no deposit check, proof of financing, all terms and contingencies — no “acceptance” from seller.
Agents running out of time seemed to forget this basic rule. They begged, threatened and one screamed at me on Thursday that “Tomorrow is April 30, for God’s sake, can’t you bend your rules?”
No. Sorry. We will tell the seller about your buyer’s “offer” and advise that he doesn’t commit to “accepting” anything verbal. Put it in writing, with all supporting documents, if you’re serious.
“Buying” sight unseen
Another strange one called today at 4 pm with a verbal offer on a property she had never been inside. This “buyer’s agent” (How can you represent someone if you’re willing to put in an offer on a property you’ve never seen, the buyer has never seen, and in an area you are not familiar with? That’s another post.) said her out of town buyer would submit a verbal, and if the seller accepts THEN and only then will the buyer and the agent drive to my area to see the property. Oh, and the offer is contingent on the buyer liking the property.
Is it a full moon? Seriously. What planet are these people on? (1) Verbal offer is not acceptable and (2) How are you representing your buyer by this nonsense?
Half baked hasty contracts
Then there were the half-baked written offers hastily submitted. One had no terms, no proof of funds, no contingency info, and no date of settlement or date for seller’s reply. When asked for this info, agent said “Just fill in 30 days or something like that.”
Huh? Your buyer signed this half blank document and you want me to fill in what I want? Seriously? How about you do it right the first time then I’ll sit down with my seller and go over it.
I didn’t see a huge sales blitz this week. I have heard second-hand tales of agents submitting offers for multiple buyers today, running around and trying to get last minute signatures. But I didn’t see this personally.
The truth is most of my business is from the seller’s side. I represent far more sellers and landlords than buyers. So I wouldn’t necessarily be the agent running around with buyers in the car, trying to find the perfect house before the credit expired. But the agents in my office didn’t get frantic today, even the ones mainly representing buyers.
A soft summer?
A few sales this spring I think were to good buyers who would have bought in summer or fall, but pushed up their buying process faster to take advantage of the tax credit. The downside is those are sales we have simply pulled forward, into spring. That could make summer and maybe fall weaker than they would have been without the credit.
So now we go back to normal, whatever that is.
CC Licensed image courtesy of hitzelberger via Flickr.com.