“Recently received 15 offers on a listing. How many would you guess were ready-to-sign/accept and mistake free? ZERO”
That was a recent post by a colleague of mine on an Austin real estate broker forum that I monitor. Before you dismiss it as audacious, know that fifteen offers, while definitely a high number, is not all that unrealistic in certain areas – Southwest Austin in particular.
The real issue here is not necessarily the volume of offers but that in his professional opinion, not one of the fifteen offers received on the property was drafted in a way that his client could execute as-is. Most of the offers, understandably, were quite strong in terms of price and the problem(s) stemmed from typographical errors, misspelled names, glaring omissions, and timelines that were way out of whack or unreasonable. There is a certain precision needed for a successful real estate contract and as buyer’s agents start to suffer “offer-fatigue” in this market, that precision is lacking.
Anyone who tells you that the market we are experiencing in Austin real estate is “easy,” is delusional. Tell that to the buyer who is competing against double digit offers on an attractive listing. Tell that to the seller dealing with ‘panicked’ buyers who feel they might be overpaying, buyers who may be offering on numerous properties just hoping to find one that sticks. Tell that to the seller relying on a cash buyer who backs out last minute because the risk of losing a deposit stings less than buying a property they don’t like as well as one that just came on the market two blocks over. Mix in a healthy dose of Realtors who are somewhat beaten down by the process of submitting offer after offer after offer with no luck. No, a seller’s market is not a cake walk by any means.
So what can you do to ensure that your transaction is as bullet proof as possible? I’ve written at length about drafting an attractive offer from a buyer’s perspective, so I wont go into great detail on mechanics in this article.
Suffice it to say buyers need to be fully prepared to act decisively. There will be no leniency from a seller for lack of documentation, for a poorly written first offer, or expectation of a drawn out option or escrow period. Buyers shouldn’t plan on making offer #1 their best, knowing they’re likely up against 1, 2 or ten other buyers – one of them likely cash. Buyer’s agents should open dialogue with the listing agent early and often to have a firm grasp on the terms (timelines & logistics mainly) the seller is hoping to see in an ideal offer and make a conscious effort to address those concerns. The buyer’s lender should call the listing agent and vouch for the buyer’s financial qualifications – it goes a long way. A personal cover letter never hurts either. Believe it or not, even in this market, some sellers still make their decision emotionally and some stories do resonate. Finally, if at all possible, sell before you buy.
Sellers should make sure their listing representative is doing his/her homework on the buyer and the buyer’s agent.
How well is the buyer qualified, how long have they been looking, what are their ultimate expectations? What kind of reputation does the buyer’s agent have in regards to closing transactions and proactively advising his or her clients? This can be really tough to decipher with limited information and on a tight timeline but the ultimate goal is to pick the offer/buyer that has the best chance of getting to the finish line on time. Listing agents should be forthright and effectively communicate the terms the seller wants to see in any offer. All necessary supporting documentation should be attached to MLS (disclosures, surveys, notices etc..) so that buyer’s and their agents are fully informed. Everyone should be working toward the singular goal of seamless contract execution.
All of this could happen and the deal might still fall through. It wouldn’t be the first time and it won’t be the last.
How I Can Help You – I like to think that one of my biggest strengths, as a trusted real estate advisor is my attention to detail. I double cross every ‘T’ and make sure every “I” has a bold dot. In addition, I work with a fantastic contract to closing coordinator who acts as my second set of eyes and ears. And while we are operating under the same pressures and restraints as every other agent-team in Austin, we have put in place specific systems and procedures to make the buying and selling process as bullet-proof as possible. We’d love to go to work for you. Check out our client services at Sarah Williams of ExP Realty Austin