Chris Griffith: Real estate buyers vs dreamers

CHRIS GRIFFITH

Whether it’s the well meaning acquaintance or just an overly involved neighbor, someone, somewhere in the neighborhood or complex is going to know when you’re preparing to put your real estate on the market and approach you with an offer.

There’s nothing like the idea of a property just about to hit the market to bring half cocked buyers out of the woodwork. The idea of “interest” in the property even before selling is exciting, isn’t it? The reality is that there is a slim chance that the buyer is going to work out.

People can certainly sell their real estate for sale by owner easily enough. There are many handshake deals at swimming pools especially in tight knit communities. The bigger challenge is getting the buyer do more than just talk a mean game about buying the property.

Selling real estate for sale by owner presents the same set of issues with qualifying a buyer than selling with a real estate agent presents. Anyone can want to buy real estate but do they qualify to purchase it and will they take action?

That well meaning buyer dreaming about helping you out of your real estate usually hasn’t been pre-qualified for a mortgage or produced some form of documentation that they’ve got the cash to close. Come to think of it, they haven’t done it with any of the other identical properties for sale within a stone’s throw, either.

Somewhere in the mix, the homeowner calls a real estate agent for professional advice and to feel out listing the home. They mention an exclusion of a neighbor or friend who “always wanted to buy the place” that just needs a few weeks to think about it.

How long does someone need to think about it when they’ve “always wanted to buy the place?” If they always wanted to buy the home, the only thing they should be thinking about is getting wiring instructions for their escrow deposit.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the clock is ticking. The buyer is still thinking about it and still hasn’t provided a tangible offer with a dollar sign in front of a pile of numbers, proof of funds or a mortgage pre-qualification. All the while, the pennies and dollars are trickling through the hour glass.

They’re thinking about it, risk free, on the homeowners tab. It could easily cost hundreds of dollars in taxes, homeowner association, utilities and mortgage expenses for just a few weeks of consideration for a big, huge maybe.

My advice to the last seller that had this situation was to call the interested party and let them know the price the property was being listed at and what price they would be willing to accept prior to listing.

Naturally, the buyers were in it to win it…if the property was priced about 40 percent less. They had heard through the grapevine that something else had sold at that discounted price. This passionate buyer was willing to move forward at a 40 percent discount based what turned out to be an unsubstantiated rumor.

Needless to say, the buyers were only dreamers and if the sellers fell for holding it while they took their time making a decision, what would it have cost them?

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Chris Griffith is a real estate agent at Downing-Frye Realty Inc. in Bonita Springs. If you have a question about local real estate or Bonita Springs, e-mail her at chris@LifeInBonitaSprings.com.

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