Chris Griffith: All offers just aren’t the Justin Bieber of real estate offers

CHRIS GRIFFITH

Little would anyone imagine that this winter there would be a market so brisk that we’d be facing multiple offer scenarios. Multiple offers as in someone besides you, the savvy buyer, has decided to place a purchase offer on the same piece of genuine Florida real estate.

What you need to know most about the current market in Southwest Florida is that besides experiencing low prices, we’ve worked our way through a massive chunk of surplus inventory and a record number of units are being sold.

If you’ve waited to buy until this winter, you weren’t the only consumer to pony up and take the plunge. The buyers have arrived in mass; especially in the entry level priced real estate and they’re scrambling to get their foot in the door.

The end result of this market swing has produced multiple offer scenarios and it has become painfully clear that, well, some of the agents are either out of practice or they aren’t trying hard enough.

If you’re a consumer, hopefully you’ve chosen a real estate agent that is going to find out, before the offer is placed, if there are other offers on the property or if any are expected. Maybe your agent will even find out some interesting information about the property and its current owners to prepare an offer which provides terms making the offer more attractive, because it’s not always about the price.

In the last few weeks I’ve experienced a few multiple offer scenarios and the agents simply sent over their offer. Sometimes they even gave me a call to let me know it was on the way. That’s it — crickets.

There were no qualifying questions about when the sellers might be more comfortable closing, for example. They just stabbed in the dark that the day they picked wasn’t on a week that their only child was getting married in Jamaica. One offer presumed a cash deal closing in two weeks would be the Justin Bieber of real estate offers when the sellers hadn’t even found their next place to move into.

Another offer actually included a blank response time. The time for the seller to respond to the offer, to either accept it, deny it or counter the offer, was essentially limitless and was treated as such during the seller’s negotiations with the other offers.

One buyer’s agent attempted to explain to me that the sellers had to honor them as “first position” because they got the offer in first. No, they don’t. Offers being spit out of a fax machine aren’t racing to a photo finish at Churchill Downs. It’s an offer and all offers go to the seller for consideration in a timely fashion, given that there is a deadline in which to respond, of course.

What it comes down to in a simmering market is win, place or show. Who wins the contract in a multiple offer scenario and what efforts were made in preparation to win it?

Your agent investing or being directed by you to invest five or 10 minutes of homework before the offer is written or might sway the seller’s decision in your favor. It also wouldn’t hurt for them to give a small presentation of the contract.

It certainly beats the heck out of quietly e-mailing over a half-planned offer and crossing your fingers that the offer will be accepted.

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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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