It can take concerted work to be a buyer #689

#689 in a series of true experiences in real estate

The woman on the phone sounded nearly heartbroken. “Oh no,” she said, “It’s really sold? No chance? It’s what I’ve been wanting. I have a house now but this is what I’ve been wanting. A friend in the neighborhood just told me it’s for sale and I called. Oh dear.”

We were having this conversation within an hour of our seller signing a contract to sell her house to one of several would-be buyers. From what our caller said, it appeared that she had not been actively looking to buy and probably did not have an agent. She might have needed to sell before buying. She had not been inside the house. Possibly had not even seen the outside. She was too late.

It can be quite a lot of concerted work to be a buyer. Of course, it depends. You might stumble on to the right house with little trouble. But you will need to be ready. In the Bay Area the procedures to buy are different from other areas. Mostly, houses are not first come, first served. Mostly, a house is shown to agents and to the public, widely exposed on Multiple Listing and Internet sites, and there is a date given when the seller will entertain an offer or offers.

Frequently, it is true for houses in the most sought after areas that more than one buyer makes an offer and bids a price higher than list price. We meet buyers all the time who have made many offers on different houses but lost.

Probably our caller was not aware of such proceedings. The buyers who had submitted offers earlier that day had all “walked this trail” before. They’d watched (some of them, maniacally) the Internet for new listings in areas where they wished to live (for weeks or months). They’d gone to open houses. They were in close contact with their chosen, local-experienced agent. They had lined up financing and submitted all paperwork to a loan broker, one their agent recognizes as capable and trustworthy.

When disclosures were available for a house they were interested in (including, always, our listings) they read them and they spent the time, went to the trouble of making their offer to buy, meticulously thought out.

A seller seldom chooses an offer solely on price. There are other important aspects of an offer. One is educated intent. How ready, how willing is the buyer? Is the buyer aware already of every aspect and imperfection of the house that it is possible to know? The school his or her child would attend? The cost of re-roofing?

Have the buyer and agent a plan for proceeding to success? Who will be doing the buyer’s inspections and how soon will that happen? Is money from family or elsewhere available now? How, in other words, can the buyer assure the seller that the sale, as presented in the contract, will smoothly occur?

Your agent must be an experienced, smart, with-it person, a known quantity in this immediate area. It isn’t going to work to have your cousin from Southern California, who has a license, write an offer for you. There are just too many immediately-local things to know about any house. Examples: Is there a creek? Are there local ordinances that require work be done when a house sells? Has your agent been inside the comps? Followed this neighborhood’s sales?

There are numerous considerations to be made before you make an offer to buy. Your head will be swimming. If you are in competition with other buyers, to win you will want strong and clear intent communicated plainly, every possible piece of knowledge up front, best price that makes sense for you, speed! and good agent, good loan broker, good title company, good inspector – your team.

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