Real Estate Trends & Advice

Simple Offers Aren’t So Simple

Recently I received a written note in an email from a potential buyer concerning their desire to purchase a property that I had listed. They emailed me their “offer” which contained about 3 sentences in total. I suggested to them that I could present their offer, but that we would need to follow up with additional official documents that would make a legally binding contract. They were very anxious and wanted a quick response from the seller. The simple email offer was vague at best and only contained price and a quick closing date and one contingency. It also specified that it was to be an “as is” sale. The “as is” statement was to assure the seller that they didn’t have to do anything, and they could just walk away with money in hand.

After receiving the affirmative nod from the seller, I crafted an official purchase and sale document which buyer and seller promptly signed. Then the buyer started asking questions and insisted on answers. Such things as “What is the condition of the title and the well and the septic and the fencing etc”. The seller quickly became wearied by this barrage of inquiry, because they had not expected this and had not agreed to any such process. In fact, the only reason they accepted the lowball offer was because there would be none of the normal process of push and pull that is common in a home inspection and appraisal process.

I recently brokered another transaction in which the buyer and seller had already negotiated a “simple” offer and they needed me in the consultation capacity. When I started down the long list of important items that should be understood and negotiated, they realized they had just scratched the surface when they had first agreed to agree. Keep in mind that there is really never a simple offer or simple transaction. It may seem that way on the surface, but there are many items of concern for both parties that should be addressed. Even though the buyers in the first example thought it could be as simple as their 3 sentence offer, they soon realized that they had gotten the cart before the horse and had little recourse to change or back out of the offer.

In today’s real estate world the average “simple offer” is written on about 25-28 pages. What do you need to say that takes 28 pages? A lot! Purchasing real estate is not as simple as most people think. You should consult with a professional so that your simple offer doesn’t turn into a complex nightmare.

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Jim Palmer, Jr.

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