What is an offer? Such a simple question- but one that seems to have a number of different answers. So which one is correct? The answer may well be "It depends".
In managing a number of properties over the years, I've given the pitiful-sounding "it depends" answer more times than I'll ever be able to count. The response has bounced off the tip of my tongue many a time in dealing with my owners- with the "Do we have a lot of interest in my home?" question being a prime example.
The "interest" question is tough to answer, as you don't want to spout off a ton of stats that (while true) may get an owner's hopes up too high- and have them calling you every day asking why none of the "interested" parties have become tenants. Likewise, you don't want to tell an owner that the sounds of nearby crickets are tough to handle and you just wish you'd get a call on their property so your phone would ring one danged time. You have to have balance.
"Interest" to me means that someone has called about a property, made an appointment to see it (and kept it!), liked it a lot and submitted an application. "Interest" to me has never been a random call from someone that just barely recollects what part of town a property's in and wants to know if the owner would accept his German Shepherd. "Interest" has never been an inquiry about my $1,800/mo property where the caller wants to know if the owner would take $1,200/mo, and they'd only pay that if the owner threw in some type of move-in special.
But should it be? Should these things be "interest", and are these requests offers? Well, that depends. I've wanted a completed application on some folks as a gauge of their interest because it lets me do a great job towards upholding the fiduciary trust that owners have placed in me. Someone truly "interested" in a place will apply for it (or at least look at it!), while a time-waster won't. I feel my owners appreciate my discussing qualified folks with them- and that they'd view me in a negative light if I spent a great deal of time running down lists of everyone who's called and asked crazy questions.
But some have differing opinions- including folks in the legal community. Some say "an offer is an offer" whether written or verbal, crazy or sane. "An offer is an offer" whether the one making the offer is drunk or sober. And "an offer is an offer" regardless of the conditions. If someone asks about getting a property at 1/2 the marketed rent, call your owner and ask. If someone asks if an owner will just let them stay in the house for free because they're cool folks, call your owner and run it by 'em.
I firmly believe in taking "offers" to my owners. But I also believe that my owners hired me to do a job for them- and part of that job involves using my expertise and common sense to avoid calling them to discuss faux prospects' pipe dreams.
Anyone care to offer their thoughts?