Over the years I’ve conducted hundreds of consultations for buyers & sellers. Once in a long while you have those “lightning in a bottle” situations where you’re so excited for your clients (and maybe a little envious because you’d love to trade places). I’ve worked with roughly 10 families in the last 3 years from the same church group (and I’m not even a member of their church) & thankfully, yet again they were referring me to another young couple looking to purchase their 1st home.
We discussed the unique circumstance, challenges, and procedures for how we’d approach finding the right home for them. We always start with “What criteria does your ideal home have? And if something had to be sacrificed which pieces of criteria would need to be non-negotiable?”. As I advise all of my potential clients, before we meet I’d like to have you pre-approved or at the very least have you talking with lenders and about to be pre-approved (always done prior to ever going to see properties……this situation was the perfect example of this – because without a pre-approval letter or proof of funds you can’t submit an offer).
We’ll call them Tom & Betty for the sake of privacy, came in to my office for a 1 pm buyer consultation. After discussing their criteria, timeline, the types of seller scenarios we commonly run into (bank owned, short sale, and traditional resale), search process, basic expectations, etc. I told them we’d truly be looking for a needle in a haystack that we’d have to jump on immediately if/when it hit the market to more than likely compete in a multiple-offer highest & best situation that can occur when banks release the occasionally great foreclosure at an extremely low price…..basically creating a bidding war similar to a shark feeding frenzy because someone just dropped blood in the water.
As is standard practice we ran a preliminary search for homes meeting their criteria at the end of the consultation, more or less to show how the MLS system works and what to pay attention to when viewing listings online initially. And then it happened…..BAM – the needle in the haystack had literally hit the market the evening before and just come through on the FMLS. We discussed all of their criteria & my knowledge of the properties in the area as well as what I anticipated the listing agent to tell me when calling to confirm availability. We called the listing agent (I had it on speaker phone just so the buyers could hear what she had to say & know I wasn’t b.s.ing them.) We were informed there were multiple offers & there was now a highest & best deadline of 4 pm today……we basically had less than 2 hours to finish the pre-approval, go view the home, and potentially write an offer on the type of home that I wasn’t sure we’d see again for another 6-12 months.
Tom, Betty, & I went to view the foreclosure – a 2 story Charleston style home with all the bells and whistles of newer construction – granite counters, stainless steel appliances, hardwoods, etc. - along with upgrades including surround sound – previously sold in the high 200’s was now on the market for 90k. I’ve viewed possibly thousands of foreclosures of the years…..this one left me completely shocked. Only 1 other foreclosure I’d ever walked into looked as well taken care of & functioning properly with all utilities still on – that property had been over a million dollars. Not only was the interior in pristine condition, nothing was vandalized on the exterior (stealing a/c condensers on vacant homes is a very common trend at all price points around the city….even the nicest well-established historic districts with million dollar homes fall victim to this practice.
I let Tom & Betty know that whether we looked at 5 more today or for another 5-6 months I expected every home to fall short of their expectations because the bar had just been set ridiculously high & nothing would compare. Tom & Betty went by another home in the area that was considered a “comparable” just to gain a bit more perspective on what to expect, and it further solidified ---we’d found the needle in the haystack on the very 1st home….again, this had never happened with any of my buyers previously yet it was WAY TOO GOOD TO PASS UP.
We went back to my office – reviewed the comps once again, they saw for themselves what others had recently paid for homes in ranging in the level of repair needed to make the homes livable on the same street and how this was light-years ahead. It also didn’t hurt for them to have friends who live in the area come by to look at the property…virtually all of them fell in love with the home instantly as well & validated their amazement at the condition of the property.
All of this happened with 4 hours – that’s right:
Buyer Consultation/Preliminary Search Established
Viewing of the ideal home for their specific criteria
Writing an offer to participate in a multiple offer highest & best situation
This all took place on late in the week & the Buyers had to sweat it out over the weekend waiting to hear back….yet that gave them more time to process the transaction and get comfortable with the decision to submit an offer. In these REO multiple offer situations I stress that there’s no harm in submitting an offer – it can be withdrawn if you later decide to pass on the opportunity (prior to it being signed off by both parties & actually going binding), and we still have a due diligence period for the home to be inspected & appraised….which is another time period where we can basically pull the rip chord & eject ….get the heck out of the deal and have your earnest money returned.
Thankfully, we received the great news that they’d won the multiple offer scenario with a bid of 95.2k & 3 % seller cc’s included……they now had a mortgage payment on a 3/2.5 Charleston Style home with an attached 2 car garage for less than the 2 bedroom condo they’d previously been renting.
This was definitely Lightning In A Bottle as I’ve never seen a home this immaculate as a foreclosure, nor have I ever gone from consultation to contract in less than four hours……most people spend more time in a car dealership than Tom & Betty had to spend deciding/negotiating their home purchase. The awesome bonus is the fact that Tom & Betty specifically chose this neighborhood so they could support the children of the neighborhood by participating in afterschool & weekend programs.
This was truly a win-win-win scenario & I’m fortunate to have been a part of making their dreams a reality while they in turn help support the dreams of numerous children.
I can’t promise to capture more Lightning In A Bottle, yet I know this wasn’t a matter of luck – it’s about the preparation & being ready/willing/able to act when opportunity presents itself (and knowing what is truly an excellent opportunity). With years of experience in working the foreclosure market & statistical analysis of neighborhoods – I’m able to identify the inventory that truly will “fly off the shelves” and help my clients help fulfill their goals by ensuring they have the best chance win.
If you or someone you know would benefit from this type of service – please feel free to email or call me & it will be my pleasure to schedule a consultation….who knows, you may just write an offer the same day…we’ll just have to find out.
Call Mike for Results You’ll Like!
Real Estate Consultant
Keller Williams Realty Atlanta Midtown