Has this ever happened to you?

Real Estate Agent with Azalea Realty 01483292

You have a listing and an agent shows it, all very normal, you call the agent for some feedback and they say, "My buyers love it, it's great, I'm writing an offer for them!"

It only takes one time to learn that you NEVER say ANYTHING to you Sellers about the offer that is coming in.  You can give them feedback, but I never say a word about an offer until I have it in my hands.

Well, this happened recently, I received assurances from the agent that an offer was coming.  Now, I'm an upbeat, optimistic person, but I wasn't holding my breath.  

where's my offer?

Two days later I called saying, "Where's that offer you were writing?" 

"Oh, yeah, I meant to call you, they changed their minds..."

I guess the Realtor couldn't read her clients too well.

When I show a property that my client really likes and they tell me they want to write an offer, I don't tell the other agent until they have signed the paper.  There's nothing that a threat of an offer can do to help a buyer get into contract on a home.  It doesn't do anyone any good...

I realize that buyers change their minds all of the time, buying a home is a scary thing for people, the largest purchase many will make in their lives.  That's why I believe that the "Big Promise" should be avoided at all costs. 


Comments (157)

Jim Ludes
RE/MAX Top Properties - Coal City, IL
Grundy/Will County, IL REALTOR

Great post! Plenty of agent friends that make this mistake....some even multiple times. I don't breathe a word to anyone until I have a contract sitting in my hand.

Jan 14, 2010 12:25 AM
Home Loan Search.Online
Home Loan Search Online - Newnan, GA

I've seen a couple of deals fall through lately on reo's because of this exact thing. A couple of agents said an offer is coming and they were beaten out at the last minute by a "surprise" offer. 

Jan 14, 2010 12:26 AM
Dianne Bartlett
Brightside Realty, LLC - Austin, TX

Yep, Andy.  This one used to burn me a lot.  It's turned me into a huge skeptic.  Now, I never breathe a word to the seller until the offer is in hand.

Jan 14, 2010 01:03 AM
Bernice Dubon
RE/MAX First 403-607-9117 - Calgary, AB
Calgary Alberta Realtor

Yep you're right.  It looks like many agents have learned this lesson the hard way. 

Jan 14, 2010 02:24 AM
Lora "Leah" Stern 914-772-4528
Coldwell Banker, 170 N Main Street, New City NY 10956 - New City, NY
Real Estate Salesperson

This kind of thing will never happen to you twice.  After the first time you learn to give feedback only and reserve talk about an offer after you have one in hand.

Jan 14, 2010 02:49 AM
Jason Crawford, MBA
PartnerFirst Real Estate Network & Millenia Real Estate - Rancho Cucamonga, CA

VERY TRUE! I try to practice the same philosophy of not mentioning a word until the offer is in hand. Or use words such as possibly or maybe, but you never know. Nothing worse than getting that call from your seller wanting to know where the offer is. Everyone is anxious, but best to have it in hand FIRST!

Jan 14, 2010 03:06 AM
Amy Reed
Allison James Estates and Homes - Durham, NC

Communication is key.  That agent could just have added ONE word and the whole situation becomes more clear. 


My buyers love it, it's great, I'm probably writing an offer for them!


Jan 14, 2010 03:25 AM
Andrew Jones
Horizon Pacific Realty - Los Angeles, CA
LA Beach Cities Homes 310-399-3740

Hi Andy, It ain't over till' it's over on paper. Talk is cheap.

Jan 14, 2010 05:15 AM
Ann Cordes
Century 21 Randall Morris and Associates, Waco - Waco, TX
Home Ownership is Not a Distant Dream

Andy, I agree 100%. I also try never to negotiate verbally. I want all offers/counteroffers in writing. That way there is none of the "I never said that game". 

Jan 14, 2010 06:39 AM
Barbie Burke
Respect Realty - Tempe, AZ

That is a lesson every agent learns real fast when your seller is so excited and you feel like a nerd for ever mentioning it to them.  I am a person with a lot of extra energy so I have learned to, "Never say boo boo when boo will do". 

Jan 14, 2010 06:55 AM
Sharon Senger
tcDocs - Seattle, WA
Licensed Transaction Coordinator


This is such great advice until you have the signed Purchase and Sale in your hands you have no offer.


Jan 14, 2010 07:08 AM
Paul C. Wilkinson
CENTURY 21 Preferred - Menifee, CA
GRI, REALTOR -Menifee, Murrieta, Temecula - (951)

I hear that from buyer agents all the time, it's like a stalling technique they are using or something, but I tell them like I do everyone else, that unless I have it in my hand it doesn't exist.  It also helps from keeping the seller's getting all worked up and excited over nothing.

Jan 14, 2010 07:21 AM
Li Read
Sea to Sky Premier Properties (Salt Spring) - Salt Spring Island, BC
Caring expertise...knowledge for you!

I did learn this, too, the "hard way".    Desire has to land on the contract, and be signed into reality!

Jan 14, 2010 09:28 AM
Sonya Loose
Modern Realty - Beaverton, MI
Helping Buyers & Sellers of Waterfront Property

I love this post and it is a good thing to keep in mind for a number of reasons.  The major one being like Len said.  Why would you "tip off" a sellers agent like that?  There is an agent in the office I work in that says he "sold" another one on the day he just writes an offer.  I always laugh and shake my head....WHY?

Jan 14, 2010 09:37 AM
MichelleCherie Carr Crowe .Just Call. 408-252-8900
Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty - San Jose, CA
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years

My mother had a great saying, "The only offer that counts is the written one in my hands today."  BTW, yes, I've had this happen a few times. Excitement doesn't always translate into a written offer.

Jan 14, 2010 07:20 PM
Ty Lacroix
Envelope Real Estate Brokerage Inc - London, ON

Andy, that happened to me a few times and I don't say a thing untill an offer is presented


Jan 16, 2010 01:52 AM
Dana Devine
Charles Rutenberg Realty - Apollo Beach, FL

EXCELLENT ADVISE...and i  do mean advise not opinion

Jan 17, 2010 07:47 AM
Wayne B. Pruner
Oregon First - Tigard, OR
Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI

I'm with you Andy. Selling one's home is so emotional. In an attempt to level the emotional roller coaster, I almost never disclose a potential offer to my Seller

Jan 19, 2010 10:30 AM
Beverly of Bev & Bob Meaux
Keller Williams Suburban Realty - West Orange, NJ
Where Buying & Selling Works

Unfortunately agents get excited and happy so they rush to tell the listing agent. Most of the time they truly believe an offer is going to be written. Then the buyer ponders more and changes his/her mind. The problem is, if the agent is going to have a big mouth and say something, they should have the professionalism to call back and say "whoops".

Jan 23, 2010 01:18 PM
Jirius Isaac
Isaac Real Estate &TriStar Mortgage - Kenmore, WA
Real Estate & loans in Kenmore, WA

So true, this just happened to me 10 days ago and still no offer.  Now they are thinking about it!

Jan 24, 2010 07:02 AM