Well it looks like 2010 is proving to be an interesting year in real estate... I've been learning a lot and having many interesting experiences.
First and possibly most important is that email is not always an effective means of communication, nor is the automatic feedback email system that many companies have in place to provide showing feedback. Apparently another realtor had provided feedback through the system that their buyer was going to make an offer on a property and I never received it. 2 days later I received the offer by fax and email with no idea that it was coming and the seller had already accepted an offer. Most important lesson is pick up the phone and call!
Speaking of picking up the phone... I wrote and submitted an offer on a property for a buyer by email a few months ago. I spoke to the listing agent by phone and let her know it was coming. I called her immediately after I sent it to make sure she knew it had been sent and asked her to let me know if she didn't receive it. 3 days went by and we hadn't heard anything so I followed up by phone again. She acted confused and said she never received it. Really? Did you forget that we spoke to each other about it?
There is not an enforceable "contract" until all parties in the transaction have signed and initialed the original written contract. I learned this lesson earlier in my career when a seller withdrew their verbal acceptance of my buyer's offer before the buyer and I had a chance to meet to initial the changes we had negotiated verbally. This rule also came into play a few weeks ago. Another agent did not have the buyer sign and initial a contract for over 2 weeks... in the meantime we received another offer on the house which the seller accepted.
Just because you show someone a house, get them pre-approved, and submit an offer on their behalf does not mean that they will continue to cooperate and participate with you. I had a buyer write an offer on a bank owned house and then disappear on me after the bank accepted the offer.
There seems to be a "mad" rush to see a house immediately after the buyer drives by it. I've had a few phone calls recently from people who would like to see this house in the next hour, or in the next couple of hours. Having a baby and needing a sitter really puts a damper on being able to just rush out.
Buyers become disappointed when they make an offer that is higher than the list price and then the house appraises for about 25,000 under the list price. Even though the seller would agree to sell it at the lower price in their eyes it isn't a good deal anymore. Really? Who doesn't like a sale???
Short sale listings are increasing by the day. Some banks are quick to respond to offers and some aren't.
Mortgage lending is changing by the day. You have a pre-approved buyer and take them out looking at 20 houses, they make an offer on a house and you call the lender only to find out that things have changed and the buyer is no longer approved.