Here's What Happens When You Hesitate to Buy That Short Sale

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Gold DRE #00697006

Should I Buy That Short Sale?I'm finding that buyers in Sacramento right now see no urgency in writing an offer. Doesn't matter whether the home is a short sale or a regular sale, buyers are acting as though they have all the time in the world. It's true that we have more inventory in Sacramento than a year ago, and that number is growing, so there are plenty of choices. But the unsung tragedy in real estate is as soon as you want to buy a home, so does another buyer. And the likelihood is it will be the same home.

Don't ask me how or why this happens; I don't really know. All I know is it happens. A lot. That home can sit on the market for 6 months, looking all lonely and forlorn, but the minute a suitor appears on the doorstep, another will pop up, clutching a bouquet of roses. On guard! Dual! Multiple offers! And the second buyer won't believe his agent, "Aw, come on, you're making this up," he'll accuse. "There can't be another offer." But there can be and there is.

Had it happen twice this week. A buyer viewed the property 2 or 3 times with his agent. Couldn't make up his mind. Meanwhile, another buyer swooped in, wrote a full-price offer and snatched that home away. Now, it's possible in a short sale for a seller to accept a back-up offer and kick out the first buyer. Sellers can cancel short sales. This particular seller considered it. But the second buyer was still in no rush.

By the time the second buyer came around, it was too late. Moreover, the buyer -- in frustration or confusion, hard to say which -- approached the seller directly and begged on bended knee, offering up the biggest sparkling rock you ever laid eyes on. Tried to cut out his agent and go around the listing agent. That's a sure-fired recipe for disaster. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. If the guy was so desperate to buy that short sale, he should have written an offer right after he viewed it the first time. After all, it's not like that short sale is gonna close escrow anytime soon. There's plenty of time for questions and answers.

In the second transaction, we received an offer last week and the seller made a small counter. The counter offer wasn't about price. We sent the counter to the buyer and gave the buyer 3 days to respond. This home had been on the market for at least 90 days without a single offer. Sure enough, yesterday we received a higher offer with a larger down payment and conventional financing instead of an FHA loan. The seller signed that second offer and withdrew the counter offer to the first buyer.

When I spoke to the first buyer's agent earlier in the day, she told me the buyer was still thinking about the counter offer and whether he really wanted to buy that home. Ha. Ask any Sacramento short sale agent. The name of the real estate game in Sacramento right now is you snooze, you lose.

Photo: Big Stock Photo

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elizabeth weintraub



Weintraub and Wallace Realtors



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Elizabeth Weintraub is co-partner of Weintraub & Wallace Team of Top Producing Realtors, an author, home buying expert at The Balance, a Land Park resident, and a veteran real estate agent who specializes in older, classic homes in Land Park, Curtis Park, Midtown, Carmichael and East Sacramento, as well as tract homes in Elk Grove, Natomas, Roseville and Lincoln. Call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759. Put our combined 80 years of real estate experience to work for you. Broker-Associate at RE/MAX Gold. DRE License # 00697006.

Photo: Unless otherwise noted in this blog, the photo is copyrighted by Big Stock Photo and used with permission.The views expressed herein are Weintraub's personal views and do not reflect the views of RE/MAX Gold. Disclaimer: If this post contains a listing, information is deemed reliable as of the date it was written. After that date, the listing may be sold, listed by another brokerage, canceled, pending or taken temporarily off the market, and the price could change without notice; it could blow up, explode or vanish. To find out the present status of any listing, please go to


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Mary Douglas
United Country Ponderosa Realty, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado - Red Feather Lakes, CO
REALTOR, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado

Hi Elizabeth, what you say is absolutely true- there seems to be a wrinkle in the universe that causes multiple offers when for months there were none.  Some things just can't be explained!

Nov 22, 2010 01:33 AM #1
Kathleen Daniels
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
San Jose Homes for Sale-Probate & Trust Specialist

Elizabeth, The offers do seem to come in waves … I see it in my area as well. Property sits for months with no offers … then BAM!!! Multiple offers!

Nov 22, 2010 03:58 AM #2
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

This is so true.  If someone wants to buy a home, chances are someone else out there will see the same potential or beauty in the home and there will be instant competiton.  It's always the house in the best condition at the best that get the activity.

Nov 22, 2010 08:27 AM #3
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Hi Mary: This past week I've put 2 or 3 homes into escrow that have been on the market forever. It seems like offers are just popping.

Hi Kathleen: I suspect part of it is the competition finally goes away because those other homes are in escrow. After a while, your listing is the only one left through the process of elimination.

Hi Chris Ann: That's true about first-time home buyers. Many of their needs are similar. So it's not astonishing that they might like the same homes.

Nov 23, 2010 10:52 AM #4
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