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