What Part of "Day Late, Dollar Short" is Unclear? The Day Late? Or the Dollar Short?

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Gold DRE #00697006

The manager of my office received an odd letter from the Department of Real Estate on Friday. The DRE wrote because a buyer from several years -- some purported real estate agent / investor who represented himself, so you know what kind of client he had -- was unhappy that he didn't get to buy a short sale home in Elk Grove. So, he complained to the DRE about losing the transaction. The tone of the letter seems to indicate that this DRE investigator gets a lot of these bogus complaints but nonetheless must follow up. I chalk it up to the price of success.

I suspect what this misguided agent could not get through his head was his offer was received after the seller accepted a different offer. I maintain impeccable records. Not only that, but we had received 8 offers on this property. They ranged from, let's say, $250,000 to $315,000. This particular agent was so danged smart, he offered $250,000. He threw a lowball at us. This means even if he had submitted his offer before the seller accepted the winning offer, his offer still, gall darn it, would have been rejected.

With multiple short sale offers -- and with some of the highest near the top of the comparable sales -- there is little reason to issue a counter offer, much less multiple counter offers. Still, this guy was ticked off that he wasn't in the running, so he whined. I'd like to say: Pull your head out of the ground -- it's so wet right now, you'll drown. What part of day late, dollar short don't you understand? But I don't because it wouldn't do any good.

Then, this morning I received an unsolicited email from a buyer who was in the middle of negotiations somewhere. Apparently, the seller gave him a counter offer and he and his wife had accepted it. In the meanwhile, the seller had received other offers before the counter was returned to its maker. As a result, the seller decided he wanted more money. Probably totally within his legal rights.

This is all my fault, the writer says, because I endorse following contract law and, in fact, I wrote an article about how to handle counter offers that says when a counter offer is out, another buyer can swoop in and snatch the home. I have made him very unhappy, he says. He says he can't convey how upset it makes him that I encourage others buyers to beat out offers like this.

See, the thing about being in real estate and a Sacramento short sale agent is I have been handed this marvelous opportunity to meet and interact with the most bizarre people who say the craziest and do the nuttiest things. I just can't make up stuff like this. It makes me chuckle, and then I get on with my day.

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elizabeth weintraub



Weintraub and Wallace Realtors



Elizabeth Weintraub reviews




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 elizabethweintraub.com.


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John Michailidis
Real Property Management of Sarasota & Manatee - Sarasota, FL
Real Property Management of Sarasota & M

I just love reading anything that contains the phrase, "Gall darn it"!

Mar 27, 2011 04:42 AM #1
Dave Halpern
Keller Williams Realty Louisville East (502) 664-7827 - Louisville, KY
Louisville Short Sale Expert


Thanks for the very insightful post. It is amazing how the bizarre stories are so true. I had the same story happen to me. A buyer made a lowball offer peppered with nitpicking demands and other annoyances. While the seller was contemplating the offer, another Realtor presented a clean offer more than six figures higher, which the seller accepted. The lowballer threw a fit that he didn't get a chance to beat the higher offer.

Dude, when you're that annoying before you even got it under contract, how are we going to have a multi-month relationship during the ups and downs of the short sale process?

Mar 27, 2011 04:48 AM #2
Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Let me get this straight. You wrote an article explaining '..when a counter offer is out, another buyer can come in and buy that home.'

Now it is you that is responsible for the first buyer losing out. Ok, Elizabeth, I guess you can no longer give an opinion because someone might read it and actually take your advice.




Mar 27, 2011 04:53 AM #3
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Hey SaraMana Properties: I say gall darn it because you know what I really want to say and would say if sensitive eyes weren't likely to read this.

Hi Dave: Nothing is so ridiculous as a person who thinks they are absolutely right when they are absolutely wrong and, on top of it, obnoxious to boot.

Mar 27, 2011 04:53 AM #4
Kathleen Daniels
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
San Jose Homes for Sale-Probate & Trust Specialist

Elizabeth, Agents are always the target for blame … people do not want to be responsible and take accountability for their own actions … so the agent is always the target. I’ve had other agents blame me for the sellers accepting an offer BEFORE the agent could show the property to her client. The property was on the market for over a week … nonetheless … it’s my fault. Craziness ….

Mar 27, 2011 05:00 AM #5
Tni LeBlanc, Realtor®, J.D.
Mint Properties, Lic. #01871795 - Santa Maria, CA
Tenacious Tni (805) 878-9879

Yes, that is the price of success.  Imagine an agent using the DRE that way though -- pretty ridiculous.  I'm sure if it was years ago that he could check the tax records and see that the property sold for more anyway.  What a hassle.

There are so many bizarre stories out there.  You should write a book - oh wait you have!

Mar 27, 2011 05:02 AM #6
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Hey Margaret: You wouldn't believe some of the unsolicited emails I get. It shows me what a vast cross-section of the population reads my stuff. But what do you expect when it's online and accessible by anybody who can balance a computer on their lap while starting on their second six-pack?

Hi Kathleen: What are ya gonna do? Nothing, that's what. Focus on the sane people.

Mar 27, 2011 05:04 AM #7
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Hi Tni: I was talking to a short sale agent about a property in Roseville yesterday, and that's what she said -- that she should write a book. When I told her I have, she laughed and laughed. I also explained that I had included many stories from other agents on Active Rain because I did not want to appear like I was the only one who was insane. I needed some company to substantiate that I am not nuts.


Mar 27, 2011 05:07 AM #8
Beth Larsen
RE/MAX Sedona - Sedona, AZ
Sedona Arizona

It never ceases to amaze me the sense of...well, the only word I can think of that comes close is entitlement that some buyers (and their agents) bring to the table with their lowball short sale offers. I actually had an agent tell me that my seller "DID NOT HAVE THE RIGHT" to counter their extremely lowball offer with something closer to fair market value. I told him that not only did the seller have the right (and in this case the time to market the property), they probably also had the obligation to their lender to do so.

And when they are surprised that the seller picks a better offer and think that it's "not fair" - I always have to bite me tongue. What part of "fair" is it to expect to buy something for far less than its value because you know the seller is in financial distress?

I completely understand a buyers' concern to not be the next person who paid too much, but folks-please don't think that changes the rules of engagement!

Mar 27, 2011 05:57 AM #9
Donne Knudsen
Los Angeles & Ventura Counties in CA - Simi Valley, CA
CalState Realty Services

Elizabeth - Being the mega short sale agent that you are, I bet you see and hear everything.  As an MLO in Los Angeles & Ventura counties, just when I think I have heard and seen everything, something else comes along and just floors me.  One thing is for certain, this is one wild and wacky market and I'm sure we're going to be seeing and hearing some really crazy things for quite awhile to come.  JMHO

Mar 27, 2011 07:54 AM #10
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

Elizabeth, what is it about time lines and accepted offers these buyers don't understand? It sounds pretty straightforward to me and just some kind of sour grapes these people have.

Mar 27, 2011 09:50 AM #11
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Hello Beth: I've had agents tell me the same thing. That the seller did not have a right to counter. Makes you wonder what's in the water that they're drinking.

Hi Donne: Just when we think we've seen it all -- trust me on this one -- something else will happen that floors ya. I swear, weird stuff happens every single day in the short sale business. Ya just gotta roll with the punches.

Hi Gary: Most of this business is very straight forward. Although it is possible for me to make a mistake -- because everybody makes mistakes now and then -- at least it would be a honest mistake if I made one. I run my business by the book, which is why I don't worry or look over my shoulder. If you don't lie about stuff, you don't have to remember what you said -- you KNOW what you said.

Mar 28, 2011 03:01 AM #12
Leslie Ebersole
Swanepoel T3 Group - Saint Charles, IL
I help brokers build businesses they love.

I like the reminder to keep meticulous records. I send myself, team members and broker a steady stream of little emails during tough transactions, partially to create a trail as things unfold. An agent is very unhappy with me after losing twice in multiple offers on my listings. Thank goodness I mostly communicated with her by email....it's not my fault she and her buyer feel compelled to lowball new listings.

Mar 28, 2011 03:51 AM #13
Lynn B. Friedman
Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty Call/Text 404-939-2727 Buckhead - Midtown - Westside -- and more ... - Atlanta, GA
Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers

Dear Elizabeth,

I really like what you said - " If you don't lie about stuff, you don't have to remember what you said -- you KNOW what you said."

Makes life so much easier! 

And, as MArgaret (#3) says - "Next!"
Who knows what the mysterious world of Buyers holds next!

Have a happy day -

Mar 28, 2011 06:41 AM #14
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