Can a Seller Make an Offer to a Potentially Interested Buyer?
The other day, I was talking with an acquaintance named Bob whose home is for sale. The house is not listed with me. In fact, when I first engaged Bob in conversation while in his shop, he was talking about listing again after a couple of unsuccessful years. Naturally, I offered up my services, but Bob laughed nervously and proclaimed that he didn't want to list with any agent he knew. Honestly, I get that. Bob is a business owner in our area and knows a TON of agents. If he picked one person he knew through his shop, well, he could potentially lose a lot of business from butt hurt agents that didn't get the listing. Bob is not getting an argument from me on that one because I have seen agents sever professional relationships with folks who don't do business with them. It's a childish thought process, but I assure you it exists.
Bob decided to list again with the agent that had been attempting to sell his home for two years. Two freakin' years!!! I begged Bob to let me connect him with someone he didn't know. I already had two people in mind for the job. Bob felt a sense of loyalty to the existing agent he had been dealing with. She had made service provider referrals and even brought in her own furniture to stage the home. "If I don't re-list with her, I'll lose the furniture." Ugh. Bob was loyal to a sofa and dining set. Never mind that the agent had a very sell-able property, on hard to come by acreage, with gorgeous mountain views listed through four seasons.... twice.... and never got professional outdoor pictures outside of the fall season... but she let him use the couch.
In conversation with Bob on a former visit to his shop, he told me that they finally had some interested buyers through the home. Woo-hoo! He was hopeful they would be making an offer soon. Mind you, that interested buyer had seen the property a week before I saw Bob on that particular visit. Fast forward one month and I walk in to Bob's shop and ask if his house was under contract. Now five weeks out from the showing with those interested buyers, there had been multiple follow up calls expressing interest, but no offer. Bob was on pins and needles waiting for the offer. He needed to sell this property ASAP. His anxiety was off the charts and he felt hopeless as he said, "All we can do is wait." That's not true and I let him know, while being careful not to give him advice. After all, Bob wasn't my client.
"Go home tonight and ask your agent about making a reverse offer. If she doesn't know what you are talking about, I am happy to tell her."
A few days later, I was in Bob's shop again. He volunteered, "Our agent thinks reverse offers are a sign of weakness so we are waiting." All I could picture were the ulcers erupting in Bob's stomach in volcanic fashion. Poor guy. He needed certainty from these buyers. Tell him if you want the house or not!
In my business, reverse offers have come in handy time and time again when the market is not gobbling up what I have to offer and I have a seller that needs, or wants, a quicker ending than we are getting. Reverse offers bring wishy washy buyers that string sellers along to a point of decision. Each time I would encourage the sellers to make an offer that the buyers would consider a better deal than list price. Let's face it, if the wishy washy buyers were fine with list price, they would have offered that by now. In a reverse offer, a seller is looking for that number they would accept, but don't necessarily want to advertise.
If Bob made his interested buyers a reverse offer, would they buy the house? Maybe. Maybe not. Bob would at least know where he really stood with them. Maybe those buyers have a house they need to sell in order to make an offer. Certainly, that would get rooted out in a reverse offer if the buyers liked what they saw in the offer. And if they just found they didn't want the house after all, at least the buyers agent would know that Bob is willing to make a deal. Maybe she's got another buyer the property would work for at the price Bob offered. That can't hurt You've got an actual, producing agent in the market that knows you are ready to play ball. It sure beats putting the words "motivated seller" in a listing.
A world where sellers can only wait for buyers to make offers makes about as much sense as a world where girls must wait for boys to ask them to dance. It's okay to make the first move and let someone know you want to dance.