Verbal Offers! Are you kidding me?!

Real Estate Agent with Optimar International Realty
I received a verbal offer on Sunday. The agent called with no terms, no closing date, and had no idea when he could supply us with a P/Q letter.
Whenever we take a listing  we make sure that the Seller signs off to not accepting "Verbal Offers" .
Experienced agents realize that in order to "make and offer" the buyer must have it in writing.
I asked the agent if he could get the potential buyer to place they`re offer in writing and he told me "That he doesn`t want to waste my time or his,by putting together an offer'.
I guarantee you that this Agent is a "Deal Breaker,Not a Deal Maker!".
I told him, "Please go out of you`re way and get it together, so i may properly do my job and present".
Today is Tuesday, believe me this offer will never arrive.

Comments (38)

Matthew Pellerin
Realty Executives - - Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix Homes Team

You bring up a good point about making sure your sellers allow you to NOT present verbal offers.

I'm going to start incorporating that into my listings ASAP.

I usually just call the seller and tell them we have a verbal... blah-blah-blah... here are the terms they've given so far... yatta-yatta-yatta... and the seller usually feels that this is not an offer worth responding to if the buyer couldn't take the time to put it in writting.


Matt Pellerin


Sep 12, 2006 11:11 AM
Eileen Landau

Last week I had an agent call me with a verbal...basically, price only...and $18k below list.

So, I asked agent: "Sandy, is this offer in writing?"

"No...they're just too busy." she says.

"OK Sandy, I'm not discussing this with the sellers until I see it in writing."

However, I did email my sellers...told 'em the gist of the offer.

We really didn't care about Sandy's offer...but it did get the seller to go back to his first offer he received about a month ago. At the time, he thought it was too low. After Sandy's 'non-offer' seemed fine.

So, seller now has a contract on the townhouse...and is looking at move up properties.

Sandy, did me a favor. She'll never know, however.

Sep 12, 2006 04:38 PM
Toby Barnett
KW North Sound - Marysville, WA
Toby Barnett
Verbal offers are just like "beer talk"...all show and no go :) I wouldn't waste my time.
Sep 12, 2006 05:25 PM
Dave Rosenmarkle
Highland Realty, Inc - Arlington, VA
33 years of providing fully satisfying service!

Hi Erika

Great topic. Agents like this are professional timewasters, who wonder why they only do 4 or 5 deals a year, if that many. They also spend a lot of their and your time talking about all the deals they have "in process" and the big ones that just barely missed getting ratified. When I see one of those coming over the hill in my direction, I catch them mid-air & mid-breath, letting them knnow that while, I appreciate their interest, we really don't have anything to talk about until they have it in writing, along with a check and a lender pre-approval letter. 

Sep 13, 2006 12:06 PM
Dan Grammatica
Realty Experts, LLC - Torrington, CT

What I tell my sellers and agents about "verbal offers" is ALL VERBAL OFFERS are BEST in WRITING :-)

Sep 13, 2006 01:32 PM
Scott Daniels Florida Real Estate 2.0. Agents Earn 100% Commission.
Florida List For Less Realty, Inc. Broker/Owner. - Cooper City, FL
How many times have you seen a verbal offer ever close?
Sep 14, 2006 01:42 AM
Peter Andres - Lic. in FL & NY GRI,SRES,CNE
REALTOR - The Villages, FL
Nice catch on this blog.  It happened a few times to me and you are right. There is no deal unless its in writing. I ask for the agency agreement along with the purchase offer and the pre-qual before presenting.
Sep 14, 2006 04:39 PM
Carole Cohen
Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office - Cleveland, OH
Realtor, ePRO

Interesting topic; verbal offers have been few in my experience; but price seems to be the key factor when they occur.  I'm turning in a purchase offer today and although I never intended to call with a verbal, the offer price is low enough that I wanted to do just that.  However, this just tells me the letter/note I normally write to accompany my offers (when I can't present them in person) has to include WHY the offer is what it is, along with my usual introduction of my buyer to the seller.

Had an agent call me once and say her investor client wanted to make an offer on a multi-family house I had listed, he always requests verbals; he had not even been in the house, but drove by and knew the area. The offer was not super low, he did not want an inspection. I suggested she at least get him in for a quick look (made me nervous otherwise) and so he did fnally go see it. So we didn't have to have a verbal discussion, my seller and I.

How do you guys feel about verbal discussions once a written offer is in counter offer? There have been a couple of times when one issue or another has been bantered back and forth a few times verbally before it's in writing.  But obviously nothing is etched in stone until the pen hits the paper.

Sep 19, 2006 03:44 AM
Geno D'Angelo
Coldwell Banker Fairbairn - Mackinaw City, MI


Per the statue of frauds no contract involving real estate may be negotiated verbally. Its agents like this that make the discount brokers seem like a good buy. Its up to the rest of us to show the world that he is a minority.

Sep 20, 2006 09:56 AM
Carl Guild
Carl Guild & Associates - East Hampton, CT
Central Connecticut Real Estate
Oh my god - are you kidding me?!! An offer verbally? LMAO - I would tell that agent to take a hike!! Perhaps a verbal counter-offer MAYBE...... but in most cases even that is in writing. If they dont have time to write up a serious offer, then they are not taking the transaction serious. And those kinda buyers can go buy something else.
Sep 20, 2006 06:35 PM
Robert Whitelaw
Whitelaw & Sons Real Estate Services - Morgan Hill, CA
Broker, CEO, Realtor , ePro
It is the nature of the beast. It is amazing that folks seem to think these verbal offers are a good idea at all and also amazing that when it is written, they do not insist on presenting the offer themselves. I personally think this trend of just sending the offer to the listing agent and letting them present is not in the best interests of your clients. I mean, who can better present your clients offer than you?
Sep 21, 2006 09:47 PM
Erika Cannet
Optimar International Realty - Hollywood, FL
The point of a verbal offer is to feel out a price.It`s a lazy approach to selling..
Sep 21, 2006 11:54 PM
Robert Mayo
Mayo Auction & Realty - Your Kansas City Auctioneer - Kansas City, MO
"I don't want to waste your time or mine" is a sure giveaway. I prefer for people to waste my time in writing.
Sep 23, 2006 06:51 PM
Rebecca Savitski
BSR Real Estate Group - Cary, NC
NC Real Estate Listings
I think this is a new trend in the real estate world. How do Realtors expect to get paid if they can't even write the offer up?
Oct 02, 2006 03:01 AM
Erika Cannet
Optimar International Realty - Hollywood, FL
Point well taken Becca...
Oct 02, 2006 03:20 AM
Barbara Allen
I have my house on the market and my agent showed my house today to a buyer and his agent.  She called me tonight to tell me he's making a verbal offer at the bottom of my value range pricing.  I felt as though my agent was pressuring me to agree to it.  I told her I needed time to think about it, and she said that the buyer was going out of town for two weeks and was going to be super busy this week, so he didn't have time to write up a formal offer unless it was something worth his time.  My immediate reaction was WHOA!  So glad I found this blog.  It's given me some insight on how to respond to my agent.
Oct 09, 2006 04:47 PM
Looking for a house
I want to say something about that.The bad thing about writing an offer for the buyer is that if the transaction is broken by the seller it takes too long for the buyer to get back his earnest money and thats not fare to the buyer.Thats why i do understand you want a contract,but do you understand about the buyer? They are the one spending the money to buy the house.Sometime you should try to give a verbal offer so they can feel that they are not wasting there time.The quicker the answer,the quicker ths contract.Think about it in the buyers way,not the sellers.
Aug 13, 2007 01:32 AM
Joe C

I think before anyone brings a verbal offer to the seller, the question should be asked of the buyer, "Before I present this offer, tell me what will happen if the seller accepts it?"

If you hear anything other than, "Then we'll have a deal!" I would refuse to even listen.

Whenever negotiating, find out what will happen if I did???? Before moving forward.

Jan 13, 2008 04:34 AM
Anna Boyd
Re/Max Gold - El Dorado Hills, CA
CDPE, El Dorado Sacramento

And then there's some Relo companies.  They don't want to see ANYTHING until all parties have agreed to all terms in principal - verbally.  I asked my manager and he said not uncommon.

So, I prepared a MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) stating what my buyer was planning to offer, so at least Relo would have something in writing - even though they didn't want anything in writing.  How crazy is that?

Aug 17, 2008 11:12 AM
Ella Glover
Lubbock Homes - Lubbock, TX

In the past when I have recieved verbal offers, I thanks thank the agent, Hang up the phone wait an hour or so then call them back and say "The seller really wants to see it in writing before he will consider it.  That has worked well me on this type of deal. 

Nov 18, 2008 02:52 AM