What NOT to do With an Offer

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Anthony Lamacchia: Ever have a listing agent tell you that your offer has been accepted for your buyer, and then find out minutes or hours later that they ended up going with someone else? That can be very frustrating if you’re a buyer’s agent, now you’ve got a buyer that’s mad. If you have ever been the listing agent and told someone their offers being accepted, and then had a higher offer come in that you, of course, have to show to yourself, very tricky situation. I want to talk to you guys about how to deal with that.

Anthony Lamacchia here with Crush It In Real Estate. I want to talk to you about how to deal with this and how to not get yourself in a situation where everyone gets mad at you. Let’s start with if you are a buyer’s agent. If you’re a buyer’s agent, and a listing agent tells you, “Your offer has been accepted. We’re going with you,” don’t run and say those words to the buyer. What you say to the buyer is, “Listen, I talked to the listing agent. It sounds like you’re going to get it, but until I have it in writing, I’m not going to believe it.” You give them a heads up, but you cushion it because, my friends, you don’t have a deal until it’s signed, you don’t have a deal.

If you are the listing agent, change some of your wording. First of all, everybody’s too damn text-happy in this business, people hate to pick the phone up anymore. If you’re a listing agent, don’t over-commit. I wrote both of these things on the board or I should say Christine did, her handwriting is a little bit better than mine. Don’t commit to the buyer’s agent if you are a listing agent. Don’t commit to the buyer if you’re a buyer’s agent. Those are two things that you should not do.

Let me go back and explain this one, which is number one, if you’re a listing agent. If you’re a listing agent and your seller tells you, “Fine, let’s take that offer.” You say to the seller, “I’m going to email it over you, I’m going to dotloop it over” or whatever. You send it to them, you get a signature. In the meantime, you should give the buyer’s agent a heads-up, but don’t do this. Don’t commit. Just say, “It looks like we’re going with your offer. If nothing else better comes around in the meantime, the deal will be yours. I’m working on getting it signed right now.” I’m serious, cushion it with that.

Too often, the listing agents commit. Then what ends up happening is, the listing agent ends up getting another offer in the meantime, doesn’t happen often. They get another offer in the meantime, and they don’t have a choice. When you’re a listing agent, you receive an offer whether it’s higher, lower, medium, it doesn’t matter what it is. Same offer, you have to show it to your seller. When you receive an offer, you have to show it to your seller right away.

I’ll tell you a story. 2008. Driving down the street with my wife and our daughter who was about six months old at the time. Beginning of the ride in Watertown, I told a buyer’s agent, they were getting a property in Somerville. As we’re driving, I get a phone call. I’m in East Watertown. An agent says, “I just sent you an offer on your listing.” I said, “Okay, that’s great to hear, but we’re actually- we’ve decided to go with another offer.” The agent says to me, “Before your seller signs, you had better look at my offer because you’ll be sorry if you don’t.” I said, “Okay.”

I just so happened to be right near our office, which at the time was in school street in Watertown. I pulled over, went to the facts. It shows you how long ago it was, the offer was $40,000 higher. I have to show it to my seller, I can’t not show it to my seller. I sent it to the seller, getting the phone with the seller. The seller says, “Anthony, I feel bad. We told the other people we would go with them, but I don’t feel $40,000 bad.” I said, “Yes, I understand.” What did I do? I call the buyer’s agent. I had egg all over my face. I said, “Look, I’m sorry, but another offer came in and it’s substantially higher.” “You’re unethical. You’re horrible. I’m going to report you. I’m going to do this. I’m going to do that. I’m going to tell the National Association of Realtors. I’m calling the White House, I’m calling the police.” “I’m sorry, go ahead.” This is what buyer agents have a tendency to do.

We have an agent that this happened to in the company last night, she was very frustrated. I nicely responded to the agent and said, “I know that’s frustrating, but the listing agent actually didn’t do anything unethical. Unethical would be if they didn’t present the higher offer to their seller. They don’t have a choice. When the offer comes in, it’s higher, they have to show them. The seller sees that the seller wants to take it they have to take it.”

Some buyer’s agents have made arguments, “Well, if it’s in text.” If a buyer’s agent says to a buyer or a listing agent- I’m sorry. If a listing agent says to a buyer’s agent, “Your offer is being accepted.” Is that contractually binding? Now, there have been cases where after 12 months of litigation and fighting judges have said, “Yes, that is binding.” That’s happened like once or twice and it’s been after months on end to fighting with buyers who had the money, time.

Most buyers are not going to be willing to go through that kind of battle and it isn’t necessary. Just make sure when you are the listing agent, don’t commit to the buyer’s agent until you have it signed. When you are the buyer’s agent, don’t commit to the buyer. I hope that helps. I hope you guys understand. If there’s any other parts of this that I didn’t clear up, put your questions below in the comments and I’ll get back to you on it. Thanks, my friends. Have a great day and happy home selling. The fall market has been busy and that’s good for all of us. Have a good one.