Offers – Verbal or Written?

A real estate agent called me yesterday about one of my listings. He said that his buyer-client was interested in the property, but wanted to make an offer that was about $25,000 lower than the asking price. Any offer is better than no offer, but what followed puzzles me whenever it happens:

The agent asked me if the seller would be willing to accept such a low offer. He didn’t want to “waste his time” writing an offer that wouldn’t be accepted.

Waste his time??? Isn’t this his job — to write the offer according to his buyer’s wishes and present it in its best light?

I told him that I didn’t know if the seller would accept it or not — write the offer and the seller would be happy to review it.

The problem is, it is way too easy for a seller to reject a verbal offer. There is a psychological advantage in a written offer that doesn’t exist with a verbal offer. How is a seller to knowledgeably review a verbal offer without knowing all the terms: what kind of financing is the buyer getting (all cash? 100% financing?) Has the buyer been pre-approved? Does he want to have a home inspection? Before a seller can entertain an offer, he needs to know all the terms.

So, to all those real estate agents out there who want to take shortcuts — write the offer! If you are a buyer, tell your agent to write the offer!

© 2006 Susan Pruden.

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