Buyer With a Home to Sell, Part 1

In August, an offer came in on one of my listings. The buyers were extremely well qualified and had made a low offer — one that probably could have been successfully negotiated to become an actual contract. Except for one thing.

The buyers needed to sell their current home in order to purchase my client’s property. They lived in a condo and weren’t willing to put it on the market until the sellers agreed to their offer. They wouldn’t commit to a price for their condo, nor discuss the terms that they would be offering. Their agent said that she thought they would price it aggressively, but that they hadn’t decided on a price.

This indecision on the part of the buyers soured my clients and they rejected the offer, inviting the buyers to re-submit their offer once they had a firm offer on their condo.

Shortly after that, the buyer called me directly and asked why their offer wasn’t accepted. I explained the risks that her offer presented to the seller and suggested that she go ahead and put her property on the market. She said that she was unwilling to disturb her family until she had a sure thing lined up. She said that cleaning and preparing the property for market was too upsetting for her children.

Let’s look at the risks from the sellers’ viewpoint:

    1. They’d be taking their home off the market while the buyers tried to sell their condo.
    2. If the buyers couldn’t sell, the market might be worse when the contract fell apart.
    3. Even though technically the sellers can continue to try and sell their property, in reality agents seldom show properties that are contingent in this manner. I don’t know why this is, but they don’t.
    4. The buyers’ attitude was the final straw for the sellers. The sellers felt that the buyers were unreasonable in their reluctance to take the necessary steps to sell their condo.

The sellers offered to reconsider the offer once the condo was on the market, but the buyers refused to take that step. Those buyers are still in their condo, by the way.

So, in the end, the sellers were afraid of taking their property off the market while the buyers tried to sell their condo. The buyers were afraid of putting their condo on the market without a contract in place on their new home.

Sounds like the perfect catch-22, doesn’t it? Stay tuned for the buyer’s side of things.

© 2007 Susan Pruden.

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