Serving Sellers to Lock in Your Buyers
June 3, 2022
Laura Kelly Mance
President, Long Realty
As a girl who grew up in NJ where it rains 117 days a year, I can’t imagine not having enough water. But as I look out my window at a single tree with feathery “leaves” growing out of the dirt and surrounded by more dirt I’m reminded that Arizona is definitely not New Jersey. I’ll leave our water challenges to smarter writers than me.
The topic this month did bring to mind something else that is in seemingly short supply nearly everywhere today; that’s listings of course. Mind you, in Arizona we actually had more listings in 2021 than either of the prior 2 years and we’re tracking pretty close to that now. It just doesn’t feel like more because they’re selling so fast and there are more buyers competing for them.
The key for Arizona REALTORS® these days is getting the listing. Competition is fierce but really it always has been. It doesn’t matter what model you subscribe to. Selling is fairly easy these days if the home isn’t at the bottom of a fissure. No one has to endure many open houses, weeks of keeping a spotless home, or inconvenient showings. The typical seller is able to say, “look today and tell me what you’ll pay.” No, the challenge is choosing the right offer. How do you tell the difference between the buyer who is trying to tie it up with a fat cash offer only to find a reason to cancel during the due diligence and the buyer who is highly qualified and will do anything to make the sale work?
I recently went through the seller experience vicariously with my daughter. I was not the listing agent but of course I was annoyingly involved. Her condo was shown dozens of times over 2 days. On day 3 we’d amassed 11 offers. I was interested to note the following: Only one agent called the listing agent before submitting an offer. He wanted to confirm that the seller was truly waiting until Sunday to review offers and he wanted to ask what the seller might be looking for in an offer. What does the seller want? Brilliant! No one else called or wrote. They just emailed over offers. No one introduced themselves to the listing agent, talked about their buyer, said whether their buyer had seen it or not, or asked any questions. There was quite a range of offers. We’d requested a particular escrow company because I would have a discount and most, but not all of the offers complied. All were at or over the asking price and a few were irrationally high. Without the benefit of any background information, those ended up looking like they were just trying to tie up the property while the other offers moved on. The listing agent prepared an Excel spreadsheet that compared key points of the offers on a one-page chart, in addition to sending the complete offers. It was easy to read and compare. If the information wasn’t provided, it simply said unknown. On Sunday, the agent who had called Friday called again. “Just wanted to know if you or the seller had any questions about our offer or the buyer. They’re really hoping it’s accepted. Do you know when we’ll have an answer?” He interacted just enough to make his offer stand out from the crowd. It wasn’t the highest one, but it was close. It also required financing but had a substantial down payment. It felt real. That’s the one she accepted, and it closed without incident.
When was the last time you looked at an offer or a BINSR or a transaction from a perspective other than your own? Sure, you may be representing one party or the other, so you want to advocate for that side. But if what your buyer really wants is to get their offer accepted shouldn’t you be writing the offer with that goal in mind? Or the BINSR for that matter. If your goal is to get a “yes” then you need to write for the yes without abandoning your fiduciary responsibility. How you ask is just as important as what you ask. I’ll never forget seeing a BINSR request that stated, “due to the lack of proper maintenance the……” Really? You’re going to insult the seller for not taking care of their house and then ask them to fix something? Sure, it makes you sound like a great advocate for your client, but does it get to “yes?”
Let me bring this back. If there aren’t enough listings, you should definitely focus on getting listings. By the same token, if there aren’t enough listings, every offer you write has to be written and presented like it’s the most important one you’ve ever done. Reach out to the agent. Be the one no one wants to say no to. Bring an offer that’s clear, concise, clean, and doesn’t leave room for questions. Before you send the offer, read it as if you’re a seller who has never seen one before and isn’t sure who to trust.
Imagine where we’d be if we treated every drop of water with such care. Whether water or real estate sales, abundance comes as a result of effort.
Laura Kelly Mance, CRB
President, Long Realty Company