Recently four offers were made on a home in Oakland, Calif. Three of the offers were presented directly to the sellers and their agent by the buyer’s agents. The fourth offer was simply faxed to the listing agent. This buyer’s agent wasn’t available to represent her client’s best interests. She didn’t even bother to speak to the listing agent before faxing the offer. As you might expect, the faxed offer was rejected.

How an offer is presented to a seller can do a lot to affect the outcome. Sellers usually feel more comfortable accepting an offer if they are confident that the buyers are qualified to perform and eager to close the transaction. If the buyer’s agent presents the buyer’s offer in person, the seller has the opportunity to gather information that could influence a positive decision. A faxed presentation, on the other hand, is far less personal. At the least, the buyer’s agent should stand by for a conference-call presentation.

Make sure before your offer is presented that you find out how your agent intends to handle the presentation. Your best bet is for your agent to present your offer to the sellers in person. This may not be possible if the sellers have told their agent that they don’t want to be present. In this case, ask your agent to make arrangements to present your offer directly to the listing agent. At least this gives your agent the opportunity to present your case and to make sure that there are no questions left unanswered.

Sellers who don’t want to hear offers personally should make sure that their agent is available to meet with the buyer’s agent to review the offer. This is not only a professional courtesy–since the buyers and their agent have put time and effort into the endeavor–but it enables your agent to better screen the offer for you.

Even though it’s preferable to have in-person presentations, sometimes the listing agent prefers that offers be dropped off at the listing office in a sealed envelope. If you find that this is the case, ask your agent to prepare a summary to accompany your offer. This summary should tell the seller something about you and it should highlight the positive aspects of your offer.

Having offers dropped off in sealed envelopes can also do the seller a disservice, particularly if multiple offers come in. One way the listing agent can keep track of how many interested buyers there are is by letting buyer’s agents know in advance that offers will be presented in person. This forces buyer’s agents to make an appointment with the listing agent to present an offer. The listing agent is then able to keep everyone who’s interested informed about how many offers are anticipated. This helps buyers strategize and can actually get a better price for the seller. When offers are simply dropped off in a sealed envelope, the listing agent often doesn’t know how many offers to expect.

No matter how your offer is presented, you can improve your chances by including a copy of a preapproval letter, or at least a prequalification letter. Also, if there’s a seller disclosure package available, you’ll have more clout with the seller if your agent can say that you’ve read and received this before you make your offer.

Some buyers, particularly in multiple-offer presentations, write a letter to the seller to personalize their offer. This can also have a positive impact on the seller.

THE CLOSING: However, the most sincere letter will carry little weight if you’re not financially qualified, or if your price is too low.

Dian Hymer is author of “House Hunting, The Take-Along Workbook for Home Buyers,” and “Starting Out, The Complete Home Buyer’s Guide,” Chronicle Books.

***

Send a Letter to the Editor for publication.
Send a comment or news tip to our newsroom.
Please include the headline of the story.

Show Comments Hide Comments

Comments

Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
Success!
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription