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Diane Wheatley’s Blog

Understanding and Surviving the Housing Crisis

By Diane Wheatley, Broker | Broker in Rancho Cucamonga, CA



I had a very interesting and somewhat enlightening day today.  But that is not to say that I may need some additional clarification from other agents and brokers who deal with REO properties and their assigned listing agents.


After writing an offer on a small bank owned home I showed to my interested buyer on Monday of this week I am no closer to an answer or agreement than I was on Sunday before the whole ordeal began.


As with many REO listed properties in Southern California I have no doubt that my client’s offer will be one of many and possibly one that will inevitably be kicked to curb for some unknown reason.  Par for the course I suppose.  However, this offer was actually read and considered by proof of a faxed “multiple” counter offer the following day.  We are in the game.


The terms of the counter offer #1 were outrageous but not out of reach for my client.  Also par for the course.  As a responsible broker and designated representative to my client I suggested that some minor “tweaking” be made to this counter to eliminate a moderate amount of ambiguity and onerous terms for my client.  Unfavorable terms can be moderated if carefully examined and addressed.


The following day I received a counter offer #3!  Not only are we still in the game but this counter offer is no longer a multiple counter offer at that.  The seller is negotiating with my client and my client alone.  We are not only in the game, we are playing the game.  But, as the day progresses we begin to wonder what “game” we are participating in.  It is not appearing to be a game of real estate negotiations as we were prepared to play.  What is going on?


After reviewing the terms outlined in the seller’s counter offer #3 with my client it is clear that the agent representing this seller may not have all of his marbles in the right line of action to consummate an acceptance.  Ambiguous?  Let’s call it baffling.  But not to worry.  This contract can be easily rectified to include terms originally offered by the seller in counter offer #1 with a few modifications set out in counter offer #2 and MAYBE a term or two that we were able to extract from the spirit of good business practice outlined in counter offer #3.  Counter offer #4 is born; contract is meaningful for all involved with little to no loose ends to be misinterpreted.


I immediately fax my counter offer #4 to the listing agent on behalf of my clients within the timeframes provided and subject to the terms outlined in counter offer #3.  Whatever game this is, we believe that we have a handle on it now and should be sliding into home base any time now.


No more than a half hour after I fax our counter #4 I receive an email from the listing agent.  He states that he cannot review our counter offer #4 until he knows what terms are on counter offer #3.  Wait!  What did he mean?  Counter offer #3 was prepared by his seller.  He has to have his own counter #3.  Is this a curve ball or an attempt to throw us out at home plate?  I have to assume it is simply a foul ball and we need to fax him counter #3 and #4 just for his clarification.  “Dear Mr. listing agent, please find your counter offer #3 and our counter offer #4 for your review.  We look forward to hearing from you shortly and thank you for your consideration of our offer.”


Within an hour or so I receive another email message from the listing agent.  This time he is writing to me in all CAPS – I CANNOT NEGOTIATE WITH YOU ANY FURTHER UNTIL I HAVE AN ACCEPTED COUNTER OFFER #3 FROM YOU TO DETERMINE HOW TO PROCEED.  What?  And why is he yelling at me?  I think I should make a phone call this time.  Mr. Listing agent is not available but I’m told to leave a message for him.  Ok. I do. “Mr. Listing agent, could you please clarify what it is that you are needing from me so that we may be able to wrap up negotiations on this transaction as soon as reasonably possible.  Thank you!”


Mr. Listing agent returned my call.  Great!  “Hello, it is nice to speak with you regarding my client’s offer to purchase your listing.  I’m a bit confused regarding your email.  What can I offer you in order to clarify any issues you may have?”  Here it comes…..


Mr. Listing agent does not only yell at people on the internet, he yells at people on the phone too.  If I had a choice, I preferred the internet.  He was yelling so loud that I don’t believe I fully understood what it was that he was attempting to communicate and for what reason.  But after the marching band went by and 21 gun salute was over I think I get the bulk of it.  Now, this is where I need some help.  Actually, I don’t believe that I am the one needing some “help”, if you know what I mean.


Is it true that an REO seller or authorized agent never signs a counter offer he prepares until AFTER the buyer signs?  And is it true that an REO seller NEVER reviews a counter offer prepared by a buyer when the agent has signed on their behalf?  I explained that I have a signed authorization to receive and convey information agreement on file to substantiate the terms of the counter offer for the brief period of time until a true signature is obtained that same day.  Must have fallen on deaf ears.  All other related documents have the buyer’s signatures on them.  All other related documents do NOT have a single seller signature anywhere.


Do I want to encourage my buyer to continue with a purchase transaction with a listing agent that has behaved so poorly and unprofessionally?  Can I bring myself to continue a relationship with a fellow agent that has defamed me in such a chauvinistic manner that I want to gag? 


It is difficult enough to have the opportunity to be a part of the game these days much less have a chance at bat.  Now that I’m in the game, do I finish it out or choose to sit the bench?  Advice?

Diane Wheatley, Broker

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