Home Buying in 45150>Question Details

Michael, Home Buyer in China, TX

How do I know when a seller is considering bids?

Asked by Michael, China, TX Mon Jun 16, 2008

I'm a first-time home buyer, and I'm "shopping" from outside the area. For the time being, I have to do everything remotely, which makes me heavily dependent on email as a mode of contact (I'm in another country). Here's my problem: On May 5, I contacted a listing agent to ask questions about a property she had listed. We've been in regular email dialogue about the property since. I arranged for a family member to look at the property in person as my proxy on June 8, only to learn that the property is now "pending." Clearly I missed a step in there somewhere, where I would have liked to have placed a bid - even if just to have it rejected - but bidding was "closed" before I knew any other offers were being made. Is it odd that the listing agent did not advise me of this change in the status of the house before the seller accepted the other bid?

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your phone calls to the listing agent certainly communicated a casual interest in the property. To bump it up to a serious interest you could have said to her "please keep me informed of any offers that come in on the property. I have more than a passing interest, and might consider writing an offer, should you receive an offer".

That would have let her know that you were more than casually interested. She still would have been under no obligation to let you know of another offer, but she might have been more motivated knowing that you might write an offer, rather than thinking you were still in the "collecting information" stages.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 17, 2008
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
MVP'08
Contact
Sigh.....

You're half way around the world. For reasons you don't wish to provide you don't want to use a buyer's agent to represent your interests. You contact the listing agent on May 5. According to Agent, you showed little sense of urgency. You never did place a bid on the property. Yup, you missed a step in there somewhere.

You ask: "there must be a polite way I could have informed the listing agent that I'm considering a bid and would like to submit a bid before the seller makes a decision" Sure. Just inform the agent. Elvis gave you the right way to do it.

Or here's another way. You make your contract contingent on inspection by your proxy. Just like your contract can (and should) be contingent on a home inspection, make it contingent on a satisfactory inspection by your proxy. You'll have to keep the timeframe short....none of this waiting a month or more...but that way you can buy a bit of time, and you have a legitimate way to get out of the transaction if it doesn't meet with your proxy's approval.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 18, 2008
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Fairfax, VA
MVP'08
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Michael,
Your proxy was notified of the offer that was coming in at the time they began trying to coordinate an appointment to view the property. No sense of urgency was shown so therefore the listing agent did her job and negotiated the offer that did come in. The listing agent spent a great amount of time answering your many, many questions in order to help you feel comfortable enough to make an offer even after you stated that you might even be renting for a while after you moved here. You are in a tough situation and it is understandable that you need a great amount of information to make your decision from China. You need to put your trust in an agent locally to work for you, someone that can communicate with the listing agent ,keep a close watch on the property and be ready to make an offer when you are ready. Best of luck to you.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 18, 2008
your phone calls to the listing agent certainly communicated a casual interest in the property. To bump it up to a serious interest you could have said to her "please keep me informed of any offers that come in on the property. I have more than a passing interest, and might consider writing an offer, should you receive an offer".

That would have let her know that you were more than casually interested. She still would have been under no obligation to let you know of another offer, but she might have been more motivated knowing that you might write an offer, rather than thinking you were still in the "collecting information" stages.
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I agree with you Elvis, as far as notification, but if the offer was all cash or otherwise good terms, what would be the benefit to accept a different offer that had a contingency of having a proxy, not the buyer, see it because the buyer might want to make an offer? As a listing agent I would advise the seller to keep the bird in the hand.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 18, 2008
Don, your are correct that not working with a buyer's agent creates more room for miscommunication, and that presents another challenge for me to overcome. As I said, however, I will not be working through a buyer's agent at this time, and I am working to learn how I can more effectively communicate with listing agents. Hopefully, other Trulia readers can also benefit from your advice here.

As you can see from Agent's comment - who is the listing agent in this case as you surmised - my communication with her convinced her that I was not, in fact, serious about the property, but was merely taking up a LOT of her time with lengthy email requests. Guilty as charged.

So, to draw from Elv!s's suggestion, I should have been more explicit about my willingness to prepare a bid. To draw from your suggestion, I should have considered placing a bid contingent on inspections, one of which would have been conducted by my proxy (who is not a real estate professional, but lives in the area and whose opinions I trust implicitly). Both appear to be excellent suggestions, and will decidedly inform the way I communicate interest in the future.

The listing agent (Agent) "spent a great amount of time answering [my] many, many questions" thinking that this was an investment in a bid that would be forthcoming, and then I never bid and simultaneously failed to communicate to the listing agent that I was serious about the property. Definitely another problem I'll hopefully be able to use Don's and Elv!s's advice to remedy. In this case, I had mistakenly thought that the volume and specificity of my questions would have indicated that I was getting close to bidding (I do not normally ask such questions unless I think a property appears worthy of a bid, in no small part out of respect for the amount of time listing agents must spend responding to them). Now I know that I need to tell the listing agent that I am, in fact, preparing a bid in my own slow way. My apologies to Agent for taking up so much of her time and never sending her a bid to work with; that was not my intention, and I do not expect to repeat that particular mistake. Chalk this up as a lesson learned.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 18, 2008
Contact the agent that you are dealing with and place an offer. Make sure that your offer is presented to the seller. All offers should be presented until the property has closed. Worst case scenerio is that you can be a back up offer, in case the first deal falls apart.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 16, 2008
Thanks to all for your time and responses. The consensus appears to be that my "mistake," is that I do not have a buyer's agent. For many reasons, I am not convinced that I would be happy with a buyer's agent. My reasoning for that decision would best be addressed under a different thread. My intent here is to better understand how to communicate my needs as a buyer to a listing agent to help that listing agent get the best possible bid for the seller to consider.

It seems to me that there must be a polite way I could have informed the listing agent that I'm considering a bid and would like to submit a bid before the seller makes a decision. What are the pros and cons of saying I'm "considering a bid" before I'm certain that I will really offer a bid? In this case, I had been waiting until my proxy could view the property in my stead and tell me what she learned. What she was able to tell me and show me (through copious photos) convinced me that I could comfortably assess how much the property is worth TO ME (which is information I feel I need to have before submitting an actual bid). Unfortunately, the seller had already accepted another bid by this point, without ever knowing that another bid was a few days away. Thoughts?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 17, 2008
First off, John Wirsing is correct - you need to find a buyers agent to represent your best interest in the deal. If you do not have that, the listing agent is working for the seller, unless you have an exclusive contract with them. I would be happy to help you as a buyers agent in that area, if you choose to do so.

As far as bidding on a property, we simply write offers to the seller and they are either accepted, countered, or rejected. Once one is accepted, it is typically subject to inspections and financing. Sometimes back-up offers, or bids, are taken, but not very often.

Again, if you need any help, I would be happy to assist you. You can sign up for a free home search from my website that will cover the Milford area in the Cincinnati MLS system. Let me know.
Web Reference: http://www.SWOhioRealty.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 16, 2008
Hi Michael,
The best way to buy a home ANY TIME, is to have a BUYER's Agent. Normally when you call on a property, the LISTING agent works for the SELLER. As a buyer, you can have your interests represented with your own agent.
Clear lines of communication need to be established. Only when a written offer has been signed by a potential Buyer is an offer valid.
Two websites are listed below that will prove valuable. First one is for the State Of Ohio Guidelines on buying a home.
http://www.com.state.oh.us/real/pub/HBGWebVersion.pdf
The Second link is http://www.CallRealtorjohn.com which is my website will will offer my insights into Communities, Schools, Values in areas as well as a Super Search engine to find homes.
You can even sign up for a search that will updayte you when new properties come on the market or when there are price reductions.
If you are looking in Northeastern Ohio I could help you as your Buyer agent. If you are looking in other areas and you would like to be referred to a responsible Buyer's agent, please let me know.
Good luck,
John Wirsing
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 16, 2008
The lising agent represents the seller and will only do what is best for the seller. As is obvious in this transaction, your best interest was not the priority of the listing agent. Next time obtain someone to represent you, a buyer's agent, when trying to purchasing a home here in the States. Your interest in the property may have actually motivated another buyer to place a bid. The seller's agent does not have to let you know there are other bids or even if the property was pending, but a buyer's agent would have found that information for you first.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 16, 2008
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