Home Buying in San Francisco>Question Details

Pjw, Home Buyer in San Francisco, CA

Few questions about making an offer (Bay Area)

Asked by Pjw, San Francisco, CA Tue Jun 5, 2007

1) Does the buyer's agent typically present the offer to the sellers in person, rather than by fax/email?
2) Is it usual or unusual for the would-be buyer to attend that meeting?
3) I've heard of buyers writing letters to sellers, to accompany the offer, to tell them how much they love the house (etc). Is this still commonly done and how useful is it as a tactic?

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I bought a condo in Walnut Creek a little over a year ago, so just speaking from my own experience: 1) my agent made the first offer in person and then handled all of the negotiating afterwards via fax and email. 2) I didn't attend. 3) I have friends who just purchased a house in Alameda - they wrote a letter when they made the offer and were told by the owner afterwards that it was because of the letter that she accepted their bid. I can't say that it is common, but it was definitely useful for them.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 5, 2007
If the buyer's agent isn't able to present the offer in person to the seller then they should present to the seller's agent. But, unless I present in person, I truly do not know if my offer was ever presented. I have no way of knowing this unless my Agency agreement as been signed and dated by the sellers' and my contract is signed and dated by the seller, even if it is rejected. Personally I think any agent who does not urge her seller to listen to all offers in person is sherking his/her fiduciary duty to both the buyer and the seller. As a buyer's agent I know my clients and am able to negotiate the best price for them. Same for my sellers. In our market, the Burlingame/San Mateo area most agents present fact-to-face. I have had buyers attend offers on two occasions where I am representing the seller. It is unusual but does happen. If the buyer keeps quiet during the presentation I see nothing wrong with it. As for letters, we're not seeing those as much as we did a few years ago. Is it useful? Maybe, but I think it's more useful if the buyers have met the sellers at some point. Then there's a connection.
Web Reference: http://www.wilkasgroup.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 14, 2007
Pjw,
1) Try to get your agent to present it to the seller, but it typically is presented to the seller's agent. Rarely do I do fax/email. In person is always best, but second choice is pdf, third is fax. This is 2007!
2)Very unusual for the buyer to attend
3)Letters are very common and a good idea. Appeal to the emotional side, tell your story. It helps, and it is still VERY common in San Francisco.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 7, 2007
1)The buyers agent deals with the sellers agent. It us usually done by fax, rarely in person. Most sucessful agents know eachother and most things are done over the phone and via fax/email.
2) The buyer usually never attends that meeting because quite honestly thier is no meeting, it usually boils down to price and all the other agent cares about is the offer price.
3) I believe it can be a usefull tactic however your agent must know her market and it some cases this can be a good or bad thing, for example. If you are moving to a small condo complex and your agent submits a photo of you and your family along with a letter of introduction and in the photo you appear to be a large family purchasing a 2 bedroom condo, the seller may have friends living in the unit below that would hate to have a large family living above them. So, your agent should know the area and if a letter would help or hinder you. Personally I use them and they are sucessful. If done correctly it can cause a positive emotional response from the seller.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 6, 2007
Typically, the buyer's agent makes the offer to the seller's agent, not seller. A buyers agent may never be in contact the actual seller and for good reason. The negotiations are done through the agents so that emotions are left out of the deal. Also, the letter could backfire in the bargaining process. Your effectively telling the seller your willing to pay more than your offer...
Web Reference: http://www.flippingpad.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 5, 2007
1. Unfortunately the buyer's agent does not present the offer to the sellers in person. Years ago this was the norm and it was very useful. The buyer's agent could present the offer and give details about it and the buyers. It made the buyers "real" to the sellers, not just a "number" so to speak.
2. Buyers do not attend the meeting, if there is one. It can be a very emotional time for buyers and sellers and it is best to leave the negotiating to the professionals. An excellent Realtor will keep the negotiations level and reasonable.
3. Letters are a wonderful tool! It can make a difference in the attitude of the seller, because it makes the buyers real people. Pictures of the family can also be a nice touch as well. Don't go overboard with pictures though. They should be casual and "real" and express the love and fun in the family.
Web Reference: http://www.WendysHomes.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 10, 2007
Your agent should present in person to the listing agent, and possibly the sellers. It is not customary for a buyer to attend. I would go ahead and write a letter, your agent can give you some ideas. Your best tactic to secure the property is to craft an attractive offer and have a pre-approval for your financing to assure the seller you can indeed complete the deal.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 22, 2007
My preferred method of presentation is one in which is presented directly to the seller and listing agent.

This personalized presentation may ultimately win the heart of a seller and/ or the agent if there is any connection felt. It is always more memorable than a fax or email and ensures that the buyer is well represented.

In regards to the letter, I always prepare one as it can never hurt, if written correctly. It often eases the tension during a presentation and be an ice breaker to all parties involved. It allows the seller to have some background info on the buyer and emphasizes their strengths, it cuts down the listing agents time and may demonstrate the buyer’s agents ability to be thorough and on top of things.

It is like a beautifully gift wrapped package or the presentation of an up-scale meal when fine dinning.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 17, 2007
It used to be that all offers were presented by the buyer's agent to the seller's agent and the seller. This was before FAX machines.

Agents have gotten away from this mainly for expediency's sake.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 12, 2007
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