What is the procedure when making an offer on a house? If the listing agent is unavailable who covers for them? How long should it take to negotiate?

Asked by Sabrina, 08816 Thu Apr 21, 2011

Do most sellers come back with a counter offer? What is a reasonable time to expect a counter offer or answer from the listing agent & selling agent? Is a CO required for Long Branch?

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Valentina Gabela’s answer
Valentina Ga…, Agent, sea girt, NJ
Thu Apr 21, 2011
Hi Sabrina,
There are no hard fast rules on how to work with an agent since each agent works differently. You should be working with an agent who you can reach within a reasonable time period or who has back up available for when they are not within reach for an extended period. I am not sure if you are asking if you have to speak with the listing agent or another agent will do? Any agent you are working with could relay your offer to the listing agent. If you are unable to reach your agent call their office and ask to speak with the manager. Once you explain your situation the manager will be able to help you proceed.

As far as how long the process should take that is a function on many variables. It depends on the price, your offer, the quality of the offer, the seller's motivation, the seller's accessibility and on and on. In this market I have seen low offers never get a counter.There are no rules on when the seller must respond or if they even have to respond. If you have an offer and it is taking too long to get a response and you become uncomfortable, have your agent call the listing agent, or the seller if acting as dual disclosed agent, to get a response or cancel the offering. Your agent should be able to guide you through this process.

Hope that helps.
Val Gabela
1 vote
Mary Petti, Agent, Edison, NJ
Thu Apr 21, 2011
Don and the other agents made great comments and suggestions.

If you were shown the house in question, by the listing agent, and he/she is not available to help you write your offer, OR negotiate one he/she already prepared for you, then call the agents broker ASAP, and ask that they take over while the listing agent is not available.

ALL contracts must be presented to the sellers in a timely fashion (within 24 hours of writing). Now how long it takes for the seller to reply, yes/no or counter offer is up in the air.

IF you have not looked at the house in question WITH THE LISTING AGENT, I agree with the others. Get yourself your own Real Estate agent who will be representing YOU. All agents can show, and sell, any house that's listed in the MLS, regardless of if it is their listing or not.

The listing agent who sells you their listing now represents both the buyer and the seller (called dual agency in NJ). You should be informed of this agency relationship right from the beginning. It's no advantage AT ALL to buy through the listing agent.

Here's a sample of my company's dual agency consent agreement, explaining what we CANNOT do as a dual agent. Pay attention to the item number 4 and the last paragraph:

1) We cannot disclose confidential information that we may know about either party without that party’s written permission.

2) We cannot disclose any price that the Seller may take other than the listing price without the written permission of the Seller.

3) We cannot disclose any price that the Buyer may be willing to pay other than offer price without the written permission of the Buyer.

4) We cannot recommend or suggest an offer price to the Buyer or a counter offer price to the Seller.

Notice: The parties understand that any agreement between Seller and Buyer, regarding the final sale/rental price and terms, is the result of negotiations between Seller and Buyer acting in their own best interest and on their own
1 vote
Don Tepper, Agent, Burke, VA
Thu Apr 21, 2011
It doesn't matter if the listing agent is unavailable. You shouldn't ever be in contact with the listing agent. You should be in contact with your own agent, who should be available. Let your agent worry about how to reach the listing agent.

Length of negotiation: From a few hours to a few weeks. You might make an offer and have it accepted. Usually, your offer will contain a time limit--for instance, 48 hours. And usually--if the owners are around (not on vacation, etc.), you'll get a response back in 24-48 hours. Sometimes quicker. And so you go back and forth--sometimes. Each turnaround might take 8-24 hours or so. So, realistically, figure a couple of days to perhaps a week.

Do most sellers come back with a counter offer? Do most buyers make offers close to the asking price? If you offer full price, there's a good chance your offer will be accepted without a counter. As you offer less, the chances of a counter offer rise. However, keep in mind that your offer should NOT be based on the listing price. It should be based on the true value of the home which might be less (or more) than the listing price.

Find yourself a good agent--one to represent you. He or she will be the best one to answer your questions, especially as they apply to your area.

Hope that helps.
1 vote
Christopher…, Agent, Tarrytown, NY
Tue May 10, 2011
Hi Sabrina, If you are working with an agent they will guide you putting in an offer. If not you would contact the seller directly, most likely provide them with a pre approval letter, and submit your offer and terms. The response form the seller varies with everytime. There are so many factors to consider, how long the home has been on the market, the sellers motivation, how quick they want to sell, if there are any other offers, etc. I usually get counter offers within 24 hours, at times much faster or longer. You can tell them the offer is valid for 24 hours but that could work in your favor or against you. It all depends on the personality you are dealing with. I always feel out the other side before negotiating because the key to succeeding is knowing who you are negotiating with.

Christopher Pagli
Licensed Associate Broker
Accredited Buyer Representative
GREEN Designated Agent
William Raveis Legends Realty Group
Web Reference:  http://raveis.com/chrispagli
0 votes
Sutah Ann Ro…, Agent, Monmouth Beach, NJ
Tue May 10, 2011
hi sabrina!
where do you live now? i would like to put in an offer for you on the home of your choosing. i live on the beach in long branch and am available to show you homes or put in an offer for you 7 days a week. i do not use a back up person because i can make myself available to you at some point any day of the week. what home are you interested in specifically and i can answer your questions with regard to the home you have in mind by going directly to the source. have the best day! @sutahonthebeach
0 votes
Gita Bantwal, Agent, Jamison, PA
Sun Apr 24, 2011
When you make an offer , you usually say you want seller's response by a certain date. If it is a short sale it may take long. If your offer is too low the seller may not counter the offer. Agents usually have someone covering for them when they are away and these days agents can be reached on the cell phone .
Web Reference:  http://www.gitabantwal.com
0 votes
Marc Paolella, Agent, Succasunna, NJ
Thu Apr 21, 2011
Hi Sabrina,

A few quickies:

1) Never offer through the listing agent. The listing agent is working for the seller trying to get the highest possible price at the best possible terms for the seller. Pick your own agent to negotiate as buyer's agent on your behalf. You should have your own agent and should never make an offer through the listing agent.

2) Sellers will come back with a counter offer if your offer is not considered an insult. If you over 25% below asking price or some such amount, you will usually not get a counter offer or will get a full price counter offer. A full price offer means the seller is basically telling you to go away.

3) Once you make an offer, a counter should come back within hours to maybe a day. Sometimes however, a seller is slow and may need 2-3 days to come back. But most of time it is within 24 hours.
0 votes
Nick & Trudy…, Agent, Devon, PA
Thu Apr 21, 2011
Sabrina, lots of good answers here and all lean in the same direction that you should be represented by your own agent. Yoiu would not want the opposing attorney to also represent you in a law suit, so why when buying a home would you rely on the agent representing the seller. Have someone on your side who is going to bat for you and is loyal to you and not the seller. They will sort out the issues of how to get the offer to the seller in a timely fashion and be able to explain all the procedures of buying a home in your area including trhe CO as these vary from area to area. Good luck.
0 votes
Annette Mora…, Agent, Brick, NJ
Thu Apr 21, 2011
I agree and had the same feelings as the other Realtors that have responded here. You should reconsider putting in an offer with an agent who has not been available for you because putting in a offer is just the beginning of the purchase process. Then there's the home inspection, the mortgage committment, the attorney, and so on so you need a Realtor that will hold your hand and be available every step of the way until you're in your new home. Please call me and I'll be happy to help. I have plenty of references from 1st time home buyers I'd be happy to share with you.
0 votes
Thomas McCor…, Agent, Atlantic Highlands, NJ
Thu Apr 21, 2011
Hi Sabrina,
I'm wondering if maybe you are already in the midst of a negotiation that isn't moving quickly enough because the listing agent is away? Unfortunately the situation varies considerably but generally you should expect a response to an offer within 24 hours. If the listing agent is not available then either another agent in the office or the office manager should be able to fill-in to help the negotiation proceed. The response time can be influenced by other factors as well: if other interested parties have made themselves known or have submitted competing offers, if the transaction requires third party approval because it will be a short sale, if the property is owned by an estate and their are multiple decision-makers. As previously discussed your agent - assuming you have your own agent representing you - should be able to communicate with the listing agent or listing brokerage.

A C.O. is required in Long Branch and should be factored into the timeline (as well as the expense if the buyer is responsible for obtaining it.) As mentioned, Long Branch is fairly strict with their C.O.'s and if they determine there are repairs that are necessary to issue the C.O. it can delay the closing. Again, a good buyer's agent will be able to explain this to you and determine who is responsible given the contract.

Hope that helps... I'm nearby in Rumson if you need any further assistance.

Thomas McCormack
Resources Real Estate
732-212-0440 x212
0 votes
Keith Radhub…, Agent, Holmdel, NJ
Thu Apr 21, 2011
The majority of the time a counter offer is made, unless your offer is deemd "insulting." You should receive a counter in approximately 48 horus. A CO is required for Long Branch.
0 votes
Keith Radhub…, Agent, Holmdel, NJ
Thu Apr 21, 2011
Your agent collects a modest "good faith" deposit and submits an offer in the form of a contract to the listing agency (the absentee agent has likely designated someone to handle his or her affairs). Length of negotiation is unpredictable depending upon how reasonable both sides are, especially as their figures compare to market value.
0 votes
Diane Traver…, Agent, Rumson, NJ
Thu Apr 21, 2011
Sabrina, these are both very good answers. As far as the C.O. requirement, the seller is usually responsible to obtain the C.O. However, if you have agreed to obtain the C.O. as part of negotiating a more attractive price, be aware that the city of Long Branch is very strict with their requirements and this could lead to a long list of repair requests if the home is in disrepair or if upgrades were made to the home with proper permits. For instance, if the basement was finished and a kitchen was added, the inspector will require removal prior to issuing the C.O. Just be careful and make sure you are working with someone is representing your best interests. If you need further information, feel free to call me at 732-997-9336. Good Luck!
0 votes
Phil Rotondo, Agent, Melbourne, FL
Thu Apr 21, 2011
The listing agent is representing the owner. You should consider being represented by your own agent.
Your agent will be able to present a written offer to the owner's agent.
The owner can accept, reject or counter your offer; and your contract should stipulate the amount of time the owner has to respond. Be aware that the owner does not have to respond....all your agent can do is get an acknowledgement that the offer was received by the owner.
Web Reference:  http://www.321property.com
0 votes
My NC Homes…, Agent, Chapel Hill, NC
Thu Apr 21, 2011
Sabrina- You really should slow down and find yourself an experienced buyer broker to represent your interests. The Listing agent represents the Seller and while most states permit "dual agency" where one agent handles both sides of the transaction, trust me nobody wins with this arrangement except for the agent who keeps all the commission. This is the worst thing you or the Seller could do and I cannot stress strongly enough that you need your own Broker.

It's a Buyers market, and you have the power. You need someone to research the market for you and help you understand regardless of whatever price the seller may be asking what the home is really worth in today's market so that you know what is a reasonable purchase price. Without this information how can you make an offer. Certainly you can't ask the listing agent what the property your interested in is worth, they will tell you it's worth full asking price.

Sellers typically come back with a counter unless they are brain dead or don't want to sell. While every situation is different. with more than 20 years of experience I expect a response in 48 hours or less. Experience has shown that the longer it takes to get a response the less likely it is that a deal will be made. I expect my Sellers to respond within hours and most do, but some need to mull things over.

A Certificate of Occupancy is required on any new construction or after a major renovation everywhere. I don't even know where Long Branch is but trust me a CO is required.

Your about to make what is likely to be the largest financial transaction in your life. Do not hurry and make a mistake get an experienced (Five or more full time years in the business) to assist and guide you and listen to what they tell you.

I wish you the best of luck.
0 votes
Francesca Pa…, Agent, Manasquan, NJ
Thu Apr 21, 2011

If a listing agent is not available and has not given you someone who would be handling her matters while away, then you should speak to the broker . . . and don't be afraid that you will be getting him/her in trouble . . . they'd rather have the busines than lose the business. (just sent someone yesterday to the broker for an agent from an entirely different agency than my own that was away on vacation calling the listing broker).

If you had not had any previous contact with the listing agent (i.e., he/she hasn't privately shown you the property, you can choose to be represented by an entirely different agent, known as a buyers agent.

As for how long it takes to get a counter . . . loaded question. Years back I'd answer within hours no more than 24 hours. Today, both buyers and sellers are so money conscious that I've seen an immediate response, days to respond and worse a week. It all depends on the seller and the type of realtionship the agent works with his/her seller.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me direct @ 732.606.2931 or Francesca@PatrizioRE.com. I'm awake now 5 a.m. so you can call now if you'd like! LOL

Francesca Patrizio, Broker Sales Associate, ePro, SRES
Gloria Nilson Realtors, Real Living
732.606.2931 (Direct 24/7)
Francesca PPatrizioRE.com
Web Reference:  http://www.PatrizioRE.com
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