Home Buying in San Diego>Question Details

Karla, Home Buyer in San Diego, CA

we are pre approve for a loan, we saw a house we like, they won't show the house unless we summit a bid.. is that how it works?

Asked by Karla, San Diego, CA Thu Sep 1, 2011

how can we put a bid on a house with out even seen the house? is the first house we like but I haven't even seen the house.. the realtor told us that in order to see the house we need to summit a bid.. isn't a bid a commitment to buy the house? thanks for your help!

Help the community by answering this question:


Hi Karla,

I have a few buyers that have been interested in homes that require an accepted offer prior to a showing. In all cases, they have passed on the homes.

Keep in mind, if a seller or agent makes it that difficult to show a property, most likely, negotiations, contingencies and escrow will be a nightmare!

Good luck in your search!
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 3, 2011
Hi Karla, I have been working with my buyers and these restrictive showing instructions for decades on various properties. Typically, they are on residential multi-family units rental properties, but not always. I understand your frustration and concern. However, there's no realistic need to pass up a home that you are interested in because access is provided after sellers contract acceptance. Bidding wars are common. An offer is not a contract until the seller signs the buyers offer. An offer can be withdrawn and a contract can be cancelled for a number of different reasons from either party during the transaction within a certain time period designated in the contract, counter offer and/or addendum. In a buyers offer there is a set time period to perform all of the buyers due diligence and investigate all that you desire. Upon sellers acceptance, we simply give advance notice to access to the lister and the occupants to view the property when the sellers instructions require no access is provided prior to the buyers offer submission and once we receive the sellers contract acceptance we can set an appt to view and decide to pursue or not without jeopardizing your earnest monies deposit. Please call Maureen at 760 622 6855 or email to explain how this works in greater detail if you have a buyers agent that is unfamiliar or if ur still uncomfortable with this chain of events .
Web Reference: http://www.coastal.biz
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 1, 2011
That is not common at all but if you really like the home and want to write an offer with an out, use verbiage to the effect of "Subject to inspection for 7 days after ratification. Purchaser reserves the right to cancel the contract at purchaser's sole discretion and without penalty within 48 hrs of inspection." Talk to an attorney if needed and make sure you use a buyer's agent. Good luck.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 1, 2011
Wow, no wonder real estate gets a bad rap sometimes. I've never heard of this. Sometimes a seller requires proof of a prospective buyers ability to purchase but I've never heard of a seller requiring an offer prior to viewing. Maybe the seller thought this was the best way to insure only qualified buyers viewed the property. I can't imagine why any agent (either buyer or seller) would allow this to happen.

It could be that the seller has to show that the home is being marketed for sale in order to satisfy a short sale process with a bank who is threatening foreclosure. As long as a home is actively being marketed, banks will not rush to foreclosure. Maybe this is a way for the seller to extend their time in a home without making a payment.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 15, 2011
HI Karla - I have seen this as well from time to time, and if you make an offer on the property it can be subject to inspection of property. There is a contingency period that you should be able to view it, and determine if you want your offer to stay on property.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 16, 2011
I encounter this from time to time, it is usually the occupant that determines this, and most of the time it is the tenant. You should put a contingency clause in the contract that states that are are presenting the offer subject to inspection which means that once accepted an appointment is made so you can go through the property and cancel with no problem if you don't like it.
Also if it is occupied by a tenant pay attention to the loan type you have, and lease in place. If you intend to owner occupy or your loan requires it you may not be able to purchase it anyway unless your bank oks it. The tenant goes with the property and so does the lease.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 14, 2011
While that system certainly doesn't make sense, some sellers (and possibly their tenants) make their own rules about the terms of purchase. Generally, most homes are not sold in this way. However, once in awhile a seller or his tenant will be so particular, that the property would only be shown with an accepted offer.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 5, 2011
I have seen this before with a few bank owned homes. The price is so low that they already have multiple offers and are trying to weed out the lookers and deal only with the most serious of buyers.
An offer means nothing. You can back out easily and with no risk.
Your realtor didn't explain that?
You need to be educated about buying in this market. I suggest you begin by looking at homes you can see and finding a realtor who spends the time educating you, so that when you do find a good home, you are comfortable enough and KNOW what you are doing, what you are spending, and why.
Sher Slavin. Masterpiece Realty Associates.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 4, 2011
Yes, I want to sell my house. But, I don't want anyone inside until they present an offer. .... To me this doesn't make sense. This is like asking someone to marry you and all that you know about the person is a picture.

Happy funding, Rudi
Web Reference: http://www.umboc.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 3, 2011
Good Afternoon Karla,

There are several things in your statement that just don't sound right. First off, any agent worth his/her salt, after finding out you had been preapproved for a loan would have set up an appointment to talk with you about the market and this home in particular. Since this agent didn't want to spend the time with you and see if this house truly met your criteria, then there maybe something just not right. Or, it could mean that the agent has so many offers already, yours doesn't matter much. We're seeing many offers from investors on the lower priced homes; and they're normally "all cash". That could mean that he/she is only a listing agent and doesn't want to deal with buyers too. There's a lot of reasons, including that's how it's done normally with investment property full of tenants, why this person treated you so.

Secondly, we normally call the "bid" an "offer" or the California Association of Realtors Residential Purchase Agreement; unless you're at an auction. In this case, the agent can't show you the home until after the auction is over.

Thirdly, a traditional offer on a home is NOT a commitment to purchase it; that starts the negotiation phase between the seller(s) and buyer(s). Even after both sides agree to everything at the beginning, the contract allows for release without losing your deposit.

Give me a call and I can explain more thoroughly today's market and your competition. I can possibly show you more homes that specifically meet your criteria. 619.741.8259

Thank you for your question,
Rene "Rainy" Leroux, Realtor
Richard Realty Groups
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 1, 2011
Hi Karla, A few things here. An offer is just that, an offer to purchase. It is written in good faith that you intend to go forward with the transaction assuming the seller accepts your offer. As for seeing the interior, there is really no need to makethe offer "subject to" seeing the interior of the property since you are entitled to your inspections at which time you will get to see the interior along with your inspector and if you do not like it, then you can cancel the contract pursuant to paragraphs 10 and 14 of the purchase agreement. As for only viewing the property with an accepted offer, most of the time this happens when it is tenant occupied and the owner does not want to disturb the tenants. Not sure of the situation though. That being said, if you think you love the home, write the offer and at worst if you find out you dont, you can cancel. Hope that helps.

Shannon Anderson
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 1, 2011
Hi Karla,

This isn't common, but it's not that uncommon either. The purchase contact has built-in protections for you as the buyer, and you can add that the purchase is contingent on your visual inspection, just to be clear. That way, you won't be required to have an inspection done, which can cost a few hundred dollars, depending on the size of the property.

Be sure your agent gets the details on why you need to write an offer first. There may be a renter living there with a lease you may have to honor.

Let me know if I can be of any help.

Warm Regards,
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 1, 2011
This does occur sometimes especially if there are tenants in the home. Many tenants don't want to be disturbed on a regular basis with people walking through the home.
If you make a reasonable offer that is contingent on viewing it and it is accepted you can withdraw your offer or even modify it if it not what you expected.
If you are not yet working with a Realtor I would be happy to help you work through these types of situations.

Jerry Heard
Your Broker
The San Diego Property Shop
Direct 619-920-9796
Office 619-269-5545
Fax 619-269-9168
CA DRE #00648687
Web Reference: http://www.yoursdps.info
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 1, 2011
Karla --

This is not common, but is an option the seller has...
Usually its with a property that is rented or has some other situation going on... There could be nothing serious with the property, just the ability to get in. More-than-likely they only want to deal with serious buyers and not those still on the fence. Again, probity cause there is a tenant in there and they are not cooperative. It could be someone who works at night, maybe they have a day-care service, etc. and they don't want folks coming and going. I do not have enough info from your question. Your agent can contact the selling broker to ask just what the situation happens to be. Plus this could be to your benefit as most agents may choose not to show this house.

Finally, when you write an offer, among other things, put in the offer "subject to seeing, inspecting and approving the interior." I would think your agent would know this and will look out for your best interest by protecting you in the contract. Remember to cover all your bases when writing the offer so, just in case, if you find something displeasing, you can back out...

Hope this helps! If you have any other concerns, feel fell to contact me. I'm always willing to help out when I can....

-- Rod --
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 1, 2011
Who are you asking to see the home? If you would like an agent to work for you, and represent your best interests, please give me a call.
Ron Oster
Ascent Real Estate
619 543 0414
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 1, 2011
Call me I'll find out for you right now what is going on! 858-568-3303.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 1, 2011
Hello Karla~

This is a rare circumstance. Most of the time when the situation requires an an offer or an accepted offer, there may be a tenant that the seller does not want to disturb, for example. This keeps the showings down to the really serious buyers. So to answer your question, No this is not how it works...thank goodness. If you have a Buyers Agent they will help to explain the situation. If you do not have an agent yet, I would highly reccommend that you find someone compatible with you and knowlegable in your area.

Congratulations on being pre-qualified in a time when rates are this low!! Let me know if you need any help or want to pick my brain.

Good Luck

Chris Gorno
Web Reference: http://www.ChrisGorno.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 1, 2011
NO..and as a real estate professional I dislike seeing references in the Multiple Listing Service indicating such. How can one make a bonafide offer in good faith without seeing the property. Real Estate is not a commodity; it's a home and/or investment. My advise, Karla, is to look for another property. If a transaction starts off and 'doesn't feel right' that's usually a sign it may not be the right property for you. Best of luck. If there is anything further I can help you with please contact me directly. Thanks.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 1, 2011
Hi Karla,

Unfortunately, some sellers require that you make an offer to see the home.

Your agent can craft the offer so you have an out if you do not want to purchase.

Best of luck,

Mark & Kari Shea
Shea Real Estate
Serving Greater San Diego
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 1, 2011
Hi Karla,

Please contact me at 858-705-83947 as soon as you can. I can walk you through the entire process step by step.

Thank you!


Simon Saran
Summit Realty Group
Cell: 858-705-8397
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 5, 2012
if a husband and a wife sign a mortgage contact, but the husband is not approved for the loan, but the wife is accepted and is approved on her on own, is that contact void then and have to sign another contract with wife only. or is it still a binding contract?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 5, 2012
Yes, it is a commitment to buy the house but you can write in the offer subject to interior inspection, then if you don't like the property you can back out. You really need a Realtor representing you, get your own buyers agent to do this, they can also schedule all showings for you and assist you with the negotiations. If you need a Realtor in the area, feel free to call me or email me and I can refer you a good one.

Have a great day,
Heather Paul, Realtor
Coldwell Banker
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 26, 2011
In my professional opinion, this property is more for a seasoned investor than the typical buyer. That being said, if one elects to submit an offer it should be using the standard California Association of Realtors contract whereby the buyer has a contingency time period that provides for 1) looking at the house and 2) all other due diligence. I would under no circumstances submit an initial deposit until you have seen the house and this event is typically required within 3 business days of acceptance.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 25, 2011
Short answer No, it's not how it works. Why don't you submit a bid which will require him to submit it... but make it contingent on your review and approval of the inside and condition?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 21, 2011
Generally if you request to see a property the seller's agent will schedule an appointment to show you the property. It is possible the seller is requiring it because of the amount of interest in the house. In my area that is not typically how business is done, especially if the potential buyer has been pre-approved.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 21, 2011
I'm not sure if there was something specific going on with this house you wanted to see but generally if you request to see a property the seller's agent will schedule an appointment to show you the property. There are folks today that will put a bid on a property without first seeing it but it's not generally advised.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 20, 2011
No, a bid is not a commitment. It just illustrates that you are a serious buyer. You are not commited until you sign a contract and put down a deposit.
Web Reference: http://ninaharrishomes.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 20, 2011
I've seen this happen in cases where the home is rented and the owner doesn't want to disturb the tenants unless they have a serious buyer. Not sure if that is the case here but might be the reason why they want the bid first.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 19, 2011
In my opinion the owner doesn't really want to sell the house if they refuse to let you see the house before you can see the house. What I would do is tell the owner that you are very interested in the home but you do not feel comfortable in a bid until you have seen it. That is not unreasonable, I would stand my ground and what is meant to happen will. I wish you the best of luck in your home search!!!!!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 17, 2011
The seller appears to be weeding out the low-ball bidders right at the get-go. My first reaction was surprise. If this tactic catches on, it actually could be a good thing for the San Diego market (which I used to visit on a regular basis). Buyers may give up this practice of making ridiculously low bids.

I don't know if I like it. I certainly don't give the seller points for style.

In this strange market we're in, I shouldn't be surprised at anything.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 17, 2011
It seems you are dealing with a very unusual seller and listing agent...but the seller can set the ground rules for the sale as long as the rules comply with local and state laws. As long as your agent provides the proper verbiage in the contract giving you an escape clause...so if you don't like what you see upon inspection you are not obligated to move forward with the contract offer. A simple inspection clause will give you exactly what you need to walk from the deal if not satisfied with the results of the inspection.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 17, 2011
I've never had a situation like that, but if you really like the home don't be too concerned about it. You would have to have a fully executed contract for you to be bound to that property. Kind of a strange approach to showing a home, but if you like it you may have to do what you have to do.

Best Wishes!

Tami Gosselin
Web Reference: http://www.tamigosselin.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 16, 2011
No its not a commitment to buy, as long as your agent makes the other agent aware that its a "sit unseen offer" when you see the home if you dont like it the bid is void.

and to tell you truth there are to many homes on the market to have some agent nit pik about an offer there must be a reason behind the mandatory bid requirement. i have never dealt with anyone in that manner. If you like the home you should be allowed to view it. with ot without a bid.

Leon Cruz
Realtor, Investor, Property manager
Orlando florida.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 16, 2011
A bid is the first step of many steps you need to take in order to buy a house. Biding doesn't mean that you are married to house. Bid will only allow you to negotiate with the seller. You would have to actually sign a contract and put a deposit on the house for you to be liable.
Hope this helps!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 16, 2011
I am a first time buyer as well, closing early in Jan. There is absolutely no way I would make an offer on a loaf of bread,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 15, 2011
As others have stated, I have seen this on investment properties with tough tenant situations and the Seller wants to make sure they have a transaction before disturbing the tenant, but it is fairly uncommon and there are other properties to consder in this market.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 14, 2011
Get another agent. She or he is not negotiating for you and representing your interest. I can think of no case where you would be required to submit a bid/offer without viewing the property.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 14, 2011
As a Licensed Realtor in Maryland and DC, that works with both First Time Home Buyers and Investors, my advice to you will be to find another agent to represent you. The fact that you are being told to submit an offer on a house in order to view it, raises a red flag and should never be a recommendation from a professional who is working with your best interest in mind. Never, Never, buy a home as a home buyer who iintends on occupying a property as an owner occupied residence, without first getting a home inspection. I also make this recommendation to my investors as well. Hope this helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 14, 2011
of course not! never make an offer on a home you haven't inspected inside and outside with your own eyes.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 14, 2011
Wow, practices really vary region to region. I've not heard of this approach here in NJ...I learned something new today. I imagine any offer submitted to gain entry to the property would be conditional upon seeing it. Likely a way to show only to prospective buyers who are preapproved. For higher end properties here in NJ, it is not uncommon to ask for a proof of funds to gain clearance for an appointment for a showing.

Jeanne Feenick
Unwavering Commitment to Service, Unsurpassed Results
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 13, 2011
This is a little more common in Orange County and other areas in California. Often happens when a home is low priced, sometimes intentionally, to attract a lot of attention. Sometimes this is due to less than cooperative tenants, or multifamily properties, owners don't want to upset their tenants by disrupting them with every potential buyer.
A good agent can guide you through the process safely, without any risk.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 13, 2011
I would not recommend submitting an offer without viewing the property first. Purchasing a home is way too big of a decision to make without doing your homework. Viewing the property would only be the first step.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 13, 2011
Yes ma'am you are correct about the bid. I would never put a bid in unless you had seen the home. You would never buy a vehicle without first driving it. Homes work the same way. You need an agent who will work with you to make sure you understand the process of buying and take care of you as their client. Get a good buyer's agent who will look after "your" best interest. Also, remember the agent who's sign is in the yard is working for the SELLER unless they have explained and gotten your signature to work as a dual agent.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 13, 2011
Hi Karla,

You always want to see the house before you put in a bid. I would find a local realtor and have them show you the house. In Georgia it does not cost you anything to work with a buyers agent. The commision is paid by the seller so it is in your best interest to have a professional represent you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 13, 2011
Good advice from most below - Thankfully, this is not a common practice in the industry
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 13, 2011
Hi Karla- Before submitting a bid ask your Realtor what due diligence you have in California. Usually you havec an inspection period time fram where you can still back out. Your Realtor should know how to answer this. Good day!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 13, 2011
If the house is not up for showing then I would not place a bid. You should be able to see a property that you are placing a bid on. Now, if the question was were approved for a loan or can show means of purchase, then that would be understandable. Some people do not like for others to view their home unless there is proof you are qualified for the loan first. This sounds kind of shady to place a bid before viewing. Be careful on this one.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 12, 2011
Hi, Karla,

I understand your frustration. It doesn't feel right to submit an offer on the house you haven't even seen inside.
And no, usually it is not how it works. Usually you get to see the place before making an offer. But there are exceptions.
Questions to ask your realtor - why?.
It is possible that the place you are looking at is a short sale, and possible occupied with uncooperative tenants making it impossible to show unless you have an accepted offer. It is possible that the seller is not motivated to sell or show to prospects unless he is convinced they are serious about buying it ( submitting an offer would be the proof he/she is looking for ). Or it could be a number of other different reasons.
You don't have to do anything you don't choose, of course, but if you do like the home, at least from the outside, the location, price, size, etc, and possibly have seen pictures, I believe submitting an offer would be a good choice for you.
Remember submitting an offer doesn't mean there is no recourse back. You have a right to cancel your contract within your contingencies periods, usually 17 days after acceptance while your initial deposit is protected and fully refundable.
Good luck and let me know if I can help you in any way,
Real Estate Supergirl
Khrystyna Chorna
Allison James Estates and Homes
7 Horton Plaza,
San Diego, CA, 92101
tel: 619-808-7064
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 12, 2011
All good advise. An offer is a commitment to buy the house, although in San Diego all offers are subject to inspections. So even if you could not see the house before your offer, you can after you have an accepted offer.

Best advise...work with a Realtor that you trust and is looking out for your interests. Overall, I don't like making offers on unseen homes. Too many variables, but you have to decide how bad you want to see the home.

In this case, I would not work with the Realtor listing the house. Hire someone to be on your side. It costs you nothing because the seller pays the Realtor for both sides typically.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 11, 2011
Hello Karla~ You have just received a lot of great explanations and advice, but I am sure it may still seem very confusing to you, with so many different opinions too! I agree that although this is not a typical scenario, it does happen occasionally. As most of my colleagues said: most often, this scenario is used when there is either a tenant in the home making it difficult for the seller to arrange showings or the seller is making it difficult to show for some reason. Since you said this is the first house that you like, this may be just the beginning of one that "seems too good to be true"...so that may explain the great price and that may be the biggest reason that you like it! My best advise would be to find and work with a Buyers Agent that: is a REALTOR, who must uphold to a higher code of ethics and who:
1) Knows the area & inventory well
2) You would enjoy spending time with and who communicates well
3) Takes the time to help you navigate through the Home Buying process, and to hold your hand when you need it!

Get a good referral from someone you know who had a raving experience with their agent or look at online reviews and testimonials. Good luck finding the home of your dreams! Any of us here are more than happy to help!
Web Reference: http://www.ChrisGorno.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 11, 2011
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