The Waiting Game: Behind The Scenes Of An Offer Presentation

From the moment you present your offer, to the moment you’re either driving home with your tail between your legs, or celebrating a client’s purchase, several hours can transpire.  But as I told my clients, only a few short minutes is spent with the sellers.

The rest of the time?  It’s a waiting game.

Last week, I sat in my car, twenty feet from a competing agent in his car, and we both waited to find out which one of us “won.”

Here’s a video from when the action went down…

And to make this victor even sweeter, I was able to tell my clients that they won by exactly $131.

True story.

The sellers and the listing agent were signing the papers, when I happened to notice a small piece of paper – a business card, actually, with some writing on it.

I thought I knew what it was, so I cozied up to the seller and asked if I could help him go through the paperwork.

He obliged, and I was able to get a clear look at that business card, which had four numbers on it:


And the last number was double-underlined and circled.

It looked to me like our initial offer of $1,455,000 was behind by a thousand bucks, and when we both came back, with our “improved” offers, our magical “131” number, which represented January 31st, when my clients got married, was what made the difference.

I then asked the sellers, “Hey, do you mind if I get a photo of you guys signing the papers so I can send it my clients?”  They obliged, and I got a photo – with that business card and the numbers written on the back in the photo, to show my clients just how close their margin of victory was.

I do this three or sometimes four nights per week, and I’ve become almost desensitized to it.

When I told my clients they got the house, I said, “Open a bottle of champagne, and celebrate!”  One of my clients said, “I’m already drunk.  I couldn’t handle the anxiety tonight!  I have no idea how you do this all the time!”

Like I said, if you do it enough, it becomes habit.  It’s part of the business, and you lose as often as you win – many agents lose five times as much as they win; it’s simple supply and demand.

But when that agent came out of the house, as you saw in the video, I honestly had no clue whether I won or not; how could you?

As I told my clients, “We have a 50/50 shot, and in this market, I’ll take those odds!”

Perhaps next time, I’ll be on the opposite side of that coin flip…


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  1. Donny says:

    Why would they send you back when you were $1000 apart but not when you were $131 apart?

    1. condodweller says:

      One has to assume the fair market price as determined by the two agents was below the 1,475,131 which the seller’s agent would also know and with only two competing offers he/she thought the risk of both buyers walking after improving by $20k was too great to risk another round.

  2. Ted L says:

    One thing that I have never understood is why a lot (most?) offers take place at the sellers’ house as opposed to the selling agent’s offices. Would make a lot more sense if you can sit in the warmth of a waiting room with CP24 playing in the background, as opposed to freezing in your car.
    Also, are the buyers generally sitting in their cars too (or at a nearby coffee shop) waiting patiently in case they have to sign an amendment? Wouldn’t it be easier if the buyer’s agent has access to the selling agent’s fax machine/e-mail so the buyers can wait at home?

  3. Wut says:

    I watched this happen last night for a house across the street. 6-7 agents that I could tell with paperwork, however only 2 officially registered offers. It seems to me like they are trying to play games and make an offer but without creating the appearance of demand?

    It took about an hour, now waiting to see what the accepted price was.