The look on Antonio’s face when I showed up with seven different offers in an inch-thick folder was priceless!
He was nervous enough as a first time buyer, but now I was going to walk him through the strategies involved in trying to secure this property under the ridiculous conditions with which we were working.
My goal was simple: force the other side to look at our offer, without the 72 hour irrevocable…
In a seller’s market, the seller calls all the shots with regards to the offer process.
If we were in a buyer’s market where sellers would move heaven and earth to get an offer on their property, you could probably give them an offer with a one-hour irrevocable and say, “The clock is ticking, my friend!”
But today, tomorrow, and in the foreseeable future, the seller has all the power.
For the property on Ontario Street, the seller requested 72 hours to review the offers. He wanted offers on Monday, and he wanted them good until Thursday.
I hated the idea right from the get-go.
It gives the seller far too much power and far too much time to play games and use shady tactics!
As part of my “plan a,” I had Antonio sign an offer that was good until 11:59PM on Monday evening. We offered $450,000 for the house that was listed at $415,000, and our offer was unconditional.
The house needed some work, and we figured that most buyers would have a condition on home inspection.
We also secured Antonio’s mortgage in advance, and left out a condition on financing.
I faxed the offer to the listing agent’s office around 1PM on Monday afternoon, and wrote the following on the cover sheet:
Good until midnight
I knew our offer was the best, but for how long would it remain that way?
There were no competing offers until 7PM that night, so for a while there it looked like our offer might fly. In actual fact, for a while there we looked ridiculous! Offering $35,000 over the asking price when we were the ONLY offer?
That proved not to be the case, however…
I spoke to the listing agent at 7PM and he told me that there were two other offers.
He asked me why I neglected to give him the 72 hours that he “needed” to review offers.
I told him that my buyer was an incredibly savvy investor who owns a dozen houses in the downtown core. There was no way in the world he was going to leave his offer out there for three days, and thus we wanted an answer tonight.
I told the listing agent, “Our offer is the highest, right?”
He replied that he couldn’t tell me that, obviously, but it looked “pretty darn good.”
I told the listing agent, “Our offer is unconditional, right?”
He said that he was amazed that it was!
I told the listing agent, “You have until midnight to accept this unconditional offer for more money than anything else you’ve seen on paper. You’d be nuts not to take it.”
And you know what? He would have been nuts not to take it…..then and there. But with a three-day window to solicit other offers, anything could happen, and it did.
When my phone rang at 11:45PM on Monday night, I assumed that we were going to get the deal. But the listing agent told me, “Sorry David, but my seller doesn’t want to look at this offer yet.”
I was livid, and yelled back, “This offer is for the most money and it is completely unconditional. You won’t get a better offer and you know that!”
He said, “Maybe yes, maybe no, but my seller’s plan is to wait until Thursday.”
I told him that he lost his chance, and our offer was going to expire in fifteen minutes. We would not be submitting it again.
But sure enough, I had to eat some crow the next morning and take “plan b” into effect and re-submit a live offer for $450,000 so we could be back in the game.
Our “plan b” offer was with an irrevocable of Tuesday night, and this time I told the listing agent that we were going after a property on Markham Street on Wednesday, so we would NOT be re-submitting the offer again if he didn’t take it this time.
And of course, the listing agent called me back on Tuesday night to tell me that his seller did not want to look at our offer, even though it was “the best one, by far.”
What the hell was I supposed to do? I had submitted the best offer, TWICE, and the seller wasn’t going to accept it until he saw fit.
On Wednesday, I stuck to my story and when the listing agent called me to solicit my offer I told him that we had submitted an offer on a property on Markham Street that was irrevocable until midnight that night. I told him he should have taken my offer when he had the chance, and that I wouldn’t be coming back with the offer unless we lost out on Markham Street.
And that’s when he told me, “David, your offer is no longer the best one.”
After three days, somebody had submitted an offer that trumped ours. The listing agent didn’t tell me the price, but he said the difference was “double-digits” so I figured it was for $460,000. However, that offer was conditional on financing and inspection, while ours was unconditional.
So do you take the $450,000 offer and run to the bank, or do you take the $460,000 offer and hope that the buyer doesn’t find anything wrong with the house during the inspection, and is able to secure financing?
The listing agent told me that the seller wanted to “Go with the money.”
On Thursday morning, Antonio and I begrudgingly put our “plan c” into effect and claimed we had lost out on the Markham Street property and thus we were re-submitting our $450,000 offer for Ontario Street. We gave them until midnight on Thursday night.
Here is where my blood begins to boil.
The listing agent called me on Thursday night and told me that they were “working with the other offer.”
I wondered what they had to work with!
The offer was for more money that ours, so I figured that if our unconditional $450,000 offer wasn’t going to take the property, surely the conditional $460,000 offer would.
But the listing agent went on to tell me, “We signed them back at $475,000 and we’re working on it!”
Are you kidding me?
After three days, nine total offers, multiple submissions, and an offer that beats them all – you’re going to sign them back and ask for MORE MONEY?
The greed astounded me.
I was insulted as a Realtor, and just as a human-being.
This was greed at it’s finest hour; taking the highest of nine offers after a ridiculously unfair three-day waiting period and trying to squeeze out a few dollars more.
They were taking a risk, since if the other side balked at the $475,000 sign-back, the original $460,000 would be null and void and the seller would be left with nothing.
But something tells me that the seller would be willing to drag this thing out for weeks if necessary.
All of it made me sick.
I’m not happy about the multiple offer process, but it’s a reality in our marketplace and I choose to accept it.
But when a seller and his agent conspire to hold people hostage for an entire week, can’t we do something to right the ship?
I think there should be a set of rules put into place, across the whole Toronto Real Estate Board, to deal with multiple offers.
There is no way a seller should be allowed to take 72 hours to review offers. It’s unfair, and immoral.
There is a form we have whereby a buyer can ask the seller to sign an acknowledgement that he has, in fact, reviewed the offer. But is it really worth the paper it’s printed on? And when the seller is the agent’s brother, what recourse do we have?
They wanted their 72 hours to review offers, and they got it.
And I’m waiting with baited breath to see if they got their $475,000.
Antonio and I tried everything we could do, but it wasn’t enough. Our only option would have been to add money to our offer, but I’m the one that told him “It’s not worth it, and you can’t afford it.”
I thought about sending a complaint to TREB about this agent and his ridiculous tactics, but what’s the point? Is there any recourse?
Until we have a set of rules and procedures put into place to deal with multiple offers, everything is fair game.
Even the games that are completely and utterly unfair…