File under "You never know..."
Some buyers of mine recently wrote an offer that we all figured was a lost cause… It was a great house and there was heavy competition. The listing agents had been touting the property as a “trophy”, which foretold an impressive outcome for the sellers. But my buyers wanted to try, and of course I couldn’t definitely say what would happen… because you never know!
A couple weeks before this, on the other side of town, a buyer had fallen in love hard with a house, and went through all the motions of putting together an slam-dunk offer… Pre-inspecting the property, thoroughly reviewing all the disclosures and comparable sales, doing research and reconnaissance on neighborhood pros/cons, commute times, etc. She even hiked the nearby trails with her dog to make sure the paths were being maintained and the poison oak cleared. But the morning offers were due, she decided not to submit an offer, assuming the high level of activity would cause it to sell beyond her means. I didn’t disagree with her reasoning, but again, you never know…
In scenario one, the sellers of that “trophy” house accepted a non-contingent offer that was $100,000 over my buyers’ offer. Although disappointing, we patted ourselves on the back for understanding that this was indeed the long shot we thought it was. But one day later, the listing agent called to tell me that those buyers decided to back out because the house wasn’t close enough to BART. (Note to selves: Check that out before you submit an offer!). In a surprise ending, my buyers’ fourth place offer, with contingencies and 100k lower, was accepted!
Back across town, it turned out that the multiple offers received were tepid, due to the fact that there was no yard and the kitchen was small, dark and dated — factors that my buyer didn’t mind — and the property sold for well under what my buyer was willing to spend.
Both of these stories represent a lesson that we can take from The Great One: You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. (Wayne Gretzky)
It’s almost always worth the ink on the paper to submit an offer, as long as it’s sincere, well-structured, and not frivolous. Since we truly never know what can happen, it’s good to be ready to take that shot.