What is an offer? It depends.

By
Real Estate Agent with Total Realty Corp. SL#3200658
http://actvra.in/hbF

What is an offer?  Such a simple question- but one that seems to have a number of different answers.  So which one is correct?  The answer may well be "It depends".

In managing a number of properties over the years, I've given the pitiful-sounding "it depends" answer more times than I'll ever be able to count.  The response has bounced off the tip of my tongue many a time in dealing with my owners- with the "Do we have a lot of interest in my home?" question being a prime example.

The "interest" question is tough to answer, as you don't want to spout off a ton of stats that (while true) may get an owner's hopes up too high- and have them calling you every day asking why none of the "interested" parties have become tenants.  Likewise, you don't want to tell an owner that the sounds of nearby crickets are tough to handle and you just wish you'd get a call on their property so your phone would ring one danged time.  You have to have balance.

"Interest" to me means that someone has called about a property, made an appointment to see it (and kept it!), liked it a lot and submitted an application.  "Interest" to me has never been a random call from someone that just barely recollects what part of town a property's in and wants to know if the owner would accept his German Shepherd.  "Interest" has never been an inquiry about my $1,800/mo property where the caller wants to know if the owner would take $1,200/mo, and they'd only pay that if the owner threw in some type of move-in special. 

But should it be?  Should these things be "interest", and are these requests offers?  Well, that depends.  I've wanted a completed application on some folks as a gauge of their interest because it lets me do a great job towards upholding the fiduciary trust that owners have placed in me.  Someone truly "interested" in a place will apply for it (or at least look at it!), while a time-waster won't.  I feel my owners appreciate my discussing qualified folks with them- and that they'd view me in a negative light if I spent a great deal of time running down lists of everyone who's called and asked crazy questions.

But some have differing opinions- including folks in the legal community.  Some say "an offer is an offer" whether written or verbal, crazy or sane.  "An offer is an offer" whether the one making the offer is drunk or sober.  And "an offer is an offer" regardless of the conditions.  If someone asks about getting a property at 1/2 the marketed rent, call your owner and ask.  If someone asks if an owner will just let them stay in the house for free because they're cool folks, call your owner and run it by 'em.

I firmly believe in taking "offers" to my owners.  But I also believe that my owners hired me to do a job for them- and part of that job involves using my expertise and common sense to avoid calling them to discuss faux prospects' pipe dreams. 

Anyone care to offer their thoughts?

 

Posted by
 
DENNIS B. BURGESS
Property Manager

Licensed Florida Realtor
 
Total Realty Corp.
2683 S. Woodland Blvd.
DeLand, FL  32720
 
205-445-4755 cell/direct
386-734-5155 office
 
 
Turning vacant into occupied, and "houses" into "homes"SM
 
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Rainmaker
206,558
Gwen Banta
Sotheby's International Realty - Los Angeles, CA

Dennis, I have noticed that my NY clients are more apt to consider a verbal offer as a bone fide offer than my CA clients. I am sure this has to do with the different way business is done regionally. that being said, I always explain that if someone wants their offer to get a response with commitment, they must present an OFFER of ccommitment - which means ink and a deposit of goof faith.

April 07, 2011 08:50 PM #1
Rainmaker
374,104
Dennis Burgess
Total Realty Corp. - Mid Florida, FL
Orlando Property Manager and Realtor

Gwen:  Thank you for your comment.  This does seem to be something handled a bit differently from region to region as you say.  A real estate attorney I've used here says that her interpretation of Florida law leads her to consider ANY type of "offer" an offer.  She even stated that she'd known an actual case where someone had asked an owner (on a purchase) if they'd throw in an in-ground pool, and the owner agreed to it!  I'm thinking that's a fairly rare occurrence, though- and what gets frustrating these days is the double-edged sword of technology:  it's great that folks can find us with a click of a mouse, but not so great in that it's also incredibly easy for folks to use that same mouse to click off emails of "interest" to everyone in town.  Nobody can convince me that one's sending out "offers" to tons of folks with a "let's see if one sticks" mentality is all that great.

April 08, 2011 01:38 AM #2
Rainmaker
674,696
Rob Arnold
Sand Dollar Realty Group, Inc. - Altamonte Springs, FL
Metro Orlando Full Service - Investor Friendly & F

An offer to me means the person either filled out a rental application or at least showed some interest in moving into the place assuming they could qualify. Plenty of people make phone calls and ask questions.  And some people will go look inside the place and then turn up their nose at it regardless of price. Those people don't count. 

April 08, 2011 08:57 AM #3
Rainmaker
374,104
Dennis Burgess
Total Realty Corp. - Mid Florida, FL
Orlando Property Manager and Realtor

Rob:  That's my thinking as well, and thanks for bringing up another part of the equation I was remiss in not being explicit about:  some folks call up with outrageously low "offers" and refuse to apply, but others that do apply might as well have not done so.  I don't see how presenting a crazy "offer" from someone who's never anyone on time in their life does my owner/client any good- but I do see how it could surely do my reputation a bit of harm.

April 08, 2011 11:38 AM #4
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Rainmaker
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Dennis Burgess

Orlando Property Manager and Realtor
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