When Two Buyers Want to Buy the Same House in Midtown -- What Should an Agent Do?

By
Real Estate Agent with Lyon Real Estate BRE #00697006

two buyers for same houseI work with such a wide variety of clients that it's rare to run into a situation where two sets of buyers want the same house, but that's what happened last week. I had showed a Midtown home to a charming couple, we'll call them the Andersons, about three weeks ago. However, the Andersons decided to pursue an REO that ultimately sold way over list and at a price outside of their comfort zone.

While I continued to show the Andersons other homes, I called my new buyers, we'll call them the Johnsons, and told them about the home in Midtown, which had a price reduction. The Johnsons fell in love with the Midtown home and wanted to make an offer. The deadline for offer submission, due to a multiple-offer situation was three days away. I suggested they wait until day three to write the offer, after I had a chance to review how many other offers had been submitted with the listing agent.

Meanwhile, wouldn't you know it, the Andersons called to say they had changed their minds and they, too, wanted to write an offer on the Midtown home. Holy, toledo. There was no way I could adequately represent both the Andersons and the Johnsons on this home, even though I could have asked them to sign an authorization form allowing me to represent them both, it would have been wrong.

I could have referred out one of the parties to another agent. But which would I refer? The Andersons saw the home first, but the Johnsons were the first to ask to write an offer.

Seemed to me the smartest thing to do was to find the Andersons a home they would like better. Sure enough, it's like the stars were aligned or something, the next morning a new listing came on the market in East Sacramento. It was priced higher than the Johnsons could afford, but it was the right price for the Andersons. Plus, it had one feature that was more important to the Andersons than the Johnsons. In fact, it was perfect for the Andersons. I called them right after touring the home.

"Guess where I am," I said, "I'm standing in the back yard of your new home. How fast can you get over here to see it?"

We made an appointment to show. I met them on the front steps. Mr. Anderson shook my hand, looked me squarely in the eyes and warned, "Just so you understand, we still want to make an offer on that Midtown house!"

I couldn't help it. This large smile spread across my face, and I nodded, crossing fingers behind my back. "Let's not jump the gun," says I, "until you see this home."

The Andersons walked through the home and stopped dead in their tracks when they reached the back yard. They didn't say anything, but I could hear the wheels spinning and see the electricity shooting out of their ears.

Eureka! They forgot all about that other house in Midtown, immediately wrote an offer on the East Sacramento home and we got it accepted. Two days later, I submitted an offer for the Johnsons on the Midtown home, and even though that, too, involved mutliple offers, their offer was accepted as well. Both the Andersons and the Johnsons found their "dream" homes; both got exactly what they wanted.

Whew. Who says real estate isn't fun???

elizabeth weintraub sacramento real estate agent in land park

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Elizabeth Weintraub is an author, home buying expert for About.com, a Land Park resident, and a veteran real estate agent who specializes in older, classic homes in Land Park, Curtis Park, Midtown and East Sacramento, as well as tract homes in Elk Grove, Natomas, Roseville and Lincoln. Weintraub is also a Sacramento Short Sale agent who lists and successfully sells short sales throughout the four-county Sacramento area with an emphasis on Elk Grove. Call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759. Put 40 years of real estate experience to work for you. Broker-Associate at Lyon Real Estate. BRE License # 00697006.

The Short Sale Savior, by Elizabeth Weintraub, available with free shipping.

Photo: Unless otherwise noted in this blog, the photo is copyrighted by Big Stock Photo and used with permission.The views expressed herein are Weintraub's personal views and do not reflect the views of Lyon Real Estate. Disclaimer: If this post contains a listing, information is deemed reliable as of the date it was written. After that date, the listing may be sold, listed by another brokerage, canceled, pending or taken temporarily off the market, and the price could change without notice; it could blow up, explode or vanish. To find out the present status of any listing, please go to elizabethweintraub.com.

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Show All Comments
Ambassador
1,551,985
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

Elizabeth, your great knowledge of new inventory on the market saved you on this one and also knowing the hot buttons of your clients. It's a perfect example of why you are so good in the real estate field. It's why I keep coming back to learn from such great experiences you have.

Sep 13, 2008 04:04 PM #1
Rainmaker
1,223,966
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Hi Gary: I prefer to think it's intuition. When you spend enough time with buyers asking "what did you like and why did you like it?  -- "What didn't you like and why don't you like it," you develop a sixth sense. :)

elizabeth weintraub sacramento real estate agent in land park

Sep 13, 2008 05:03 PM #2
Rainer
152,829
Fred Chamberlin
Guild Mortgage Co - Oak Harbor WA - Oak Harbor, WA
Oak Harbor/Whidbeynulls, #1 Experienced FHA Mortgage Consultant

I think it was probably hard work on your part. Great ending to the story. Congratulations.

Sep 13, 2008 06:24 PM #3
Rainmaker
722,342
Barbara S. Duncan
RE/MAX Advantage - Searcy, AR
CRS, GRI, e-PRO, Searcy AR

Elizabeth, you are one S M O O T H cookie.  You came out smelling like a rose on this one.  You do know that is an old Southern saying? 

Sep 13, 2008 08:29 PM #4
Rainmaker
1,223,966
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Hi Fred: I love it when things work out. I never really think of what I do as "hard work" because it's such "fun" work!

Hi Barbara: Do you mean "smooth cookie" or is "smelling like a rose" a Southern expression? You can tell, I suppose, that I'm "southern" deficient. :)

elizabeth weintraub sacramento real estate agent in land park

Sep 13, 2008 08:39 PM #5
Rainmaker
722,342
Barbara S. Duncan
RE/MAX Advantage - Searcy, AR
CRS, GRI, e-PRO, Searcy AR

I think they both are!  I'd meant "smelling like a rose" but smooth cookie must be southern too. 

Sep 13, 2008 08:48 PM #6
Rainmaker
333,215
Thesa Chambers
Alpine Real Estate - Bend, OR
Principal Broker - Licensed in Oregon

you rock - I hate it when this happens - it is nice for things to work out

Sep 14, 2008 01:10 AM #7
Rainer
122,139
Kirsten Mellinger
Emerald Funding & Realty - Simi Valley, CA
Ventura County Real Estate

I relate to the pit in your stomach that you must have initially had though!!!  Conratulations!  Wishing you 2 super smooth escrows!!!

Sep 14, 2008 11:29 AM #8
Rainer
256,188
Debi Ernst
St. Charles County, Missouri - Prudential Alliance Realtors - O'Fallon, MO
GRI, e-PRO, Broker/Sales Associate

Elizabeth - That's a wonderful story!  I'm sure your clients appreciate what a great agent they've got...  :)

Sep 14, 2008 12:15 PM #9
Rainmaker
1,223,966
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Hi Barbara: I'm glad you clarified that because I honestly would have no idea without my Southern friend to help me out.

Hi Thesa: It doesn't happen to me very often. Thank goodness.

Hi Kirsten: Yeah, the pit in the stomach is an understatement. I have to do what is right for both buyers.

Hi Debi: I'm glad you liked it. :)

elizabeth weintraub sacramento real estate agent in land park

 

Sep 14, 2008 08:45 PM #10
Rainmaker
123,195
Elaine Hanson
Snyder Sutton Real Estate - Topanga, CA
REALTOR - Topanga, CA Real Estate Agent

Your strong sense of doing what's right and your quick on your feet response is very impressive.  I know of agents who would have made both offers -- I just don't get how that can serve one's clients.

Thanks for telling your story.

Sep 16, 2008 12:20 PM #11
Rainmaker
1,223,966
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Well, Elaine, can't say the thought didn't cross my mind, heh, heh, but I have conscience that I listen to.

elizabeth weintraub sacramento real estate agent in land park

Sep 16, 2008 06:11 PM #12
Rainmaker
171,839
Cynthia Bartch
Home Stager/Property Stylist & more! Granville, Ohio - Granville, OH
Redesigned Spaces; All Round Nice Gal

Hi Elizabeth, I couldn't wait to see how your situation turned out. Your understanding of the clients wants & needs plus keeping up w/ the new listings landed you 2 very happy clients. Congratulations to you!

Sep 16, 2008 06:46 PM #13
Rainmaker
1,223,966
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Hey, thanks, Cynthia. It's a never ending challenge in real estate, which is one of the reasons I love it so much! You never know what the next day will bring. Sometimes I dream about my clients and finding the right home choices. I envy agents who can leave it all behind them once the clock ticks 5 PM. Truly, I do. I'm just not made that way, but sometimes I wish I was.

elizabeth weintraub sacramento real estate agent in land parkelizabeth weintraub sacramento real estate agent in land park

Sep 16, 2008 08:56 PM #14
Rainer
22,617
Celina Gleason
AgentOwned Realty - Manning, SC

Whoo hoo!  That's what we southern agents say about that quick move!  Congratulations on landing both deals! 

Sep 16, 2008 09:23 PM #15
Rainmaker
1,223,966
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Thanks, Celina, but I think I just got lucky. Or desperate. Hard to say which.

elizabeth weintraub sacramento real estate agent in land park

Sep 16, 2008 09:25 PM #16
Rainmaker
188,757
League City, TX - Worrell Team, REALTORS, GRI, CNE
Bayou Properties Realty - League City, TX

But what happens if they both insisted on the same house?  I think you would have to refer them both out in order to stay true to the code of ethics.  You can't share confidential info from the 1 client you refer out to the client you keep - but then again, you have to in order to act in that client's best interests... sticky, sticky, sticky....

I like your ending much better than what might have been.

Feb 27, 2009 11:06 PM #17
Rainmaker
1,223,966
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Hi Brian: I see you totally understand the REALTOR Code of Ethics. Some agents don't.

elizabeth weintraub sacramento short sale agent

Feb 28, 2009 09:49 AM #18
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Rainmaker
1,223,966

Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents

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