The Market

Spring brings standoffish sellers--and time-bombed offers

By Lucy Cohen Blatter  | March 23, 2012 - 8:33AM

If the StreetEasy forums are any indication, the NYC real estate market is not only entering its springtime boom, but some sellers are said to be acting like they have the upper buyers' market be damned. 

“This past week I've been in slow negotiations (via our agents) on a 1 bedroom UWS co-op," complains one of two would-be buyers snubbed by sellers. "Yesterday I told my agent to accept the seller's latest price which was at 2% under listing. My agent immediately called the seller's agent. 36 hours later we are informed the seller sent a text to his agent to ‘wait until after the weekend’ and is having an open house Sunday.”

A day later another spurned buyer started a separate discussion.

“I saw a condo I like and sent an email with the amount I am offering to pay. In the email I mentioned there is NO buyer's broker (I thought that would make them more interested in working with me). It was low, thinking that they would come back with a counteroffer. I made the offer on Wednesday but have not heard back since. I called and emailed the broker asking if they need any further information including any financial info but get no response. Is there anything else I can do?”

Most commenters suggest Buyer #1 add a 'time bomb' (deadline) to her offer, to stop the seller from shopping it around to other buyers. 

Others advised that she lower her offer price as time goes by without any word from the seller--by as much as 2 percent each week.  

As for Buyer #2, one commenter suspects that the offer wasn’t presented correctly: “The emailed offer should have a) offer letter w/ details of offer and your financial situation, lending plans and attorney information, b) financial statement with your basic assets/liabilities/salary info and c) per-qualification from a lender if financing. The (c) item can be sent in if requested later.”

Others wonder if the lowball offer may have simply been too low for the broker to alert the seller of an offer.

“The seller probably doesn't want to hear what he considers a low offer,” one commenter advises. “Buyers who offer low need to be patient-- if you want a seller's immediate attention then make an offer that will get their attention. You can't have it both ways....The fact that [you're not using a] broker also makes the offer seem less reliable."


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