Austin TX Real Estate - Hill Country Austin Lakeway Homes for Sale: Offer Submitted to My Sellers and Buyers Disappear

Offer Submitted to My Sellers and Buyers Disappear

An offer was submitted on one of my listings a couple of weeks ago.  The showing consisted of the buyers and their entire family.  I know this because they didn't make an appointment and just knocked on the door in which my sellers let them in because they were with an agent.  They arrived in 3 different cars, that's how many people there were looking through the house!!

I received an offer on the property the next day, YEAH!  Along with the offer, I received a pre-approval letter.  Great!!  I read through it, and it had the terms of the loan, including mentioning that it was a Stated Income loan, and it was on letter head for a company...

We countered the offer and received no response... I called the buyers' agent a couple of days later, and asked about the counter and he said he had not talked with the buyers.  "Can you call them?"  He says he will.... no call back...

I let a few more days go by.  "Have you spoken with them?  My sellers and I would like to work this out.  We all have the same goal.  They want to sell and your buyers want to buy."

His response is that they haven't found a house they like. "But, Angel, they submitted an offer on my sellers' house.  They must have liked it, right?"  His reply, "Yes, they really liked that house."

"Why have you not talked with the buyers about our counter offer."  His reply, "I tell you, these are difficult buyers and I haven't heard from them since we submitted the offer."

So, I decided to go ahead and call the mortgage guy on the approval letter.  I typically call the mortgage person on the pre-approval letters before we counter or accept an offer, but decided this approval letter looked more detailed than the typical one and it should be fine... DON'T EVER ASSUME ANYTHING!!

After a couple of calls to the mortgage company today to ask them if they've spoken with the buyer to see if they would like to move forward on this offer they submitted, this is how the last conversation went:

Receptionist- "You're the listing agent?"
Me- "Yes, I'm the listing agent.  I'm calling because I received an offer on a listing from this buyer and they attached an approval letter from Bob and I would like to talk with Bob to discuss this approval letter."
Receptionist- "But we don't have a contract for that buyer."
Me- "I know you don't have a contract.  They submitted an offer to my sellers, we responded to that offer, and the buyers have not responded back.  There is no contract right now, so you would not have a contract."
Receptionist- "I don't understand."
Me- "Can I please speak with Bob?  He wrote the letter."
Receptionist- "But that's the problem.  He said he didn't write a pre-approval letter for this buyer you mention.  What does the letter say?"
Me- I read the letter... "Can I just talk with Bob and try to get this cleared up."
Receptionist- "Can you fax me the letter you have so we can look into this?"

This conversation went on for about 15 minutes.  I did fax the letter and they were supposed to call me right back, and I haven't heard a thing from them, but they were also supposed to call me back a couple of times today when I left previous messages...

Bottom-line, even if the approval letter looks really good and is really detailed, don't take it as anything other than paper until it can be verified.  I broke my own rule on this one as I've blogged before about calling the mortgage person as soon as an offer comes in.  Bad, Donna!!  Bad, Donna!!

Then, I had to call the sellers and tell them that even if I get a returned call from the buyers' agent or the mortgage person, that we probably wouldn't want to move forward with this situation as it doesn't sound like there would be enough communication on the other side in order to facilitate an on-time closing...

What do you think?  Would you reconsider this buyer if they all of a sudden reappeared??

Comment balloon 19 commentsDonna Harris • September 10 2007 06:45PM


Was the offer a lowball offer?  I think they probably never expected it to go anywhere and were surprised when they got a response and didn't know how to handle it.  These are not the type of people I would want to deal with.  You could get well into the process and then they could change their mind.  I always get nervous when an entire family gets involved in a deal.  Everyone has a different opinion.
Posted by Joyce Jewell, GRI, ePRO, ASP, ABR, SFR, RSPS (Jewell Real Estate Agency) over 11 years ago
Of course my sellers thought it was a low-ball, but it was at about 91% of asking price.  And we countered VERY competetively at 95% so we were definitely within range as we were already priced VERY well and my sellers' counter actually surprised me.
Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - over 11 years ago
Sounds like a day in the life of a Las Vegas list agent!  The two out of three accepted contracts (yes contracts!) did close if it makes you feel any better.  Nowadays I would be a tad hesitant and it is stressful as all git go when you manage an escrow like that!
Posted by Renée Donohue~Home Photography, Western Michigan Real Estate Photographer (Savvy Home Pix) over 11 years ago
Donna it all depends on how bad you want the deal.  Somethings up definitely but you will be the rock star if you pull it off.  There are times when one agent has to do the job for both, for half the pay, but it results in more than just a paycheck to you.  You satisfied your seller and maybe shake up the buyers agent to want to work with you again, and hopefully do a better job next time.
Posted by Ian Butler, PA, ABR - Naples, Florida (John R Wood Realtors) over 11 years ago
Donna, if the loan officer never wrote the pre-approval letter then I would be very leery of these buyers again.
Posted by Jay McGillicuddy, Real Estate Broker (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Verani Realty) over 11 years ago
Interesting story.  Very suspicious buyers and listing agent.  I guess this is a lesson for all listing agents - do your homework on all offers!  Good Luck.
Posted by Linda Box Taylor, Your Plano, TX Realtor (Castle Connections Realty) over 11 years ago

Renee, People just disappear right and left in Vegas?

Ian, I'm trying to hold it together, but when the mortgage person doesn't even recall writing the letter, I'm not sure if there's a deal to save.  By their reaction, I'm thinking the buyer doesn't actually qualify for anything.

Jay, My thoughts exactly!!

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - over 11 years ago
Linda, Yes, I'm learning my lesson to obey my own rules, which is to ALWAYS verify the approval letter no matter how legit it looks.
Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - over 11 years ago
I'm with Jay - if they gave you a pre-approval letter from a lender who didn't sign it .... what kind of fraud might they get your sellers involved in?
Posted by Sharon Simms, St. Petersburg FL - CRS CIPS CLHMS RSPS (Coastal Properties Group International - Christie's International) over 11 years ago

Ya gotta check them out!!!

This could go in any direction. Crazy.

Funny thing, though. I almost NEVER get a call from the listing agent. Like I could count them on one hand.

Posted by Tom Burris, Texas/Louisiana Mortgage Pro - 13 YRS Experience (NMLS# 335055) over 11 years ago
Donna, how can you proceed with no communication ? That is weird, how did they get a PRE-approval letter from a company that never knew them.
Posted by Missy Caulk, Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate (Missy Caulk TEAM) over 11 years ago

Sharon, Those are my thoughts. It's weird, though, because there is an actual signature on the letter, not just the typed name.

Tom, Yes, we've discussed this before and it amazes me that you never receive calls from listing agents.

Missy, The company knows who this person is, but says they have no record of submitting an approval letter for them.  Their notes say the buyer hasn't even been looking at houses yet.

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - over 11 years ago

"Would you reconsider this buyer if they all of a sudden reappeared??" 

Not a chance!!! 

The odds are stacked against you that anything about the transaction will EVER go right.  No appointment, drag the whole family through, possible forged preapproval letter, possibly a lender without good record-keeping??, and a fellow Realtor with little ability to oversee his clients.

Posted by Sandi Bauman, Chico CA Realtor (Chico Homes Real Estate) over 11 years ago
Donna - I think I would be leery of this deal if they do come back. The whole story is kind of strange, right back to them knocking on the door for a showing without an appointment. There are a lot of red flags! Good luck, keep us updated
Posted by Mike Mitchell, REALTOR (R) (Real Living Kee Realty) over 11 years ago
IT all sounds fishey to me! The agent was rude in not scheduling an appt before showing the home, the mortgage company was rude in not communicating with you an not letting you talk to Bob. I would forget them. You can not deny them in making a new offer but I would make sure y ou get a really good earnest money amount (not some little $250-$500) to make sure these people are the real deal.
Posted by Cheri Smith, Realtor Prudential Gary Greene (Prudential Gary Greene, Cypress TX) over 11 years ago
Sounds like the agent on the other end was poor, the receptionist should have done her job and let you talk to Bob, and the buyers need a closer to work with them instead of this other agent.
Posted by Brandon Hoffman (RE/MAX Connected) over 11 years ago
I would really re-think if and when they come back. For now, I think it's gone. Maybe the right buyer will come by.
Posted by Loreena and Michael Yeo, Real Estate Agents (3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Prosper TX Real Estate Co.) over 11 years ago
Funny thing is that the mortgage company never even called to follow up after they swore they would when they talked with the buyer...  I hate when people don't communicate!!
Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - over 11 years ago
Donna...if you DO end up working with them, I would DISCLOSE, DISCLOSE, DISCLOSE any fears/heistations you might have about the situation to the sellers. Then, if they still want to proceed, you know you've done your due diligence in stating how you really feel.
Posted by Kim Dean, d + b real estate, McKinney, TX REALTOR Broker/Own ( over 11 years ago