Austin TX Real Estate - Hill Country Austin Lakeway Homes for Sale: A Buyer Sees a House How Many Times Before Writing an Offer?

A Buyer Sees a House How Many Times Before Writing an Offer?

When buyers look at a house more than 2 times, do you think they're trying to "talk themselves into the house"?  For the most part, a buyer looks at a house, decides to submit an offer, negotiates, and during our Texas "option period", they go back to the house and look at it again during their inspection and decide if they want to really move forward.  Sometimes, a buyer will look at a house twice before sbumitting their offer to make sure they're ok with the "option money" they might lose, though it's usually just only $100.

If you're a seller, and you see the buyer has made 5 appointments to view the house, what do you think?  9 appts?  12 appts?

I have a "friend" who is selling his house.  It's been on the market for about 8-9 months.  I didn't list it and neither did the person I referred them to because they wanted to list way too high.  They're excited because this couple has seen the house 4 times and they were waiting for an offer because the buyers "had to" like the house to see it so many times.  Then, 5 times, 6 times, 7 times...

They were very excited.  I didn't want to burst their bubble, but I explained that a buyer looking at a house that many times is trying to "talk themselves into the house".  They didn't understand.  I explained how most people know if they like a house or not after seeing it the first time, and maybe a second.  I said, if they needed to see it 7 times, one of them really doesn't like the house and the other is probably trying to convince the other about how great it is.

I further explained that if one really doesn't care for it, that the offer they receive is going to be fairly low and along with the low offer, they're going to be hard to negotiate with as they probably won't come up very much as the one person doesn't care if they don't get the house.

These buyers saw the house 9 times before submitting an offer. My "friends" emailed to brag about how they got an offer.

However, before having an executed contract, the buyers had seen the house 12 times!  Yes, 12 times!  My "friends" emailed to further brag about how the buyers "bought" the house (though it doesn't close until the end of the month), and bragged to another friend about how I didn't know what I was talking about.

I shrugged it off until I got further details. 

All I've got to say is, "Original asking price was $650k.  Offer was $430k.  After negotiating back and forth 6 times, the contract price is ONLY $440k!"

Ok, I've got one more thing to say, "WHO WAS RIGHT?!?!"

Comment balloon 16 commentsDonna Harris • January 26 2009 09:35AM


Donna - Usually, a buyer will make an offer (in my experience) after viewing the house 2 times.  Sometimes they'll make an offer after only the first time seeing it...I'd say that you were right.   :)

Posted by Debi Ernst, GRI, e-PRO, Broker/Sales Associate (St. Charles County, Missouri - Prudential Alliance Realtors) about 12 years ago

Some people just need to be nudged a bit.  2 times is not out of line, but any more than that and we need to question our skills or their motivation.

Posted by Steven Keefe (Coldwell Banker Sky Ridge Realty) about 12 years ago

You did the right thing by not listing the property.  Family and friends can become your worst clients. LOL

Posted by Taurus Monday (Coldwell Banker Cascade Realty) about 12 years ago

Donna - there was a couple that saw my listing 7 times (before I listed it) and it eventually fell through. You're right - 2 times to see it is a good sign, but 3+ times is a little concerning. Someone is definitely having to "sell" it to the other party. Oh, and good job for sticking to your guns and not listing a property higher than what it should be - it can be hard to turn down a friend!

Posted by Kim Dean, Simply Texas Real Estate - Broker/Owner ( about 12 years ago

Good for you.  I start to get worried when a buyer wants to see they house that many times too. 

Posted by Troy Ott (Coldwell Banker United, REALTORS) about 12 years ago

Interesting post here, Donna.  I haven't seen anything quite that drastic here.  Either its like you say and they're trying to convince themselves or they are obviously just indecisive.


Posted by Kris Kombrink ~ The Kombrink Team (RE/MAX Excels - Chicago's Western Suburbs) about 12 years ago

Most buyers I would say see a home 3-4 times before writing.  I have never had a 12 view buyer.  Ever!  LOL! 

Posted by Jim Crawford, Jim Crawford Atlanta Best Listing Agents & REALTOR (Maximum One Executive REALTORS®) about 12 years ago

Yes, it is a big decision but I wonder if they are going to be miserable in the house, you might want to keep in touch with the new owners so that if they decide to move again in 2 years you can get the listing :)

Posted by Lisa Collins (Sutton Group-Admiral Realty Inc.) about 12 years ago

Hi Donna !

I have only had 1 buyer in the last year put an offer in after only showing.

... I actually encourage a second viewing before putting in an offer so they see some of the things they may have missed on the first showing. Also, seeing it a second time has always seemed to confirm that they can see it as 'their home' in the future.

Funnily though, very few go back for a third time or more before the offer ! I would say 8 or 9 out of 10 of my buyers look 2 times, then put in an offer - or decide it's actually not for them.

.... 12 showings before an offer ? ... now to me that's just crazy talk !!!!

Cheers !


Posted by Sheldon Neal, That British Agent Bergen County NJ (Bergen County, NJ - RE/MAX Real Estate Limited) about 12 years ago

Debi, Thanks!! I like hearing that!!

CWB, I think it's more their motivation than "our skills".  I won't sell someone a house that I know they don't like. I'm not a hard-core "salesman".  I want them to make a good decision that they'll be happy with.

Taurus, I know!

Kim, My experience is also that the buyer who has to look many times will pull out.

Troy, Because you know something isn't right.

Kris, I heard the husband does NOT like the house, so the wife was talking him into it.

Jim, In your market *most* see 3-4 times?  Yikes!  I guess our "option period" looks better and better every day as it gives you the right to terminate for NO reason within a particular amount of days.

Lisa, Probably... the master bedroom is UPstairs!  That's going to hurt really bad in that price range.

Sheldon, I set a standard before we look at the first house, and I let the buyers know it's ok for them to like a house the first time they see it and the first time out looking.  It works about half the time, which are great odds.

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - about 12 years ago

Very interesting story, here.    I think you were right in your analysis of why so many showings, and therefore why such a low price spread.   Probably the selling price was close to your desired list price???   

Posted by Li Read, Caring expertise...knowledge for you! (Sea to Sky Premier Properties (Salt Spring)) about 12 years ago

Donna, good for you in referring the listing out.  I think eventually they will realize you were right all along.

Posted by Connie Betz, Top Omaha Realtor - Omaha Homes for Sale (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Ambassador Real Estate) about 12 years ago

Interesting and I agree.... If they are seeing a home 5, 6 or more times they are trying to talk themselves into buying it....

Charlottesville Estate Agent

Your friend in Charlottesville, VA 

Charles McDonald

Posted by Charles McDonald®, REALTOR®, Principal Broker®, Owner (Charlottesville Solutions) about 12 years ago

Donna, I agree that you only need to see it once or twice before making an offer. Funny that you were right on the listing price. Some people just have to try it themselves to believe it.

Posted by Lara O'Keefe (North Texas Home Finders) about 12 years ago

You know every buyer is different but I have never heard of people looking at the same house 12 times. One agent in our office the other day said she showed her clients the same house 4 times and I thought that was high...but I guess your fiends take the cake on this and how about that reduction?!?!?! As long as you have been in the biz you know when a DUCK is a DUCK! If you think of it do a part 2 on this and let us know what happens.

Posted by Teresa Harris, Denver . Lake Norman . Charlotte (Lake Real Estate, LLC) almost 12 years ago

Li, Actually, the selling price was much lower than the "market value", but the house was on the market for too long for too high, which creates a stigma, which creates a lower final selling price. Domino effect.

Connie, Oh, but they'll never admit it, but if they do, I'll get it recorded! LOL

Charles, Thanks for your perception as well.

Lara, Even if it's to their own detriment.

Teresa, The house should be closing today, so we'll see what ends up happening.


Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - almost 12 years ago