Motivation and Offers

On Sunday, it might not be the best time to think about motivations some owners might have or some of the considerations going into a sale.  I’ve had some odd experiences and over the years and I’ve become aware of the need to get as much of the story as possible, before making an offer.    

Some years ago, I can remember writing an offer on a home being sold in a divorce…or so I thought. It was obviously a difficult sale and the offer was geared toward sensitivity to the owner’s circumstance.   An option to remain for time after closing was a part of the offer.     Move time seemed important and I felt removal of a financing contingency, might make a difference.  We offered it as an option, since time was not an issue for us.  We also offered terms like the option to pick up maintenance prior to the sale and no cost for a period after closing. In considering the offer, I found loans and foreclosure information, leading me to believe this would be a short sale or cash at closing from the owner to pay off the loan. Oddly, no one seemed to be willing to negotiate the price at all or even respond to the offer. This was, by the way, a strong offer and a prequalified/proof of funds was attached. The offer failed and about a year later, the property sold at far less than our offer at a foreclosure auction. So, why didn’t we see a reply? Why wouldn’t a couple facing foreclosure consider or even reply to an offer? Knowing what obstacles might stand in the way of an offer or what each party might actually want, can make offers work. The failure to reply, underlined the importance of considering the “why”. Money, timing, wording of an offer is important, but I was convinced I’d missed something. Months later, I was told one party had hoped to purchase the property at auction…possibly through a family member. It explained a lot, but is something I might never know.

Motivation might be financial or emotional. It might involve ego and the way you present an offer. I tend to think of offers in hard/soft or aggressive/passive terms. Am I going to counter? Do I want to make my best offer first and what is the other side thinking? Words, response, demeanor and timing all might telegraph intentions and learning how to share information, without creating damage, is something that comes with practice.

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