Someone Wants to Buy Your Home (But it’s Not for Sale)
You go to your mailbox and find a handwritten envelope from someone you don’t know. The envelope contains a letter offering to buy your home at a great price. But you haven’t even thought about selling. What now? Here’s what you should do when someone wants to buy your home, out of the blue.
Why would you get an unexpected offer?
In many parts of the country, inventory for homes is still at all-time lows. So buyers are sometimes forced to think outside the box. Some aggressive buyers take matters into their own hands, sending letters to homes in their desired neighborhoods, especially nice ones, and hoping for a winner. After all, what could it hurt?
Vet the buyer
If you have zero desire to sell, do nothing.
On the other hand, you might want to hear what buyers have to say and what they’re willing to offer. Or, maybe you would seriously consider an off-market offer. If so, vet the prospective buyer over the phone to make sure they’re serious. Ask how long they’ve been looking, if they’ve made other offers already, and what their desired areas are.
Ask why they chose your home. A buyer who contacts you, and only you, probably really wants your home, as opposed to those buyers sending postcards to 50 people.
Hear them out to understand their motivations, experience in the market, and possible price or terms, if any. You’ll likely need to show them the home. If they seem serious, do it. But as always, be cautious about letting a stranger into your home.
Get a real estate agent involved
If an excellent local agent helped you buy the home, consider re-engaging them at some point.
While buyers and sellers dream of consummating a deal and saving money on real estate commissions, it’s a better strategy to consult an honest and experienced agent. A good agent looks out for the long-term relationship, and being an adviser to an off-market sale is in their best interest as well.
Many agents will assist in an off-market deal for a reduced commission, since they don’t have to prepare and show the home for weeks or months.
Be aware that off-market deals may not pan out
These deals don’t always come to fruition for a variety of reasons. Often, it’s because the seller isn’t motivated enough.
And in nearly every off-market deal, there’s a struggle over the last few thousand dollars—which can prevent the sale from happening. The buyer wants a discount because they know the seller isn’t paying a real estate commission, or is paying a reduce one. The seller wants their market value because the home is worth what the home is worth. Both parties wish to benefit from the commission savings.
In most cases, if the buyer wants to buy, they need to pony up. The seller has what they want, and purchasing off the market is, in some ways, an opportunity the buyer needs to pay for.