A recent encounter with a private seller on behalf of a buyer client left me dazed and confused. As a big Seinfeld fan, the closest I could come to describing it was the episode where Elaine makes a new group of friends and Jerry describes them as a Bizarro world.
Here is the scenario. A buyer client expressed an interest in seeing a privately listed property. After visiting the property website, I left a message at the phone number provided indicating I had a buyer client wishing to see the home. After a few days and no return call, I left another message. After a few more days, I left a third message and upon receiving no return call, I informed the buyer client. It turns out the buyer client was able to visit at a weekend open house. When they inquired why the seller hadn't returned their agent's phone calls, she indicated she preferred email. For the record, so do I but I do return phone calls promptly!
The buyer client liked what they saw and asked that I inspect the home to get my thoughts. After seeing the home and doing some research on their behalf, I communicated my favourable opinion. They decided they would like to make an offer. I emailed the seller that I had a signed offer and asked when we could get together to go over it. The seller proceeded to take 2 days to return my email before informing me that they had received 2 offers and the house was sold. I thanked her for getting back to me and informed the buyer client.
About 10 days go by and we're still searching for a suitable home. I followed up with the seller to make sure the sale was firm as there are usually some conditions to be satisfied in an offer. The seller informed me that the buyer had a house to sell. I told her we didn't have anything to sell and asked if she would look at our offer. She indicated she would if it was a firm offer ie. no conditions. I asked if the other buyer had done a home inspection and she indicated they had not. I communicated all of this to the buyer client and they declined to proceed. They felt the seller had something to hide by refusing to agree to an offer conditional upon a home inspection.
As real estate karma would have it, the buyer client bought a home 10 doors away. The property website indicates the private seller's home is still for sale.
Finally, let me weigh in on the "proliferation" of private sellers on the MLS as the Globe and Mail recently exagerrated. I feed, house and clothe my family selling real estate in Waterloo Region. As a Realtor, I abide by the Code of Ethics of the Canadian Real Estate Association. I can assure you that I will act in a professional manner in all dealings with the public. All I ask is that private sellers do likewise because in the Bizarro world of real estate, no one wins.
Century 21 Home Realty Inc. Brokerage
"Delivering results since 1989"