Home Buyer Lost The Bid, But Won The House!

Home buyers, Frank and his wife were living in a small starter home in Fenton, MI. With three children and a fourth on the way, they had outgrown house and were looking for a big upgrade in Green Oak Twp.

The market was hot and multiple purchase offers on a single property were common. Frank had already secured a mortgage and was now “armed and ready” to secure a contract.

The Wind Up

After several weeks of looking, they fell in love with a large custom house in Hartland Township, Michigan. It was ideally located near main highways and a quick and easy drive into Brighton.

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The home was a beautiful 3,000 SF open plan featuring floor to ceiling windows along the rear of the house, wrap around multi-level deck highlighting the wooded backyard. The four-sided fireplace separated the eat-in-kitchen area from the spacious living area. A full finished basement with, beautiful wet bar, recreation room, custom brickwork and moldings and a walkout to patio under the deck.  Plenty of space for them all to spread out. They fell in love with it immediately and we placed a competitive offer.

Here’s The Pitch…

Well, as sometimes happens, we lost the bid to another buyer. We came in second. Although we kept looking, I knew my buyers had their hearts set on this property and as such, I kept a close eye on it.

TIP: Being outbid doesn’t always mean you lost the chance to obtain the property forever. What often happens is that something comes up during the home inspection and if negotiations turn sour, the home buyer pulls out.  

Even though I asked the listing agent to let me know if the deal falls through, I knew I couldn’t count on that. Most real estate agents don’t bother. So, I kept in touch through email initially. After seven days, I heard nothing so I tried calling the agent but my calls went to voicemail. 

Rather than assuming that everything was moving forward, I asked my assistant to inquire about the property directly through the listing brokerage. He called and asked if the house was still available.

Here’s the kicker…Thinking that that my assistant was a home buyer, the listing agent’s assistant told him the inspection had fallen through due to an issue with the septic field and although the seller was already addressing the issue through a septic company, the buyer walked away.  They were getting ready to place the house on the market again.

Now, the listing agent for this property was a ‘hot shot’ in the industry so I won’t mention his name here. Nonetheless, he knew full well that my buyer was still interested. According to the listing agent, our offer came in second place. So why didn’t he pick up the phone and call me as soon as he saw the writing on the wall? 

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I’ve listed and sold many properties and in multiple offer situations like this, and in my opinion, there are too many listing agents who don’t bother reaching out to the buying agents who have previously submitted offers on the property. I believe they do a great disservice to their clients.

TIP: As frustrating as it is, when a purchase contract falls through many Realtors will simply relist the property to “Active” and drag the sellers through the process again. I don’t like this practice and more often than not, think it’s unnecessary when you’ve had multiple offers.

Sliding Into Home Base…

We had to act quickly! I didn’t want my home buyers to have to compete for the same house twice, so I went over my plan with Frank and then proceeded to re-submitted our offer.

There are some key strategies home buyers can employ to gain an advantage when submitting a purchase offer. Read “Home Buyer Secrets – How To Win The Bid“. 

This time, I contacted the listing agent’s assistant and told them I knew of the current situation and that my buyer was ready and willing to step in after the remediation was completed. She wondered how I knew so much but was legally now obligated to present our offer to the seller once again.

Before the property even hit the market again, we were under contract. Frank, my buyer, was ecstatic! We were permitted to monitor the remediation which only took two weeks.

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Side note, we found out late in the game that the sellers were divorcing and needed more time to move. It’s always a good idea to work with the sellers whenever possible. Life throws us all curve balls, if it means you wait a couple of extra weeks, so be it.  Personally, I’m a big believer in ‘what goes around, always comes around’  to you.

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TIP: Even the highest bid can lose over another offer that gives the sellers some flexibility on closing and occupancy dates. Before submitting a purchase offer, have your Realtor find out what challenges sellers are facing.  More often than not, it’s timing.

In Frank’s case, the extra 30 days gave us plenty of time to list and sell his current residence and quickly find a buyer. In this instance, Frank was not reliant on the sale of his current residence and we had to make that clear to the seller. 

Tip: If you are reliant on the sale of your current residence to finance the purchase of your new home, my recommendation in this instance would be to secure a buyer for your current residence first. You can negotiate occupation date so as to provide you with the time needed to purchase your new residence. This places you in a much stronger purchasing position. Occupancy dates are negotiable and often change even after the contract is signed. It’s crucial you make sure your buyers are flexible before you sign the contract.

Key Take Aways

Through determination and a clear understanding of how most real estate agents operate, I was able to give Frank the advantage he needed.

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A big factor was that although the listing agent was unresponsive to my follow-up calls, I didn’t just assume things were moving forward.  This meant that I had to use a little creativity to find out what was really going on behind the scenes. Also, not to be diminished was Frank’s willingness to remain flexible with the seller. A really big plus!

I’ve been in real estate since 2011. I’m also a property investor and flipper and I use my experiences to the benefit of each of my clients.  The mistake I most often see is when consumers assume that all real estate agents are equal. This is a huge misconception.

I work with many Realtors every day. Some are terrible at communication and follow-up, that’s true. However, there are plenty of others I’ve worked with who are sincere, well organized, and take their fiduciary duties seriously.  These agents stand out and make the process so much easier for buyers and sellers. Every time I reach out to another agent on behalf of my client, I cross my fingers.

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Addressing The Elephant In The Room

Again, it bears reminding that this listing agent is a hotshot in the area and yet, he why did he fail to contact me knowing I had a ready and very willing buyer waiting in the wings?

Related: Tips To Buying Your First Home

The answer is pretty simple really, better to relist the property in the hopes the listing agent can secure the buyer as well and therefore, get both sides of the deal. In this scenario, he was willing to place his own interests ahead of his client’s.  That’s the truth and sadly, it happens more often than not.

As a licensed real estate agent in Michigan, I find this behavior disgraceful. I take my fiduciary duties very seriously and my first priority is always to my clients. It’s nice when I can secure both sides of a transaction and in that instance, I make sure that it benefits both the buyer and seller.  Communication is a whole lot easier when I’m representing both sides. Nonetheless, whether selling a home and/or buying one, my ciient’s best interests are my top priority and I do all I can to demonstrate that.

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Leave A Comment

What have you experienced as a buyer or seller? I’d love to get your feedback on this, your experiences or any questions you may have. Don’t be shy…

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10 Responses

  1. Matt's Mom says:

    Wow, sounds like I needed you when I was looking for a house!  I had the leading bid, but the other couple (who lost the bid) somehow got the owners to give them the house, even though it was for less.  I never could figure out what went on with that, and was I ever disappointed to not get the house.  A good real estate agent means everything!

    • admin says:

      Hi Matt’s Mom, Thanks for commenting. Yes, there’s often a lot of conversation going on behind the scenes that most people aren’t aware of. Price isn’t always the deciding factor in these situations. The trick is to discover what the Seller’s main motivation is. There are tons of real estate agents out there for sure. Some good, others not so much. You’re right, having a pro-active agent on your side makes a difference.

  2. Kehinde Segun says:

    This is mouthwatering. I came across this post when my mum needs a house. The house in Michigan really really is cool and contain a family of five, truly. What I have seen so far and experienced from the listing agents is that most of them don’t care about their clients at all. They only care about the profit they are going to make.

    • Annette says:

      Hi Kenhinde,  Like in any profession, some are better than others. I’m sorry you’ve had negative experiences. If you happen to be in my area (Livingston, Oakland, Washtenaw & Milford counties) let me know. I go all out for each of my clients because I recognize that buying and/or selling a home is no small matter in each of our lives. I’ve moved five times and counting so far. 

  3. Cris says:

    Wow. What a story. We had an experience once, where we walked a house right after another potential buyer had pulled their offer. We had an inspection done and come to find out, there were several things that needed to be fixed… totaling thousands of dollars. Our agent negotiated to stay at asking price if the sellers had everything repaired and provided documentation. It all ended up working out because of her follow through. Everything was fixed, and we moved in on time, without having to worry about any repairs after we closed. It was a relief, and we got the house we wanted! Does go to show that your agent can make a huge difference in your experience! Good of you to be one of the caring ones. It really will carry through in your career! 

    • Annette says:

      Hi Cris, thanks so much for sharing your own experience. Yes, having patience and a willingness to work with the seller often goes a long way to acquire your perfect new home. I’m happy to hear you had a positive experience with your own proactive Realtor. 🙂

  4. Adamu2 says:

    This is an interesting article about bidding for a house.house bidding requires experience, not all agents are bad.some can go to any length to reach their customers satisfaction while some don’t even bothered about customer concern. I gained some trust in your article. I will bookmark and contact you soon. Thanks for the insight

  5. Ayodeji says:

    Great article and wonderful writeup you got here. I like the tactics that’s are implemented right here and I wish I can make use of similar ones when I become a real estate agent. I’ve always wanted sites like this where experience about agencies are being shared, they really help and give others in the field an opportunity to learn more. Thanks for sharing this with your readers. 

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