I live in Southern California, in a neighborhood less than a mile from the beach, on a tree-lined street with great public schools and neighbors who knock on each other’s doors to borrow sugar. My kids can play in the street with their friends, we’re within walking distance of shops and restaurants, and there are a lot of notable residents in my 24-square-mile city.
This is clearly happening in communities across the country. “With so few homes on the market right now, real estate agents and potential buyers are inundating homeowners with requests and offers,” says Claire Trapasso, executive news editor at Realtor.com, which is owned by the same company as MarketWatch.
For her part, Compass sales agent Lily Goldstocker with the Misty Stewart Group in Dallas says she has seen buyers fall in love with some homes that are not for sale. As a Realtor, this means that “sometimes we’ll drop off a note, make a call, or even deliver some flowers to go along with our request.” “If homes in your area are getting multiple offers, that’s often the tactic they’ll go with,” says Goldstocker. Agents have access to the property before it goes on the market.”
What to do if you receive an unsolicited offer to buy your home
Personally, I have no plans to move, but I think given the right price, I’d be a fool not to take an offer that’s too good to be true. The problem is determining whether or not these interested parties are legitimate, or whether the landlords are just trying to drum up new business.
Trabasso emphasizes that while many of these offers are legitimate, others are not: “Homeowners should do some due diligence, taking into consideration whether potential buyers are working with a licensed real estate agent, and whether the buyers plan to To finance their purchase and if they can afford it.” “Provide a mortgage pre-approval letter from a reputable lender, and if any red flags arise, such as if buyers keep changing their offer or adding new terms,” Trapasso says.
Goldstucker says if the note is detailed or handwritten or the phone call includes specific details about your home, it’s likely legitimate. “If inventory is low in your area, a pre-printed flyer sent out to the entire neighborhood may also be genuine. If you call the number on the flyer and they don’t immediately schedule a tour, it’s not legitimate,” says Goldstocker.
Any time you receive an unsolicited offer, without viewing the site, “be skeptical,” says Justin Feil, realtor with The Feil Group at Berkshire Hathaway. “Investors sometimes try to get a property under contract just to tie it up and work backwards. There are also situations where people look to “In which investors have to acquire a property under contract and then transfer it to another buyer. Could it be a real buyer? Yes, it definitely happens.”
It’s also important to remember that just because an unsolicited offer from an individual buyer or real estate agent is considered legitimate, it’s not necessarily a good offer. “A seller’s agent can help you determine if an offer is a fair price. Unsolicited offers often entice homeowners with a flat-cash transaction, but those cash offers tend to be well below market value,” says Kate Wood, home expert at NerdWallet. It provides no room for negotiation.
However, real estate agents cannot sell homes if there are none available for purchase. “Since they typically work on commission, part of their job is often to drum up business. Many of the unsolicited mailings, phone calls and even text messages that homeowners receive come from agents looking for homes for sale,” Trapasso says.
If you receive an unsolicited offer from a company or investor, research it online. “Check their website and look for online reviews. To get an unsolicited offer from a business, head to the Better Business Bureau’s website. No matter the source, know that if it’s a printed card, all your neighbors have likely gotten it,” says Wood. “On her too.”
Ultimately, Wood says, homeowners tend to be at a disadvantage with unsolicited offers because they tend to take them or leave them. “Especially when a buyer is offering cash, they’re not looking to negotiate. Buyers are more likely to make unsolicited offers in very hot markets, which is exactly the market where sellers have the greatest advantage,” says Wood.
For this reason, Phil says it’s not uncommon to receive a genuine, unsolicited, unseen offer on the site. “It’s an everyday thing to get a message from an agent saying they have a buyer for your home because the inventory on the market is low. They may have a buyer, but so do a lot of other agents,” Phil says. As an unlisted homeowner, remember that you have leverage. “You don’t accumulate days on the market while you’re in the driver’s seat and you have to be able to control the pace, price (within reason) and timing of the trade,” Phil says.