If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know that realtors do a lot of stuff behind the scenes. I often think that being a realtor is like being a synchronized swimmer. Everything on the surface looks smooth, but there’s a lot of frantic activity going on underwater.
This week, we got an offer on one of my listings from a buyer who’s had an eye on the property for quite a while. (Note that we often refer to “buyers” as “the buyer” and do the same when referring to sellers. Perhaps this is because the clauses in the offer, or Agreement of Purchase and Sale, use the singular instead of the plural.)
As the listing agent, the offer these days usually comes to me either electronically or by fax, although it can also be presented in person. (“Presented” is another term of realtor lingo; it applies to the delivery of the offer, however it arrives.)
At least two documents are presented: a Confirmation of Co-operation and Representation, and the Agreement of Purchase and Sale, or APS.
The Confirmation of Co-operation and Representation is the document that confirms the amount of the commision that will be paid to the agent who is representing the buyer, so everyone has to sign that. The APS is the actual offer.
When an offer comes in by fax, my office pages me immediately. The other agent will almost always let me know one’s on its way and when to expect it. We all know how important those offers are, and they are always time-sensitive: they will have an irrevocable period that means a time within which we have to respond or the offer will expire.
What I do as the listing agent once I get an offer is quickly review the offer for price, closing dates, conditions etc. and make sure that none of the essential dates for closing/title searches fall on a weekend or a holiday, that all the changes have been initialled, and that all the math adds up.
If I find something missing or wrong, I contact the selling agent. I also immediately notify my client there’s an offer and get a copy to them right away.
(By the way, the agent who brings an offer actually “sells” the house, not the listing agent. They’ve brought the buyer. I know: it’s counter-intuitive — it confused me for a quite a while too.)
Once the offer has been discussed with the seller, they can counter back. There can be quite a lot of back-and-forth and many counter-offers before an offer is either accepted or the parties decide they’re too far apart to proceed.
If they do reach consensus, however, the offer isn’t formally accepted until one of the parties (it can be buyer or seller or any one of them if there are multiple parties) signs the part in the APS referred to as a Confirmation of Acceptance and notes the time and date. The exact time an offer is signed time gets the clock running on any conditions: conditions will also have times within which they have to be fulfilled or waived, or the deal will collapse.
How much work is involved in getting to the offer stage?
You’d probably be surprised. I don’t keep track of my phone calls with clients (I’m no longer a lawyer so happily, the days of keeping timesheets are gone) but I have fielded or sent 543 emails since I was first approached to handle this listing and we’re not done yet.
I held five Open Houses (two for Agents only) that saw 116 people come through the house. And as you know, if you’ve read earlier blog posts on Selling a House (Episodes 1 through 10), we not only updated the house with new paint, flooring, lighting and cabinet pulls, but had it professionally staged and photographed.
So getting an offer in on a property can involve a lot of hard work, but it’s also probably the best part of being a realtor. It’s the moment, in our office, when everyone says, “hey, good for you.” It’s always exciting, and a day when you feel pretty great about doing your job.