Can you make creative offers with a realtor?
You certainly can. Agents will present any and all written offers to their clients.
Just make sure you realize this doesn’t make the seller’s agent your agent, however. At the end of the day, the seller has a relationship with their agent. They trust their agent and have hired them to council them as to what is in their best interest.
That means in order for a creative offer to be accepted, there must be some planning on your part and lots of good communication between you, the seller, and especially their agent.
It also takes good relationships. If the agent doesn’t trust you- even if your offer is sound- that mistrust can be communicated to the sellers when the agent gives them advice on what to do.
I want you to remember this saying: “Trust is the foundation of any transaction.” If people don’t trust you, they won’t do business with you. Even in an all-cash offer, the seller must trust you have the money to buy their house.
When you make a creative offer, you’re basically entering into a partnership with the seller. How much more important is that trust factor now that you’re going to be in a long-term relationship?
Forming relationships with agents so that they trust you takes time. You need to have a reputation for treating people honestly as well as knowing what the heck you’re talking about on deal structures.
You also need to have a reputation for always paying agents a commission. Here is a tip: toward the end of our written offers, we say, ‘The agent (by name) has worked real hard on this. We need to make sure (agent by name) gets paid their commission.’
That should go a long way towards building rapport.
Also, just because an agent is involved doesn’t mean you can skimp on your due diligence process. Agents don’t necessarily ask their clients about things like mortgage balances, interest rates, last refi, insurance rate… etc.
Getting that information is your responsibility. And because agents have a duty to be present to represent their client, you’re going to have to go the extra mile to get all parties present so you can get that information.
I just learned this lesson the hard way.
We just bought a subject-to-deal that was listed with an agent. The seller’s agent is a good friend and was able to vouch for us on our knowledge and good reputation. The seller moved out of town which made it difficult to get us, the seller, and the agent all present. So we had to use the agent as a go-between for information.
As you may know, a subject-to deal is the purchase of a house where the buyer agrees to make payments on the seller’s existing mortgage. Interest rates and mortgage balances are very important on these kinds of deals.
Long story short, we made our offer on the property based on the mortgage information supplied to us by the agent. The seller accepted and we put the property under contract.
It turns out the agent was given incorrect information. Because of that, we had to come out of pocket a big chunk at the closing table that we weren’t expecting. OUCH!
Who was at fault for that? I was. I got lazy and didn’t perform my due diligence correctly.
The lesson here is two-fold. We should’ve waited to complete our due diligence before we went under contract. We also should’ve worded the contract in such a way that if any information was incorrect, we could’ve adjusted the price to compensate for the error.
So it is possible to make creative offers and have them accepted using a realtor. We do it all the time. Just make sure you perform your due diligence as if an agent were not involved.
Joe and Ashley English invest in real estate in Northwest Georgia. For more information or to ask a question, go to www.cashflowwithjoe.com