We're heading to Santa Cruz this afternoon for a brief holiday before Tristan returns to college, so I've pulled out my rental contract just to be sure my dates are correct.
Years ago, we excitedly showed up, bags in hand, at SFO 24 hours ahead of our trip to Hawaii, and while admittedly, it was a dumb thing to do, thankfully, it wasn't 24 hours after the plane had departed. Instead, we gained a day of no work, no phone calls, no appointments, and no stress (and went to the movies instead)! It may have been the best start to a vacation . . . EVER!
Here's a tale about the flip side . . .
Last week, I wrote about the multiple offers my "fixer" listing on E. 22nd Street in Oakland received, culminating in a result that overjoyed our grateful Sellers. What I didn't share was that eight of those offers showed up in my in-box, neatly packaged and with a general synopsis, outlining their terms - before noon - as instructed. (Thank you very much). The ninth offer arrived late in the evening, hours after we had ratified a purchase agreement. Moreover, of the nine offers received, it was by far the lowest. In fact, it was the only offer that came in under asking . . .
"Please confirm receipt of our 'ALL-CASH' offer, " the Realtor's email said, right before I headed to bed. (Really?) You must be kidding.
Mind you, I had posted the offer date and time in the MLS, printed the deadline on multiple flyers, placed a BOLD, CAPITALIZED notice at the house, had followed up several times with every Agent who had requested a disclosure package (54 to be exact), and added the timeline to nearly every email correspondence request. In short, the deadline wasn't a SECRET to anyone who was paying attention!
"Thank you for your interest," I politely responded. "We are currently in contract with a back-up offer in place."
Better late than never??? (Not Really.)
Here's the thing, when multiple offers are in play, Sellers often have several good offers to consider. Why in the world would I coach them to pick an offer that was not only short on price, but missed the deadline by hours, without so much as a phone call to let me know it was on its way? (I wouldn't.)
(BTW - three of the other offers were also cash, although the winning bid was not.)
Here's the thing ALL-CASH Buyers need to know . . . unless you are at the bargaining table alone, CASH DOES NOT EQUATE TO A DISCOUNTED PRICE (!); it merely places you at the head of the line. Although CASH offers immediately remove the uncertainty of an appraisal and eliminate the loan contingency altogether, Sellers will happily wait the additional 2-3 weeks for MORE money - as long as the other terms are equal - and they often are.
Which isn't to say that cash is no longer king (it is), but that there is NO savings associated with plunking down a BIG, FAT wad of bills. On the other hand, ALL-CASH offers, or large down payments can certainly prove to be the tipping point when two offers are neck-and-neck as was true of the sale on E. 22nd Street, but carry less weight if someone else has stepped in with a much higher bid! (But you knew that already, right?)
Still, before any of these nuances come into play, you need to get your offer to the appropriate parties ON TIME! (You feel me?) If your Agent can't do that, you're already out of the ball game and that's too bad. At least give yourself a fighting chance. (Hint: that will never happen if you are writing below the list price in a multiple bid!)
How can I help you?
Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 15 years and has published more than 500 essays. She is also a frequent contributor to the Sound Off column in the Real Estate section of The San Francisco Chronicle.