Rules still apply to ‘sophisticated buyers’

Friday, April 22, 2016, Vol. 40, No. 17

It happened again today. A real estate broker representing a buyer called a listing agent and prefaced the conversation with “I have a very sophisticated buyer.” Will this ever end?

What follows, of course, is the explanation of why this oh-so-sophisticated buyer will never pay the list price or anywhere near because he knows exactly what has sold for what.

You see, he knows how to use the Internet. Yeah, he does.

Those comparable sales are ancient history. Republicans were once liberal and Democrats were the conservative party.

When an agent lays the “sophisticated” or “good business person” line on a listing agent, “blah, blah, blah” is not strong enough for what the listing agent actually hears.

Here’s what the listing agent really hears: “I am a wimp agent and I don’t have the nerve to tell the buyer that none of that comparable sales stuff matters here.”

As the wonderbuyer’s agent rambles on, this is what they are telling the listing agent: “We haven’t made any offers yet” because if they had made an offer or two they might have been told how unimpressed everyone around here is with their empirical data derived from hours of worthless searches through error-strewn websites.

And, by the way, that “cash offer” for $400,000 on the $500,000 house will not buy a cup of coffee. Buyer and their agents care not if the person borrows the money.

A cash offer with an inspection contingency with repair language is a summons for the seller to hire a contractor and then drop some cash of their own before they see any from J. Paul Buyer.

Then, they say, “I’m going to bring you a contract in the morning.”

This is only a slight faux pas inasmuch as an offer is just that, an offer from one party to the other to purchase or sell something. An offer is signed by one party.

A contract is signed by both parties and is binding, although often contingency-laden.

So unless this buyer’s agent is going to draft a purchase and sale agreement, have his buyer sign it and then somehow get to the sellers and dope them into mental submission, then have them sign his agreement without the listings agent’s knowledge, he is not bringing a legitimate contract.

I often wonder how the super buyer’s agents learn which adjective to use to describe these savant clients of theirs.

Do they walk in and announce, “Hello Mr. Realtor, I am Sam Snead and I am sophisticated.”

Obviously, it works.

I think I am going to by a new suit and go to Cleveland and find an agent and tell them how sophisticated I am so that I can buy several properties for 50 cents on the dollar.

Sale of the Week

Some call them ranches, while others prefer ranchers. This house could be either, but that is all.

It is not a cottage, not a bungalow, not a chance of being referred to as a Cape Cod or any of the assortments of architectural styles that Realtors once used to disguise a ranch style home. Now rebranded as midcentury modern, they are in vogue.

As in any home, the beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. And this beauty at 117 Chickering Park Drive evidently was not beholden to any eyes.

This sale is a good example of the fact that there are good deals even in a frenetic market.

At $145 per square foot in a $200 per square foot area, the clients of Crye-Leike’s Valerie Finch did well.

Perhaps they did well. If they are able to put $30 per square foot into the house and transform it into a more marketable home, they got a good deal.

The venerable Betty Borth gave it her best shot and is as skilled as anyone in selling these homes.

Borth noted it has a new roof, windows, driveway and dishwasher. The only problem with all of those expenditures is that they replaced big ticket items that were flawed.

Everyone expects a home to have a roof and a dishwasher and windows. Borth shot for the moon and, in this market, who knows what might have happened.

With an original list price of $649,000, the beauty slept.

Then 95 days later, her Prince appears accompanied by Valerie Finch and the deal goes down at a Maleficent price of $555,000.

The best news is that everyone lived happily ever after as they tend to do after a real estate transaction, no matter how many spinning wheels and good and bad fairies wander through.

Richard Courtney is a real estate broker with Christianson, Patterson, Courtney, and Associates and can be reached at