Short Sale Offers- Is This a New Trend?

In the past ten days, I’ve had agents call me with “verbal” offers on three of my short sale listings.

Property:  House in Navarre FL   List price $114,000…verbal offer $70,000

Property:  Condo in Sandestin FL  List price $580,000…verbal offer $500,000

Property:  House in Niceville FL  List price $199,900… verbal offer $120,000

Is this a trend?  In each of these cases, the selling agent said the buyer absolutely would not or was not qualified to go higher than the verbal amount.  I wonder then why these agents were showing properties to buyers that were up to 60% higher the maximum price buyers were willing or able to pay?  In one case, the buyer was going to make an offer without seeing the property, and then wanted an “out” written up contingent upon a satisfactory pre-closing inspection. His agent even asked me how to draw up contract language so the buyer would not lose his deposit if he chose to back out.

First of all, as an agent, why waste your time?  Sure, some short sales or traditional sales are overpriced so that one might be able to procure them for 20% less than list, but 40%?  Why take that gamble?  When a buyer requests to see properties much higher than they are qualified for or are willing to pay, you are wasting your own time, the buyer’s time, the seller’s time, the short sale lender’s time, and the listing agent’s time.  In the current economic situation, I understand why many agents want to grasp at any possible way to make a sale.  However, one might be better off waiting for a qualified buyer whom you know has a reasonable chance of closing.

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