La Canada Flintridge & La Crescenta Real Estate | Harb & Co.

The Allure of an all Cash Buyer, Purchasing a Home Over the Internet Sight Unseen

We all hear stories of cash buyers buying property from the Internet sight unseen.  Typically, foreign money hoping to invest or looking for a place for their college bound children to live.   I have never sold a property sight unseen and to the best of my recollection never received a telephone inquiry to do so until the soap goddess called me on my Flora Morgan listing.

She was off her soap and living in New York.  Apparently her soap called her back and not willing to sell her New York home, she was hoping to find something in Flora Morgan’s price range and to pay cash.  She was intrigued by the private setting and treetop views.  The guest house was a plus because she could have live-in help.

She wanted to wrap it up quickly; didn’t want anyone going through the scheduled open houses.  She wanted to write a full price cash offer. She only wanted it contingent upon her contractor checking out the home (she couldn’t be bothered).   Warning bells went off, another over exuberant buyer.

I saw it on my Princess Anne listing in La Canada priced at $1,595,000.  An over exuberant buyer offered $1.895, 000.  I provided them with the property disclosures indicating that there was likely mold, the roof leaked and there may be structural issues as the driveway was lifting.  No problem, they wanted the house.   The seller accepted the offer and three days later the buyer wanted a $400,000 price reduction because he claimed there was mold and structural problems.   I quickly resold it to another buyer who had originally offered a more reasonable $1,725,000.  We closed and they are currently fixing the home (uncertain if it will be a flip or their home).

So, back to the soap goddess.  I told her I would send her all of the photographer’s photos.  My job as the seller’s listing agent is to package the listing.  I hire a photographer and post only the best photos online.  I emailed her all of the photos and the floorplan.  She had questions, and felt the guest house was too close to the home.  “Yes, it is close that’s why I wanted you to have the information so you could have a better idea of what you are wanting to purchase“.

It was never my intention to talk her out of the home; I just wanted to be certain that if she made an offer on the home without looking at it,  she would close escrow.   The seller and I are more interested in closing the escrow than opening one.   I prepared the full price cash offer and emailed to her for her review, and also emailed the seller’s disclosure statements.   I am uncertain of the process in New York, but in California most home sellers (other than institutional type) are required by law to disclose facts and defects, which materially effect the value or desirability of their home. The Transfer Disclosure Statement (T.D.S.) helps the seller meet this requirement by providing a standardized format for most basic information.  Full disclosure can reduce or eliminate the possibility of later legal action.

In a perfect real estate world, I prefer to provide the buyer the completed disclosures at the time the buyer writes an offer. We can disclose the known defects of the home; the buyer can take these items into consideration when determining their offered price; these deficiencies should not be renegotiated at the time of the buyer’s physical inspection.  I felt it was particularly important to review the disclosures with the soap goddess so that she understood what she was buying.

It did not go well!

Once she got over her sugar high of online marketing, and reality set in, she ran for the hills.