The Seller’s Market Hits a New Benchmark, Shocking Two Realtors

”Yet one more technique,” says the listing agent—and how to handle it.

Surprise No. 1: Realtor Shawna Brooks contacted Realtor Deb Kent with a sight-unseen offer from her client on an Irvington bungalow, a four-bedroom charmer with a carriage house that was to be listed for $199,000. Kent scratched her head—she hadn’t yet listed the house or even begun marketing it as “coming soon.” Her client and Brooks’s didn’t know each other, so how did the buyer hear about the house through the grapevine?

Surprise No. 2: The offer included a contingency that was new to Kent, an experienced agent: The offer would be void if the prospective buyer didn’t like the house after a showing.

Surprise No. 3: Kent’s client accepted the offer!

Kent, whose agency includes staging and professional photography free of charge, is used to house-hunters lining up the morning a property lists and receiving multiple offers by the end of day. But the sight-unseen offer with a contingency of liking the house upon viewing is a new technique to her, and it might start happening more often as certain types of houses are now selling in days, if not hours. Kent gave the buyer an hour to make the decision after viewing the house and went ahead and set up other viewings for that morning, too, in case the sale fell through. The way she closed the sale while protecting her client is instructive for both buyers and sellers in this competitive market.

It was a novel situation for Brooks, too.