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Verbal Offers are a bad ideaWhat is a verbal offer to buy a home?  Simply put, it’s when a home buyer and his or her or their agent won’t bother to write up an offer on a proper form such as the PRDS or CAR contracts, but verbally tells the seller or the listing agent of a price that the buyer would offer for the property.

This is a terrible idea, whether you’re a buyer or seller.  But why?

First, there are a LOT of terms in the offer besides just the price.   They include things like the loan amount and percentage (80% loan to value ratio or something else), the amount of the initial deposit, whether the buyer is preapproved or not, the number of days for various contingencies, how long the escrow should be, what personal property should be included, and much more. Often those terms are extremely important.  Consider just one: all cash versus financed!  A verbal offer is usually only the price being floated by.

If a home buyer is sincere about purchasing property, he or she will get it in writing and be specific about the myriad of terms that are part and parcel of the agreement. A seller cannot fairly even consider a verbal offer because so many of the terms are simply missing in action.

In other words, a verbal offer is no offer. Many would refer to them as a fishing expedition or that they are “worth the paper they’re written on”.  Better real estate professionals will not waste everyone’s time with a verbal non-offer.

Want to buy a house, townhouse or condo in Silicon Valley?  Put it in writing.





  • Silicon Valley Realtor, selling homes in Los Gatos, Saratoga, San Jose, Silicon Valley, and nearby since 1993. Prolific blogger with a network of sites.