In the San Jose area, probably 90% or more of real estate purchase contracts are emailed to the listing agent by the buyer’s agent. In the old days, the standard of practice was to have a live presentation by the buyer’s agent to both the listing and agent and the seller(s). Can the buyer’s agent present the real estate purchase contract directly to the seller and listing agent in Silicon Valley? Yes – it’s just not so common anymore.
Either way, what happens after the contract has been delivered or presented? If it’s a live presentation, the buyer’s agent will be asked to either leave and be called later (or emailed) or requested to take a seat in the lobby (or in his or her car, if at the seller’s home) and wait while a private discussion happens between seller(s) and listing agent. From there, it could be some questions to clarify why things are a certain way (such as a low initial deposit, a long escrow or long contingency time frames). Questions aside, the response could be quick if it’s a super clean offer and the only one presented (or in the wings). Conversely, it may be several hours, or possibly longer, before hearing back with an acceptance, rejection, or counter offer.
It’s similar with an email presentation. You might get questions or clarification requests right away (ideally one call with all questions, rather than a stream of them over several hours) coming from the agent and/or seller through the agent. Or you may not get much other than an acknowledgement that the paperwork was received. You may find yourself waiting and waiting….
What’s happening behind the scenes if the response is not forthcoming in a short period of time? Sometimes, not much is happening at all. A schedule change could cause a delay that may make you wonder what’s happening – and it’s not strategic in the least (and nothing funny going on). At other times, you may have a listing agent trying to beat the bushes to get more offers and stalling. Or quite the contrary, it could be time spent trying to reach one of the sellers or having two or more sellers try to agree on the best course of action.
If it’s a multiple offer situation, of course, it will be far more complicated and the response time will be much, much longer in virtually all cases. The listing agent will likely create an offer comparison spreadsheet or make some other easier-to-digest method so that the seller isn’t completely overwhelmed.
In other words, it’s all over the board.
Sometimes the only response will be a rejection, and that’s final. Sometimes there may be contact indicating that your offer is “in the running” but perhaps could be improved – the listing agent may be sending out feelers to see if a counter offer would work. Sometimes a counter (or multiple counter offer) will simply be emailed over, no explanation. And once in awhile, if you are a fortunate buyer, your offer will simply be accepted. (It is tempting to then have “buyer’s remorse”, a worry that if they just took your contract, you came in too strong. Try not to allow that to happen and instead count your blessings. Often this is a case of sellers being grateful or perhaps not wanting to push you too hard if you made a good strong effort, even if it’s not 100% of what they want. Second guessing will make you crazy – don’t do it!)
It’s hard to wait, but hang in there. Stay available. When you’re waiting for an offer, do not disappear into a long movie at the mall and make yourself unreachable! Consider yourself “on call” until it’s all resolved. Best of luck to you!