Antonio & Alexia's Blog


Should You Write the Offer Before You Even Show the House? But Of Course! Here is Why

The CA Residential Purchase Agreement is the the only document that a lender will accept as the basics for granting a home loan. Home buyers, specially first time home buyers, are reluctant to sign such document on the spot, after all, with the required Buyers Inspection Advisory and the Disclosure Regarding Real Estate Relationships, those are 14 pages of gibberish mambo jumbo stuff that is not easy to understand when read for the first time.

At the height of the market, we lost a great home because the first time buyer took 2 days to read the contract and another 3 hours for me to clarify the questions he had when he read it. By the time we presented the offer, another buyer's offer had been accepted. I could not blame the buyer for not signing on the spot. For this type of purchase, as a consumer, I probably would have done the same.

That is when I decided to actually write the offer earlier and even before I show the first house to buyer looking to buy a home. Once we tour the houses for the first time, I give the buyer the entire 14 pages of an offer written on the best house we saw. By previewing first, I would know which house to write the contract for. Since I do not show houses unless the buyer is pre-approved, I also know the finances, I write down the exact numbers for a down payment and even calculate an estimated buyer's closing costs.

Having the buyers have the contract on the first tour of houses, with real numbers, and sending them home to read those documents is a huge time saver for both of us. I tell them to assume that we just bought this house, and that these are exactly the documents that we will use when presenting an offer. I ask them to read those pages, and make notes on them to ask me when we see each other again. By reading the contract without any pressure for time, they will be ready when the time comes to sign an offer. I do make a point on subsequent meetings to ask about the contract.

Yes, this might sound like putting the cart in front of the horse. But we accomplish so much, the buyer's confidence on the process is key for the entire transaction to start and finish on time. A well informed and educated consumer is also a very happy Home Buyer. This type of home buyer makes the lender, the seller, their Realtors and the other 30+ people who somehow get involved in a typical real estate transaction very happy too!

Taking the steps in this order takes the fear out of actually purchasing a home, the knowledge, understanding and familiarity might avoid the infamous "Buyers Remorse" for which I also have a prepared medicine. After the offer is accepted, I give the buyers colorful M&M's in a prescription bottle. I tell them to take 2 pills when they feel scared or uneasy about their purchase, if the feeling is too intense to double the dose, that the color of the M&M's does not matter.

But if they feel real bad about what they bought, to call me immediately. If the buyer is not 100% into it, I want them out of the transaction as early as possible. If you are looking to buy a house right now, ask your Realtor for those documents and familiarize yourself with them.

The Realtors In Motion       Antonio & Alexia Cardenas   

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Comment balloon 13 commentsAntonio & Alexia Cardenas • August 18 2011 12:18PM


This make sense. We do have a lot of pages to our contracts and to ask the buyer to sign without reading thru each line can make some of them uncomfortable. I generally send them a sample contract before showing or right after meeting them so they have time to read through the paperwork and address any questions so it doesn't hold up the process once we find a home.

Posted by Linda Urbick, San Ramon, CA Homes for Sale - 925.415.3046 (Keller Williams Realty) over 6 years ago

Antonio, You are a wise real estate professional.  It makes sense to provide the contract to the buyers upfront ... even it if is not filled out.  I do the same thing ... and rather than M&M's ... I give the buyer a yellow highlighter and tell them to highlight the areas they do not understand. Of course, I only once received the entire contract back ... all yellow!  Several hours later it was all white and black again.

Posted by Kathleen Daniels, San Jose Homes for Sale - Probate Broker (KD Realty - 408.972.1822) over 6 years ago

Linda, part of our job is to educate home buyers on the process of purchasing a home, this step is very important for everybody's sake.

Kathleen, the M&M's come AFTER the offer is written and accepted. Buyers remorse is still alive and well, so we must deal with that phase too. Thank you ladies for your visit.


Posted by Antonio & Alexia Cardenas, "The Realtors In Motion" (Alameda County - San Leandro, CA.) over 6 years ago

Smart move.

Many buyers are totally unprepared for what an offer entails. Explaining the contract to them, contingencies, etc. before showing property is akin to making sure they are also preapproved. This way, you not only educate them, you set clear expectations.


Posted by Pacita Dimacali, Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA (Alain Pinel) over 6 years ago

Thank you Pacita for your visit. To me it does make so much sense to have the buyers "in the know" as fast as possible, take the fear out of signing a legal document as early as we can. A knowledgable buyer is a happy buyer.


PS: We shall see you within a couple of days! we are going to the AR meeting in Fremont

Posted by Antonio & Alexia Cardenas, "The Realtors In Motion" (Alameda County - San Leandro, CA.) over 6 years ago

Antonio --

See you on Sept 7. Shall I pick you up? I feel better when I drive. Can't say the same about my passengers :)


Posted by Pacita Dimacali, Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA (Alain Pinel) over 6 years ago

Woooh! and don't you wonder sometimes what YOUR passengers think when YOU are the driver? I'll be a passenger then, what time? I'll be ready! Alexia needs to be back earlier, I don't know the time yet


Posted by Antonio & Alexia Cardenas, "The Realtors In Motion" (Alameda County - San Leandro, CA.) over 6 years ago


I too give my clients a blank Draft of the RPA but unlike Kathleen I highlight the important parts of the contract.  I think I will chance my my ways in favor of Kathleen's method because then I know they really read the contract.

morgan hill homes

Posted by Anja Kerstens, GRI, CDPE, CHS, ASP, Selling Silicon Valley Real (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 6 years ago

Antonio, It was a pleasure seeing you at the MeetUp yesterday. I wish we'd met before. Interestingly, I totally agree with you about putting the cart before the horse. I'm really big about customer education and sharing paperwork very early.

Posted by Vickie Nagy, Delivering Desert Living, Year-Round Golf, Tennisl (Vickie Nagy, Broker Associate Alta Realty Group | BRE#01363932) over 6 years ago

Anja and Vickie, I am very glad to you ladies are here, I appreciate the visit and your comments are valid and in my line of thinking, the best customer/client is the one that is knowledgeable, and it is up to us Realtors to provide that type of education to them. I was very glad to have met you in person. Looking forward to our interaction on line and perhaps one day we will work together in a transaction.


Posted by Antonio & Alexia Cardenas, "The Realtors In Motion" (Alameda County - San Leandro, CA.) over 6 years ago

Antonio, Nice meeting you (again) yesterday.  On my first meeting with a new buyer, I go over agency disclosures first and have them sign that they understand the different types. But then I give them copies of a purchase contract, the BIA, an REO addendum and a short sale addendum. We review them so that when they're in the throws of a transaction and get caught up in the emotion, this won't be the first time they've seen the contracts. Takes a lot of the fear out.

Posted by Karen Crowson, Your Agent for Change (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 6 years ago

This is a great idea, Antonio.  It does save a lot of the questions that come up after and time lost while you go through all the details.  I like it.

Posted by Jane Peters, Connecting you to the L.A. real estate market (Home Jane Realty) about 6 years ago


Just stopping by to wish you a Blessed Day!


Posted by Kathleen Daniels, San Jose Homes for Sale - Probate Broker (KD Realty - 408.972.1822) about 6 years ago