I am constantly surprised by things I hear from the listing side of our business. A few days ago, I heard our listing agents discussing with astonishment how an agent had submitted a terribly incomplete offer for one of our listings. As the discussion expanded, I learned this wasn’t an isolated incident. Our COO estimates that over 90% of offers we receive are missing documents or information, or are filled out incorrectly. This one should be a no-brainer, right? Complete your offer documents, get them signed by a client, send it over to the listing agent and negotiate a final deal. Sounds simple, but apparently it isn’t.

I won’t guess at the reasons people have for submitting incomplete offers. However, I can give you good reasons why you should always submit a complete and easy to present offer. The absolute minimum for sending an offer to a listing agent is to ensure it is complete. Fill out all of your contracts, disclosures, and addendums up front and have your client sign them to submit at the beginning of the process.

I’ve had some agents argue with me over this, telling me that it’s more important to get the offer to a listing agent quickly than to send a completed Franchise Disclosure with the initial contract. I disagree for one important reason. If you’re completing your contracts correctly (at least in our area) these associated documents are considered part of the contract. (See below) If you list a document here but don’t include it with your initial offer, you’ve submitted an incomplete contract. You’re leaving the door open for another (complete) offer to come in and win the home. Some listing agents won’t present an offer until they’ve received all documents, so you’re putting your client at risk of losing a home by submitting incomplete offers.

Don’t forget the importance of what incomplete documents can do to your own team as well. If you work with administrative professionals (NOT assistants) on your team, hodge-podge offers trainwreck their efficiency. The more efficient they are in their processes, the better your team’s client experience is.

Our market currently favors sellers, so our team’s listing agents collect multiple offers on most properties. It is common for them to receive offers so incomplete that they have to tell the buying agent to re-submit their offer after it’s complete. Meanwhile, offers are still coming in. Buyers have lost homes because their agents are not submitting complete offers. If you’re doing this, you aren’t upholding your duty to your client, plain and simple.

If you are always submitting completed offers, good for you! That is the minimum standard we should all perform to for our clients. How you submit your offers can also increase your client’s chances of winning a home. You should always strive to make your offer easy to present to the seller. I do this by sending a simple summary email of a client’s offer to the listing agent immediately after submitting the offer to them through our electronic document application.

This isn’t necessary, but it increases the chance that your offer will be presented quickly to the seller. If the listing agent isn’t at their desk and can’t review the original offer documents, they may not even notify their client of your offer. Without reviewing the documents, they don’t know exactly what terms are being offered. When you send a simple summary of the offer terms, a busy listing agent can forward your email directly to their client for a quick review, and possibly a quick response. It doesn’t happen every time, but you’ll be giving your client every chance to have their offer reviewed immediately. See below for a sample of the summary email I use. You might add other important items for your specific deals, but remember to keep it easy for a consumer to understand.

Hi Sam,

per our previous communication, my clients have decided to submit an offer to your seller of 1234 Main Street.  I've forwarded the documents through DotLoop (or your preferred method) and sent a separate summary of the pertinent terms for your convenience.  Of course, please feel free to call with any questions.


Purchase Price - $175,000

Buyer requests $1,250 seller contribution to closing costs & prepaids.

$1,000 earnest depost.

Buyer is pre-approved with Bill Bubblybrook at Bamboozler Mortgage

Closing and Possession date of October 28th, 2017

12 Days for home inspections

Buyer requests one year limited home warranty from ABC Warranty at $500 to be paid by seller.

Contract is not contingent upon sale of buyer's current residence.

Best regards,

Another way agents hurt their buyer’s chances is by only notifying listing agents of their offer by one form of communication. When submitting an offer, you should always confirm receipt by the listing agent. The biggest mistake is counting on a single email as enough notification of your client’s submission. Just like you, listing agents receive hundreds of emails a day. If your offer notification comes in just before 10 or 20 other emails, there’s a good chance it will be buried in a listing agent’s inbox. It would be a shame for your client to lose a home because their offer was simply overlooked.

It’s simple, immediately after you send documents to the seller’s agent, send your summary email, then send a text message to the listing agent that says “offer for 1234 Main street at your inbox.” If they don’t respond with an acknowledgement in 10 minutes, call them to make sure they saw the message. Don’t stop until you get a verification that they know you’ve submitted an offer.

Finally, to make sure you’re doing everything you can to get your client’s offer presented quickly, try using your MLS feedback system to your advantage. In our area, many listing agents set their showing feedback to send directly to the client without review. Use this to your advantage by writing feedback immediately after you submit an offer and simply include the statement “OFFER SUBMITTED TO YOUR AGENT” in the feedback. I would advise not writing anything else, keep it simple. Ideally, you want the seller to switch straight from email to the speed dial on their phone and call their agent to find out what the offer is. Will it happen every time? Of course not, but why wouldn’t you use it?

Your job is to give your clients every advantage possible when purchasing their home, so take these few extra steps to help give them an edge over the lazy agent next door. To make it easy to remember, download and print this offer submission checklist and use it when you make an offer. Happy hunting!

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