Swimming Through the Bank Owned Sea of Silliness

This morning I attempted to submit an offer on a bank-owned home. One would think that writing a contract and having the buyer sign that contract and the addenda included by the listing agent would be enough.


First, I had to go to a specific website. Then I had to create a user account for the offer submission portion of this brokerage’s website. Among the information I needed was my real estate license number, which I had to look up as it’s not something that comes up every day. In fact, I still don’t know why the listing agent needed it.

Some 20 minutes after I started, I finally got the offer submitted.

Which is better than we fared on another property, which required going to an online bidding site (even though the listing isn’t tagged as an auction), where I learned that the seller is sitting on a higher offer than we were going to submit. (The seller hasn’t taken any action on the offer, apparently, even though it’s not an auction listing.)

These are the silly little quirks one deals with when looking at bank owned home.

Fill out this blank addendum, then we’ll fill it in and make you sign it again.

Make sure you include a photocopy of an earnest deposit check made out to “Title Company” so we can verify that you do, in fact, own a checkbook since there is no other point to the request.

Don’t dare ask for anything in the Additional Terms section of the AAR contract.

Don’t change a word of our addendum.

Don’t make eye contact.

Yet, there is no choice for a buyer looking at such homes other than to not look at these homes. This doesn’t even include the short sales; one listing I looked at briefly this weekend had the ancient “required” addendum that said I as the buyer’s agent would agree to reduce my commission below that offered in the MLS if the bank cut the listing agent’s commission.

In other words, please sign here to indicate you’ll take the hit with me because I suck at doing my job.

Um, no.

It’s hard to avoid these games.

We’re down to only 16,666 single-family detached homes for sale in the Phoenix real estate market – that’s about 60 percent less than when we reached the high-water mark for listings three or so years ago. Of those, 3,000 are bank-0wned homes and another 4,299 are short sales.

In other words, just under half of all listings are distressed.

Which also means half aren’t distressed, but those seem to be the harder sell in a market people perceive as a buyer’s market even if it’s anything but.

Yet we soldier on, silly games and all, and wait for the day someone tosses us a life raft on the sea of silliness.

Photo credit: An Honorable German via Flickr Creative Commons

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at allphoenixrealestate.com.