Doug Van Etten

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July 26, 2012
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Local real estate Q&A

A: Interesting that you ask this question now. We are actually seeing a number of properties receiving two or more purchase offers in our current "heated up" home sales market. If those offers come in more or less simultaneously, there is a variety of ways the Realtor/seller can deal with that. Among other options, they may:• Accept one offer for whatever particular reason• Let all offers know there are other offers and ask for a "highest and best offer" from each party• Counter-offer all of them in some fashion (I'll admit, I've never seen this, though it could be possible)By the way, one little quirk in Colorado real estate contracts is found in section 5.8 of the standard purchase contract. The check box there offers a choice of whether to even tell other prospective buyers if there are offers coming in on the property. For some reason there could be an offer in transit or in negotiations in front of you that you are not even made aware of for whatever reason.However the seller gets there, once one purchase offer is accepted, as long as the buyer conforms to every detail of the purchase offer, the seller is committed to that contract; even if a higher offer comes along late. A second "however" is that, you as a too-late potential buyer can have your Realtor ask the listing Realtor if they are accepting back-up offers. This gets us, long way around, to the root of your question. If they are accepting back-ups, then once you have a back-up offer in place, if the purchaser in front of you backs out of the deal or does not perform on elements of the purchase contract, that contract may be rescinded at the request of one or both parties.In the end, you might look at a back-up offer as a placeholder for you in the event that the property comes back on the market. It puts you more-or-less in first position, though it does not make any guarantees of acceptance.You might ask when it is most prudent to write a back-up offer on a property you really want.Let's look at a few of today's market numbers and make a hypothesis or two from these numbers. As of July 24, there are:• 1,007 residential properties for sale in the Grand Junction MLS• 406 have accepted purchase offers on them• 111 have accepted offers with a contingency; and, over the past month• 227 sales have closedOf those homes, many of the contingent offers are based on the buyer having to sell a home in order to purchase a next home. There can be other reasons for a contingency but most of those reflect the need to sell before buying. If you do not need to sell in order to buy, if your finances are in order . . . in other words, if you have no contingencies on your purchase offer, those homes are good choices for you to write a back-up on with a moderately high expectation you may eventually get this home you want.Another thing to look at in those numbers is there are 517 accepted and/ or contingent offers and 227 closed last month. Since it is typically taking 30-45 days to close most purchases, I might expect that in 45 days 340 sales would close. Hmm? I wonder how deals fell through, did not close? Maybe a back-up offer would have been good on any property. The lesson I see in these numbers is, if you got there second and another purchase offer was already accepted, always, have your Realtor ask the seller's Realtor if you can write a back-up offer. Doug Van Etten is an associate broker with Keller Williams Colorado West Realty and is also the founder/organizer of the Real Estate Investors Network (REIN). Contact Van Etten at or 970-433-4312. For information on the REIN,

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The Post Independent Updated Jul 26, 2012 02:44PM Published Jul 26, 2012 02:43PM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.