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Old 10-31-2016, 06:30 PM   #1
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Anatomy of a lost sale

This is just an FYI so that others can see how a broker can lose a sale.
I made an offer using my buyers broker through a listing agent on a boat on Oct. 7. The feedback we received was that the price was ok but some of the terms needed changing but they didnít send a signed counter offer but let my offer expire. I made another offer at same price but with the terms changed to what they wanted. We got the same feedback with a couple more changes needed but no counter. I made a third offer and got a verbal that everything including price was agreed on. But the listing broker did not produce a signed acceptance to my offer. The listing broker also requested that my 10% deposit which was being held by my buyers broker be sent to his brokerage. After discussing this with my broker I agreed to have the listing broker hold the deposit. I made my 4th and final offer after having my broker make it clear to the listing broker that this was my final offer and if I did not receive a signed accepted offer that I was moving on and expected my deposit to be returned ASAP. This offer also expired but the listing broker emailed my broker complaining that the verbiage still wasnít right on a couple items and I didnít exclude a couple other items that he disclosed were not working. He then said that if I would agree they would change and initial my offer and sign and send to me on Monday.
And here again there is no signed counter offer. I just told my buyers broker to have them return my deposit. After 24 days Iím done with them. Itís just a shame but this boat would have worked out for us. So now I really understand why some people are so down on brokers.
I don't fault my buyers broker, actually I think he acted professionally in the negotiations. I feel the listing broker is the one who lost the sale for the seller. Whether he was lying to me about the seller agreeing verbally to the price or he was trying to play my offer to get a higher offer doesn't matter to me. I made a legitimate offer with the requisite 10% deposit and this guy lost the sale.
So I tried to do the right thing. I found a buyers broker who worked out for me. Unfortunately I couldn't choose the listing brokerage. The seller chose that. My broker even spoke with the seller and got the feeling that the price was acceptable.

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Old 10-31-2016, 06:42 PM   #2
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You never know what goes on between a seller and his broker. The broker could have been lying to you because he knew that the seller wouldn't accept the deal so he strung it along, hoping that he could work it out somehow. I have seen that happen in real estate, even when the broker was representing both parties and of course I was paying the commission.

The other side of the equation is perhaps the seller was arbitrary and intransigent and the broker hoped he could work it out but in the end he couldn't.


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Old 10-31-2016, 07:11 PM   #3
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I think the seller should look for a new broker to represent him. Obviously this broker lacks communication skills.
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Old 11-01-2016, 08:01 AM   #4
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You were a lot more patient, and went further than I would have. In fact, had a similar thing happen when buying a house quite some years ago. Made an offer, they came back with a verbal response. I told my broker, "That's my offer. If they want to make a counter-offer then they need to do it, not just talk about it."

Meantime we kept on looking at other homes, and eventually found one that my wife and I bought. Funny thing about it is that the same day we made an offer on the other house--almost a month after our offer on the first house had expired--the broker from the first house finally came across with a written counter-offer. I couldn't help but, quite literally, laugh out loud at him.
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Old 11-01-2016, 08:36 AM   #5
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I've bought and sold quite a few houses over the years and every transaction has begun with an offer then counter then either an accepted agreement or no deal. Even buying cars work this way. This one was just unbelievable. It was a cash offer, no financing to get in the way. Just needed a signed acceptance, then survey, then wire the money to the seller. I made it clear at the offered (and supposedly verbally accepted) price a few items that were disclosed I would accept as is such as an air conditioner not working, strut bearings need replacing and a couple other smaller items.
What I believe happened is the listing broker was using my low offer (which was agreeable to the seller) to get a higher offer and have me either come up or sell it to another buyer. Or maybe he was not happy he had to split his commission?
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Old 11-01-2016, 09:44 AM   #6
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I had the same problem when we bought LUNSEA. Selling broker became a real ASS when he found out I had my own broker and surveyor.
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Old 11-01-2016, 10:44 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Crusty Chief View Post
I think the seller should look for a new broker to represent him. Obviously this broker lacks communication skills.
I question whether the seller's broker correctly (assuming OP's version is correct, which I do not doubt) communicated the sequence of events to the seller. In those circumstances, I would not have been above contacting the seller directly. No legal or ethical reason not to.
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Old 11-01-2016, 11:14 AM   #8
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An unwritten counter off is the same as no counter offer. The seller has reserved the right to change the terms at anytime. If you don't get a written counter offer walk away. You have put your deposit up with the offer, and are bound by the terms if seller accepts before your withdrawal. What a cheesy way of handling by a broker. In my opinion the buyer's broker should have advised the buyer of this.
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Old 11-01-2016, 11:30 AM   #9
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I had a similar experience many years ago when trying to buy a SeaRay Sundancer. My broker kept getting a run around from the selling broker and we weren't even sure if the selling broker was telling the seller that we had made a offer.

I found the boat on the USCG Documentation Center and had the owner's name. I found his address and mailed him a letter detailing our experience with his broker and also the terms of my offer. I asked him to call me.

Two days later he called me and we consummated the deal over the phone. He then called his broker and told him to go ahead with the deal. The selling broker was not happy but was forced to proceed.

After that experience I've done all my negotiations myself. When we bought Beachcomber I hired a broker to advise me and answer any questions that might come up but I did my own negotiation with the seller (a brokerage who owned the boat).
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Old 11-01-2016, 02:59 PM   #10
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The reality is we don't know what went on between the listing broker and the seller. I've seen it where it was the fault of the listing broker and I've seen it when the broker did nothing wrong, but the seller is the one who kept changing the rules. Then shortly after, I've seen it listed by a new broker and most assuming the broker was terminated when actually it was the broker who "fired" the seller.

I've seen some awful behavior by brokers but I've seen some by buyers and sellers too. I know one very nice person, respectable business owner, who just loves negotiations. If he doesn't feel he's "winning the deal" then he won't make it, even if it's a reasonable price.
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Old 11-01-2016, 03:35 PM   #11
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One mistake I see is not insisting on a written counter-offer.
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Old 11-01-2016, 04:42 PM   #12
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Someone I knew in real estate refers to analyzing a failed deal as "pissing on the ashes".
If you put a time limit on the offer you can control it, and put some pressure on the seller. Don`t forget a counter offer, written or not, destroys the offer it responds to.
Tough to tell the author of an odd response,or lack of, broker or seller. If a broker impedes a sale because he has to split commission that`s wrong imo, he could be preferring his own interests to his principal the seller. For an agent, that can`t be right, unless the seller agrees or authorizes it.
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Old 11-01-2016, 06:01 PM   #13
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Just curious,what did your broker say that would make you release the down payment to the listing broker,without a signed agreement.I don't think I would ever do that.
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Old 11-01-2016, 06:22 PM   #14
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It's also possible that the listing broker didn't like the buyer's broker taking 1/2 the commission and was trying to shop the offer around to get an offer from an unrepresented buyer.
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Old 11-01-2016, 06:57 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by poach View Post
it's also possible that the listing broker didn't like the buyer's broker taking 1/2 the commission and was trying to shop the offer around to get an offer from an unrepresented buyer.
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Old 11-01-2016, 08:05 PM   #16
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That's too bad, better luck with the next one!

Poach, in post #14 may be right.
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Old 11-01-2016, 09:04 PM   #17
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I was working on my Grand Banks when I heard foot steps on deck. He introduced himself as a yacht broker. Wanted to know who I was listed with. I am doing a lot of retire both AC an DC. He starts telling me to hide all the wires and cover every thing up. But I am not done yet. I should put a strong mixture of bleach on my teak decks. Wipe the deck house with Amourall to make it shine. He will sell the boat for two points less then my broker. Now I ask him to leave my boat and I am not interested. I think he would sell his mother on Saturday and deliver her. Where are the Boy Scouts?
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Old 11-01-2016, 09:07 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Ron T View Post
Where are the Boy Scouts?
Definitely they aren't dock walking trying to steal listings.
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Old 11-01-2016, 09:54 PM   #19
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Under the "follow the money" concept you will learn to deal only with the listing broker when buying a boat...then trust no one.
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Old 11-02-2016, 09:54 AM   #20
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In yacht sales as in real estate, a transaction happens when a buyer's interests and a seller's interests align. Brokers exist mainly to communicate and facilitate. Unfortunately, brokerage-dependent industries seem to attract a disproportionate number of people who are long on ego and short on communications skill.

In this case, folivier may never know just where this deal went of the rails, unless he speaks directly to the seller. Maybe there wasn't a good alignment, for whatever reason, but it does sound as though one or more of these brokers managed to fumble the ball.

Agree with those who suggest that the seller's broker should have inserted the desired language in the contract and then had it signed by the seller. To keep sending an offer back with no written counteroffer seems decidedly unprofessional. To carry on that way while demanding that the earnest money be handed over to the listing broker is just bizarre. Big red flag.

Folivier, everyone associated with that boat knows you tried, and presumably they know how to contact you. If the seller wants to make a deal, they'll find a way to reach out. If someone else buys the boat, maybe your offer was just being "played" all along anyway. You did what you could.

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