Verbal Contract

The Vague Verbal or Text Real Estate Offer

It’s only the last week of May and the first verbal offer from an absentee buyer has been phoned in. The calls generally go like this, “I’m so-and-so with Super Happy Fun Slide Brokerage, Inc. and I have a buyer who would like to offer $XYZ for your Doe listing.” Can you ask the Doe’s if they’ll accept that price?

My first question was, “Has your buyer been to the area before and do they know the complex?” The answer, of course, was no so I asked a few other pertinent questions which finally inspired the buyer’s agent to actually go look at the property. What’s a novel idea, huh?

I’ve sold plenty of real estate “sight unseen” but struggle with notion of negotiating any offer, much less a verbal offer from a buyer who’s never seen the property … especially when their agent has not seen the property and then the offer is delivered in a phone call or text. 

Not only did their offer not come in writing but there was no compelling basis for the sellers to even take the offer seriously. My theory is this: You want me to present your mirage to the sellers, so help me to help you and support your offer with some sort of documentation.  What is so hard about throwing that offer on DocuSign and doing it right?

How committed is this buyer or their agent going to be to this transaction if neither of them are willing trouble themselves to even fill out a contract? It’s only about a fifteen minute investment of time. It might be nice for them to make a commitment for sending an earnest money deposit and proof of funds which would actually prove the buyer can pay for the property, too.

As one might have suspected, this particular offer wasn’t exactly full price. That would probably explain why the buyer didn’t waste their time writing up an offer.

Even if a verbal offer is full price, there’s just simply more to buying real estate than purchase price.

There are important dates that must be agreed upon regarding escrow deposits, mortgage approvals, home inspections and the actual closing date. Who is paying for the title insurance? Would this be an as-is verbal offer and since there are several boiler plate contracts used in this area, which one are you inferring that you’re verbally using?

The list of potential derailments for the runaway verbal offer train is endless.

Any offer is an offer and it must be conveyed so I called the sellers to let them know about the forty percent off list price verbal offer.

Why? Well, we have to exhaust the remote possibility that it could actually be negotiated to an executed contract. Plus, the seller’s circumstances could have changed since I last spoke to them. What if they suddenly needed fast cash to pay for a new kidney or to buy the silence of their maid/baby momma and actually consider this a fabulous opportunity?

If the sellers were seriously considering it, I’d also let them know that a verbal offer or even a verbal acceptance isn’t worth the paper it’s written on and suggest that they respectfully ask the buyer to present the offer in writing as the first step in their negotiation.

One of these days I’ll have to unleash my inner wisenheimer and ask the buyer’s agent if their buyer needs to run their verbal offer by their attorney before I submit it, just to see what the response is.

I can almost hear the crickets now.


Real Life in Bonita Springs is a project by Chris Griffith dedicated to writing useful blog posts for consumers about the Bonita Springs, Florida area.  Find out what it is really like to live in Bonita Springs, Florida by reading about our fair city. You’ll get the latest in local real estate information, Bonita Springs real estate market reports and a little bit of humor.  If you have topic ideas, feel free to request a story about the idea, after all, this site is just for you.

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