Market Wise Q&A column for the San Jose Mercury News: Face to Face Offer Presentations vs Emailing Offers?


Pat Kapowich for the San Jose Mercury News  

Q: We lost out on our fourth attempt to purchase a home in a multiple-offer contest. During the open house, the seller’s agent stated that  “live” presentations would take place the following Tuesday afternoon.  She further explained that our agent is free to email, fax or drop off our offer prior to the Tuesday deadline.  She further explained that our agent was free to email, fax or drop off our offer prior to the Tuesday deadline. She hinted she prefers buyers’ agents to present their offers in person.  We communicated this conversation to our agent, which was met with amusement.  He quickly added that presenting offers in-person is an “old school” waste of time.  He concluded with his slogan that it is  “price, price and price.”  He emailed a prepared offer over for our signatures within a minute or two after our phone call.  Obviously, he did not take the time to call and talk with this listing agent.  In a competitive market, wouldn’t it increase our odds to follow the seller’s agent lead?


A:  Yes, in any market. An emailed offer is amusing compared to a well-dressed buyer’s agent sitting down at the seller’s negotiating table. Clearly, agents who have presented offers in person have a better chance of being involved in the final negotiations.  If agents have met earlier, they can later seamlessly communicate voice-to-voice in order to negotiate finer points for their respective buyers and sellers.   Agents who emailed an offer are at a deficit without the extra face time and vital personal touch of live selling and negotiating.


That astute seller’s agent wanted to size up all the players, their offered price, terms and conditions with in-person negotiations.  Once all the offers have been presented one at a time to the seller, the seller and seller’s agent focus on whom they should do business with and under what conditions.  Veterans have a saying; “The best price is often not the best offer.”  The pro is looking for the superior buyer’s agent and then negotiates the best price, terms and conditions for his or her seller.  There can be no upside to emailed offers except for convenience.


Realtor Pat Kapowich, Kapowich Real Estate, is a Certified Residential Broker and instructs quarterly in real estate at De Anza College.  Contact him at (408) 245-7700 or


Realtor Pat Kapowich. Broker/Owner Certified Residential Broker ABR, CRS, GRI & SRES Home Sales Expertise and Experience (408) 245-7700