A couple of weeks ago, a realtor friend of mine told me that his clients tried to do a Hail Mary play.

His clients had already written 7 unsuccessful offers during the year when they found a beautiful home in Berkeley that was listed at $1,875,000. Everyone knew that the home was underpriced.  

The agent told his clients that the home would sell for at least $2.5 million based on recent comparable sales.  Although they could afford to pay that much and more, his clients did not follow his advice and instructed him to write a Hail Mary offer at $2,200,000.  

The term “Hail Mary play” originated on December 28, 1975 when the Dallas Cowboys were trailing the Minnesota Vikings 10-14 in the NFC Division playoffs.  With seconds left in the game, Dallas quarterback Roger Staubach threw a 50 yard touchdown pass resulting in an improbable win for the Cowboys.  

Staubach used the term “Hail Mary” during his post game talk with the press.

“I was kidding around with the writers,” Staubach said. “I got knocked down on the play…I closed my eyes and said a Hail Mary.”

Most football fans know that a Hail Mary play is a long pass thrown by the quarterback into the end zone with only seconds left in half or the game, as a desperate attempt to score.  Completion is unlikely.

The sellers of the Berkeley home received multiple offers and are now in contract for over $2.5 million, just exactly as my realtor friend had predicted. The realtor’s clients have decided to take a break from real estate.

In 2021, my team represented 31 buyers for a total of $54.6 million in aggregate sales.  Those 31 buyers made an average of 1.6 offers.  

Why is that average so low?  Here’s what we do to help our buyers be successful:

  • Begin with an in-depth Buyer Consultation to fully understand the buyer’s wants, needs and budget.
  • Perform a reality check by reviewing properties which have sold in the past 90 days that meet the buyer’s requirements.  If we cannot find at least 3 properties that the buyer would have wanted to buy, then we explore changes in their requirements by shifting the home’s features, property type, location or price.
  • Confirm that the buyer has their financing in place with a local lender who has experience in our fast moving market.
  • Educate the buyer on the current state of the market, so that they understand the competitive landscape.
  • Review the purchase contract to ensure that the buyer knows what they are signing.
  • Network with our fellow agents to find homes that are currently off-market or coming soon.
  • Share recent sales of comparable properties that help the buyer make an offer decision that is based on fact, not just on a hope and a prayer. 
  • Leverage our relationships with other agents to help our buyers win in a multiple offer situation.
  • Analyze and debrief on what happened if the first offer is not successful.
  • Learn from each experience and modify future behavior.

It’s easy to write an offer without preparation, but the offer should be grounded in reality and it’s a waste of time to make a Hail Mary offer.  The number of successful Hail Mary passes in football is around 2.5%. I would guess it’s about the same in the real estate world.

Call me and my team if you want to be successful in the home buying process.



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