As a domain investor, there are few things that are more annoying / frustrating / angering than agreeing to a deal with a buyer and having the deal fall through to no fault of your own. Deals fall through all the time and for many different reasons.
When I am negotiating with a prospective buyer, I regularly learn that the domain name we are discussing is one of the domain names they are considering. Oftentimes, when faced with an inquiry or offer form that requires an offer to be submitted, a prospective will enter a tentative offer. This may be the amount they would be willing to pay if they choose this domain name. They may not have finalized their domain name choice and they may be negotiating to buy several domain names when they just need one.
On one hand, I understand what they are doing. They like a few names and need to buy just one. Because many domain owners won’t negotiate with someone who isn’t a serious buyer, they need to negotiate as if they are actually buying a domain name before a decision is made. As a domain investor, it is important to know if the buyer’s offer is firm or is contingent upon other elements. Perhaps they need to finalize a domain name selection or even secure funding to make the purchase. Asking a question like, “is this a firm offer” can help determine what stage the buyer is at. Some prospects may not even realize they are agreeing to a deal by submitting an offer.
It’s frustrating when a buyer backs out of an agreed upon deal, but the domain owner (or broker) should make sure the offer is firm before proceeding with a contract and escrow. I’ve lost a few deals I thought were all wrapped up because I assumed the offer was firm. It’s better to ask if the offer is firm before agreeing to proceed.