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Real Estate Matters:
How to Make an Offer Stand Out in a Seller’s Market
By John E. Baer, SRES, SRS
Before anything else, make sure you are working with a professional, trustworthy agent who knows the communities and market you are considering. As you embark on your home search, you will want to see as many homes as possible. Also, make sure you have a pre-approval letter from a lender. This letter is required at the time of an offer.
With a rapidly changing market and low inventory, homes are selling faster than ever. A new listing can have several offers even before you have a chance to see it. With this being the case, not only do you have to spring into rapid action, you have to come prepared with an offer that will stand out above the other buyers out there.
Here are some important tips.
Get the Inside Scoop: Before you have your real estate agent write the offer for a home you love, you should ask your agent to get the inside scoop of what the sellers may want, and if there are multiple offers for that home. If there are other offers, you will have to evaluate just what you are willing to do to get the home. Keep in mind that the listing agent may not be able to disclose anything at the request of the sellers.
You should also ask your agent to inquire about the sellers’ preferences and what they may want such as a specific possession date. The more your offer aligns with the sellers’ goals, the better a chance of getting your dream home.
Make a Strong Offer: You should aim to make your offer as strong as possible. An all cash offer is best. However, you probably will need to finance the purchase. Putting more cash down at closing makes the offer stronger than less cash at closing. The fewer contingencies, such as dependency upon the appraisal, a mortgage approval or home inspection, the better.
Keep in mind that it’s not all about price. You may be prepared to go well over asking, but remember that the best offer will be the sum of the terms that work best for the home’s seller.
Take the time to compose a letter to the sellers stating why you love their home and how you commit to care for it just as they clearly have done. Tell your agent to submit your letter along with your offer. It may seal the deal.
Two months ago clients of mine saw a home online that was listed on a Friday. I scheduled a 9 AM showing on Saturday. The listing agent called me to let me know that that same day at 6 PM the sellers were going to select the best offer. My clients truly loved the home. Because they were able to do so, their offer was not contingent on the appraisal or a mortgage approval. They also were flexible with respect to the closing date. Their offer was 12% over the listing price with 30% down at closing. Even though their offer was just short of the highest dollar offer, their offer was accepted over four other offers submitted that Saturday. Their creativity made the difference.
One Last Tip: Writing an offer can be stressful. The key tip: be patient since an offer can take a few days to receive an acceptance or not. This is completely normal so do your best to be patient.
In summary, a strong offer is more than the price you are willing to pay. It also involves contingencies you are willing to waive, the amount of cash you are able to pay at closing, and your flexibility with respect to a closing date. Finally, take the time to write a great letter to the sellers.
John E. Baer, SRES, SRS is a NYS licensed real estate salesperson associated with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Westchester Properties of Scarsdale and Larchmont. In the last two years he earned the “Top Selling Award” seven times in the Scarsdale office. He can be reached for questions at 914/844-2059. His website is www.WestchesterHomes.info.