If you’ve been looking at homes lately, you know competition is fierce.
The best homes are getting multiple offers (one of our recent sellers got a whopping 21 offers).
With a shortage of great houses, how do you put yourself in the strongest position to get the winning offer?
While there’s no hard and fast rules, here are a few things that can definitely help your offer rise to the top.
- Get to the house first. Sounds simple enough but when a hot house hits the market, do whatever you can to be the first buyer in the door and if you like it, write the offer immediately. I can’t tell you the number of times we’ve won bids because we were the first one in. First to see the home and first to get the offer to the seller. Speed to the lead counts. If you have to go home and think about it, go home and forget about it. It’s not the right house for you.
- Have your agent work with your lender to create a strong pre approval letter.
This is the letter from your bank or mortgage company that lets the seller know you have your ducks in a row to buy the house. Important: Have the address of the home you are writing the offer on – actually pre approval letter you are submitting with your offer. It’s critical you partner with a great lender who you can call in a moments notice to get the home address put on the preapproval letter. It also helps if you put the price you are approved for on the letter. Some buyers worry that putting a high price on the preapproval letter will hurt them in negotiations (because they think the seller will force them to pay more for the house). But in reality, most sellers like to know that the buyer they are choosing is well qualified and not stretched to the limit on financing. If you need a great lender, call us. We only partner with the best.
- Listen to your agent. Winning offers are carefully created not slammed together. Work with your agent to find out ahead of time if the seller has any special requests. Find out what day works best for them to close on the house or if they have any special requests you can write in the offer. (example: the light fixture in the dining room was a gift from a family member and they want to take it with them, write that in the offer).
Taking this extra step can really pay off.
- Go in strong from the start. The highest price usually wins. Have your agent do a study of what homes in the area have sold for in the last year. What’s the range – the high and low on price and what is the average price per square foot these homes are commanding. Your agent can help you come up with a good strong number that makes sense for the house.
- Love letters. Due to fair housing laws in many areas, not all agents are allowing buyers to present letters to the sellers. The reason behind this is that agents are trying to keep the process pure and not have sellers pick their buyer based on age, family status, what they look like, what their dogs look like. Etc. You get the idea.
One thing we highly recommend is to focus on your financial strengths. Your credit score, the size of your down payment, long term employment, etc. In short, you want to sell yourself as the strongest financial buyer – one that has their act together financially and will do what they promised (in the contract).
Sellers care about how strong the buyers are financially because they often are trying to buy their next house and need to know that they are partnering with a buyer that is going to be sane, solid, and close on time.
These are some of the tips to help you create a winning bid. If you do them all and still get beat, know that there is another house out there for you and you WILL get there. The great thing about real estate is that every day is a new day and a new opportunity. Be patient.
Work fast. We promise you’ll get there. And if you know someone thinking about buying a home, have them call us. We love helping people find just the right home!