You must have heard more than once lately “it is a seller’s market!” And, it is, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to win the bidding war. We talked to experts from the mortgage and real estate industries and compiled a list of the top five strategies for getting your offer accepted on your dream home!
- Get pre-qualified– Get pre-approved, Just make sure you Get with a lender! There is a lot of misunderstanding about what these letters mean based on what they are called. A pre-approval is supposed to be a higher level than a pre-qualification. That is not always the case, make sure that the lender you work with requires you to provide your income and asset documentation and pulls your credit before providing a letter, a letter based on a conversation is worthless, there are many things that can be discovered during the lending approval process, documentation must be reviewed up front for your security. Lastly, ask the lender to talk with both the listing and selling agent when the offer is presented.
- Waive the Home Inspection (or offer to have a pre-home inspection) This is a buyer beware recommendation. You must know what you are doing to try this tip. A home inspection is an important part of the home buying process, designed to help buyers learn up front any problems that require work or if there are necessary repairs that need to be made to the property. If you have done your research on the property and feel confident that you can handle any major repairs that need to be done, then waiving the inspection could push your offer to the top of the pile. Just remember that if you agree to do it, there is no turning back!! If you are too nervous to go completely without an inspection, you might be able set up a pre-inspection before you make the offer (but if there are 10 other offers with waived inspections this approach is not likely to work.) If the seller agrees and you have a home inspector, “on call”, you can have an inspection and then waive the requirement with your offer. If you have a friend who is in construction who can run through the property with you that may also provide you with a little more confidence.
- Write a letter to the home owners—In a hot area, you can set yourself apart from other buyers’ if your offer comes with a letter about why you are the best buyers for this home. Often people have an emotional attachment to their homes and they might enjoy getting to know a little about the next inhabitants. Sellers might appreciate knowing that you will love and cherish their home in the same way they did. Talk about yourself and your family, why you love the house, provide some compliments to the seller in the process.
- Submit your bid with an offer to beat the highest bidder! In many cases, some offers now include an additional promise called an escalation clause to beat the highest bidder by a certain dollar amount. A seller in Newton, MA recently received an offer saying the buyers will beat the highest offer by 5K. If your seller is strictly money oriented this might be the way to go! Many agents are not comfortable with escalation clauses, but the practice is certainly worth discussing with your agent.
- Work with a real estate professional who has a solid track record and strong relationships with other agents to get inside information to make the deal! The right realtor who is invested in the community in which the property is located might know more about the seller and know what their hot buttons are. The right realtor might know the circumstances around why the property is hitting the market. Maybe it’s a job transfer and there is a specific date that the sellers need to be gone. You could tailor your offer to that time frame if you are able. The more information you have the better armed you are for battle! Also, a great realtor is a good negotiator no matter what inside information they have on the property.
It really is a seller’s market right now. A final bit of advice is to have patience and perseverance. You will get your home when the time is right! Remember that you are going to have to be aggressive with your offer in today’s market, a top area agent was recently quoted as saying that it takes a buyer 6 offers before they get one to stick! Don’t be averse to renting for a short time so that you can continue your search. If it is any consolation today’s seller is tomorrow’s buyer, so they will be in your shoes sooner than you think!