Currently, across the country the housing market is still favoring sellers, with new generations and new families eager to get in on the perks of home ownership. In most areas, however, the inventory isn’t keeping up, causing some sellers to have pretty great odds of receiving a strong offer (or 7). Right now, it is more important than ever to be able to configure an offer to purchase that not only catches the sellers eye, but also benefits you as the buyer.
Naturally, in most cases a seller is going to choose an offer that benefits them the most and prioritizes what they need or want out of the transaction. Depending on the house you are writing an offer on, you will want to determine just how incentivizing you want your offer to be. The house that seems like a “good fit” likely won’t be getting the same offer as the one that you feel is your dream home.
Any homeowner who is selling their property has something they want or need out of the transaction, or something they are prioritizing. The key to writing an offer that appeals to the seller is to identify what their main objective is in the transaction, then tailor your offer around their needs or desires. Nine times out of ten, the main interest in the transaction is the net income they will receive. That’s why it’s not uncommon to see an owner list their house for more than it is worth and consequently waste more time trying to get top dollar for their home. Net income is usually the main objective but not always, and sometimes people change their mind in the process.
I know a couple who bought their dream home a few years back. While searching for the perfect house, they decided to narrow it down to just one neighborhood that they really wanted to live in. Unfortunately, none of the houses in the neighborhood were for sale. Thinking creatively, they decided to mail letters to the homeowners in the neighborhood asking them if they would consider selling to them. One recipient replied. These owners contacted them back and proceeded to sell their house to the couple.
Typically, if you are selling your home you want as much attention and as much foot traffic as possible. It makes sense that the more people know the house is for sale, the more people will be interested and submit offers, and the more offers you have, the higher the chances of receiving a strong one. But in this case, only the couple knew that the sellers were open to selling. Why didn’t the sellers market their property publicly and increase their chances of receiving the most money at the best terms?
It turns out that these sellers actually had a neighbor or two who they weren’t particularly fond of, and they didn’t want the neighbors to have the chance to be nosey and schedule showings to see their house. The owners valued privacy more than they valued trying to get the most money possible, and they aren’t alone. Plenty of people want privacy or other things from their transaction.
Another common one is a speedy transaction. Some sellers don’t want to deal with selling the house for any longer than they have to, some have to move for a job relocation, and some are just worried about their mortgage payments and need it gone ASAP. These things all happen every day, and if you identify it, then you can make your offer with terms you know will help them.
If you are writing up an offer to purchase with the goal of giving the seller a speedy transaction, it’s important to ask your Realtor, Lender, and Attorney how much time will be needed to close. Your Realtor will need to make sure that all inspectors or contractors have time, the Lender will need time for appraisals and underwriting, and the Attorney will need time for the title work. If you explain it to them they can sometimes speed up the process, but you don’t want to risk scheduling a closing for before you are able to close.
Homeowners that are looking for a speedy transaction are also consequently looking for a serious buyer. If they want it to be done quick, they obviously aren’t going to be happy if they get a buyer who is under contract for a month and then decides to walk away from the purchase. They want to be confident that you are going to be just as willing to buy on the day of closing as the day you submit the offer, and guaranteed to be financially able to purchase as well.
To make the sellers confident that you are capable of buying, a pre-approval letter from the bank or a bank statement is usually a great way to show them you are guaranteed to be able. If you are really confident in your decision to buy the home, you might want to consider offering them an above-average deposit. Due Diligence Fees and Earnest Money Deposits are used to compensate the seller if you were to back out of the contract, but are credited back to you at closing if you do purchase that property. That means if you are really confident that you are going to be willing and able to buy, it might be a good idea to show that confidence to the seller by offering them more in deposits.
Those are a few ways you can appeal to the seller, but of course, you need to make sure the terms work for you as well. Let’s discuss some ways that you can also benefit from the transaction.
One of my favorite aspects about Real Estate is the fact that you can purchase such an expensive asset with such little money down. It will need paid back of course, but you get the luxury of being able to leverage other peoples money to comfortably afford the benefits of home ownership. This first tip is a great way to cut down your out of pocket expenses even more.
When signing the papers on closing day, the costs of the transaction can add up to be lots of money, especially with a down payment. Attorney fees, lender fees, inspections, etc (The buyer gets a lot of closing costs, but at least the seller covers the Realtor fees, right?). They can quickly add up to thousands of dollars. In the offer to purchase, you are free to ask for the seller to assist with the closing costs. There are rules for how much a seller can pay, so check with your lender and Realtor, but I have worked with many buyers who have used this to save some money on closing day. Maybe you really like the house and you decide to offer $5,000 over asking price, but you also ask for the seller to pay $5,000 of your closing costs. The seller is getting the same amount at closing, and you are getting to keep five grand in your pocket.
If you are concerned about the appliances in the home or other items that fall under the protection of a Home Warranty, you can ask the sellers for one of those too. You can request on your offer to purchase that you are provided with a Home Warranty in the amount of which you choose.
If there is something you need out of your transaction, there are ways to make it work. Be creative and work with a sharp thinking Realtor and you can discuss options that will give you what you need out of the transaction while helping the seller at the same time. I once worked with a lady who was moving into the area for a new job. It was a rather short notice, and because of her loan type, the lender would not be ready to close by the time her job starts. We decided to make the sellers an offer where my client could occupy the home prior to closing in exchange for rent money while she was there waiting for the lender to be able to close. The sellers made a little bit of extra money from rent, and my client got a place to rest her head before her new job started at a rate that beats out the cost of renting in the area.
The best way to be sure you have an offer that has terms that you want but will still catch the eye of the owner is to work with a professional Realtor. We have the experience and the negotiating skill to be able to construct strong offer while still prioritizing what you need from the transaction. If you are thinking about moving, give me a shout. I’d love to chat with you and see how I can help.
Thanks for reading, have a wonderful day! 🙂