Lately I have been involved in quite a few multiple offer situations, both as a listing agent and as a buyer’s agent. As a listing agent I always feel sad for the people whose offers do not get chosen, especially when they have expressed how much they love and want the home. As a buyer’s agent I have to get creative, to give my buyers the best shot possible of having their offer accepted. There is no guarantee that adhering to the following advice will get your offer accepted over other offers, but it will definitely put you in the best position possible.
Here are my suggestions to make sure you present the strongest offer possible in any situation – as a listing agent I know that when I see an offer with these qualities, it has a much higher chance of being accepted by the seller and myself.
1. Put your best offer on the table. In such a market where multiple offers are common, and especially when you find a great property, it is imperative that you write the strongest offer. By this I do NOT mean you should write an offer way over asking price. Instead, your agent needs to thoroughly review the comparable sold properties with you, take into consideration condition and location, upgrades and amenities, and then write the best offer possible.
As an aside, if you know there are multiple offers and you are getting a loan, coming in with an offer that is much higher than asking, although it may seem like a great idea, could actually end up sending your offer to the bottom of the pile as well. I would rather have a strong offer at market value, taking into considerations any upgrades/improvements, etc., as there is a better chance for appraisal and closing on time.
2. Submit a pre-approval letter (not just a pre-qualification) AND proof of funds if you are getting a loan. A preapproval letter is stronger than a prequalification letter, so discuss with your mortgage professional about getting one. For a good explanation on the difference click here. Also, if you are obtaining financing I highly advise you to submit proof of funds that you will use for your initial deposit and downpayment, to show that you can do what the contract states. Likewise, if you are paying cash submit that up front as well.
3. Have your agent call the listing agent and get all pertinent information before writing an offer. This is very important, and makes for less of a chance of a counter offer. Your agent needs to find out whether there is anything that the seller or bank would like to see in the offer, who they prefer to use for title and escrow, whether a short sale lender will pay for certain items like termite work and home warranties, and anything else that may be beneficial (such as items that do not convey with the sale, or whether there is a preference for the length of escrow, or an amount that is preferred for the initial deposit, etc.) Finding out about any of these items could give you an edge over other offers that may have been submitted, as yours will not require such items to be countered.
4. Write a “clean” offer. This is always good advice, especially in a situation that may warrant multiple offers. By “clean” I mean to keep your contract simple, and only ask for things out of the ordinary if you have to.
5. Submit a letter to the seller or bank with your offer. I never submit an offer without some kind of letter. If it is a traditional sale, I always encourage my buyers to write the letter to the sellers, explaining why the home is perfect for them. It really makes the offer more personal. If it is a short sale or a bank-owned property, I write the letter. I submit comparables and a complete analysis, photos (if necessary) to back up our offer price, and information about the sellers – nothing personal here, just facts and numbers, as that is what the bank cares about.
It is always important to do your homework before submitting any offers…if you take the time to do so, and follow the above advice, you will have a higher chance of successfully purchasing your new home or investment property. Best of luck, and let me know if it works for you!
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