Accepted Offer Strategy Realities

Have you heard it’s a Seller’s Market?  Of course you have!  I’m sure you’ve also heard stories upon stories of “outrageous” offers being presented but declined by the seller.  What does it take to get your offer accepted today?

First thing’s first – who is representing you?  Let’s make sure you have an agent who knows what it takes and that you trust to tell it to you straight.  Even if it’s not what you want to hear!  An agent that has the education, information and tools available to make sure you know everything you need to in order to ensure  you are confident in the offer you are presenting.  You are confident that when you submit that offer, you will know if the seller goes with a different buyer’s offer, that you did the best you could!

Now that you’ve got the right agent supporting you, I’m going to break this down into 3 Steps.

Preparation

Communication

Offer Presentation

I encourage you to take these steps and discuss these opportunities with your Buyer’s Agent to craft an offer that best represents your ability to reach your goals!

Preparation

Get Pre-approved  

In this market you will not be able to submit an offer worth considering without a pre-approval letter from a reputable lender.

Customize your Pre-approval letter 

Go the extra mile and talk to your lender about how you can customize your pre-approval.  Perhaps the lender indicates how much capital you have available above what is indicated in your down payment amount, or they comment on your credit worthiness

Take your Pre-approval letter to the next level

Check with your lender to see if they can get your loan fast tracked through underwriting.  Your pre-approval being “subject to accepted offer” could really set your offer apart from the competition.  All you need is an accepted offer!  Everything else is ready to go.  If you were a seller, this would make you feel confident accepting your offer, wouldn’t it?  This is extra work for you up front – but will streamline your process once your offer is accepted!

Communication

You took my first step of advice and you’re represented by an agent who is working for you.  That agent will know they have to keep good communication with the listing agent. These are the things your agent will be sure to communicate with you and the seller’s representative.

Gather all of the important documentation and disclosures 

Be prepared and knowledgeable about the property you are writing an offer on.  What types of property condition disclosures has the seller made? If you know what you’re walking into you can best customize your offer to the property at hand.

Work with  your agent to determine your end goals

You will be working very closely with your agent.  Sometimes it can feel uncomfortable being so open and honest with somebody else in regards to your financial situation, emotional situation and all other personal situations that go into why the right house is the right house for you and what may limit you in purchasing it.  You will have to be completely honest with your agent about all of these positions in order to make sure that the offer will help you reach your goals.

Determine the seller’s goals and if you can meet them

The seller is most likely going to accept an offer that gives them the least amount of objections and is going to be the easiest for them.  Determining when the seller wants to close and how long they need to stay in their home could be a deal breaker!  Sellers also want to have the cleanest offer with the least amount of “contingencies” that could make the offer fall through in the end.

Analyze the Market

Analyze with your Agent the comparable properties to determine current market value and best offer price.  Your agent should be able to complete a market analysis for the home you are offering on to help determine what similar properties are selling for.  Keep in mind homes are selling every day for far above what comparable properties suggest.  This is a hard truth in this market.  Talk with your agent about how far above “market value” you are willing to go to secure the property.  Market value is very suggestive.  You can make your offer based on the stats, emotions, or end goals.  How long do you plan to stay in this home? This could help determine how far above the asking price you are willing to offer.

Ever hear the phrase “A property is worth what a buyer is willing to pay for it”.  That has never been more true than it is right now.

Consider discussing an accelerator clause (also known as an escalation clause) with your agent – this allows you to offer a “base offer price” while automatically increasing your offer in predetermined increments above competing offers up to a set amount that you determine.  

Offer Drafting

It’s time to write that offer – what are the main points to consider?

Earnest Money

Earnest money is the “good faith” money that you put down with or after receiving an accepted offer.  The more you put down the more you have to lose if the offer goes south due to default on your part.  The higher your earnest money the more serious of a buyer you look like to the seller.

Home Inspections and Testing

No Realtor should ever advise you to waive home inspections and testing on properties you want to purchase.  Most Realtors will also ask you to actually sign a specific waiver form in the event you choose to not have a home inspected or tested. With that disclosure the hard truth is that in order to get offers accepted in this market – buyers are waiving these very important contingencies.  

Appraisal and Inspection Gap Coverage

A common strategy buyers incorporate into offers now are Appraisal and Inspection Gap Coverage.

In an appraisal gap coverage contingency you are overcoming at least partially a seller’s concerns that their property may not appraise for the amount of your offer’s price.  For example,  you could offer to cover up to a $10,000 difference between an appraised value and your offer price.  This gap coverage can be any amount you are comfortable with.  There are other ways to draft this type of contingency – but have that discussion with your agent.

An inspection gap coverage would indicate that you agree to not ask the seller for repairs so long as those repairs are not in excess of a certain amount. This indicates to the buyer that you are really looking for big dollar items on your inspection and not looking to “nickel and dime” them with little things that might be found and mentioned in your report.

Post – Closing Occupancy

Sellers get a warm and fuzzy feeling when they know that their offer will be complete and their home sold before they have to move out!  Most sellers appreciate being able to close as soon as possible but be able to stay in the house until they close on their new home or have enough time to move without the stress of worrying that something might fall through.  With any contingency there are risks to consider.  Discuss this with your agent.

Conclusion

These strategies are the most common strategies that we have seen in the years leading to this current market.  Not all of these strategies might be a fit for you, but as a Realtor we want to make sure you are aware of the options available to you and make sure you are knowledgeable about what types of offers are getting accepted.  Talk to your agent about the pros and cons of these strategies and how you might be able to work with some of these opportunities to get your offer accepted and closed!  You can be a homeowner and I hope we can help!

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