In a tight real estate market, buyers often hear from their agents they need to put their highest and best offer on the table. Gone are the days of being able to start with a lower offer and wait for the seller’s counter. Inventories are too tight and homes are selling too quickly for buyers to waste time with anything other than a serious offer right out of the gate.
In order to make your offer stand out from the competition, you have got to make sure to follow some basic rules:
- No Strings – A clean offer with no contingent sale of another property or financial constraints is very appealing to a seller. The closer you can get to the asking price and the less concessions you ask for, the better your chances are of being accepted.
- Nothing Personal – Don’t ask for anything additional to be thrown into the deal, like a cool piece of wall art or awesome patio set. If the market is tight, that addition could be the thing to push you out of contention.
- Shorter Due Diligence – If you really want the property, you can offer to do an abbreviated contingency period in order to show you are serious about the house and you are not dragging your feet to get the deal done.
- Consider the Sellers – Are they looking to move quickly? Will they need more than a month to close? When making your offer, try to reflect their needs to ease the process for them. You’d be surprised how much difference a 30-day versus a 45-day closing make to a seller.
- Above Asking – Low offers are not going to get the job done in this market. With possible multiple bids, going above the asking price might be a necessity.
- Strong Earnest Money Deposit– The more money you can put down, the more seriously you will be taken. You should fully intend on putting that earnest money towards your new home.
- Inspection Expectations – Be realistic going into the inspection. The seller isn’t required to fix anything. If you want to haggle over minor flaws, you might miss out on a home you really love.
- Cover Letter – This is your chance to introduce yourself and let the sellers know your enthusiasm for the property. Adding a few details about yourself might add something compelling that the seller likes and is drawn to over another offer.
There are always circumstances out of your control when buying a home. Even when you put together your very best offer, following all the guidelines, the buyer still may choose another buyer. Take comfort in knowing you did everything you could to make your offer the best it could be. And in the event that the first offer doesn’t work out, your offer is still incredibly strong as a potential back up offer.