August 25, 2020
EVERYONE has heard how HOT, HOT, HOT the real estate market is right now. Terms like “Multiple Offers” and “Bidding Wars” are used over and again to describe how competitive it is for buyers out there. And nobody knows better than today’s buyer how incredibly discouraging it is to put an offer on a home you love, and not get it accepted – again and again and again. Seriously, it is not unusual to lose 4, 5, 6 houses or more.
What many buyers – and their (inexperienced) agents – overlook is that it is NOT all about the offering price. There are other elements to an offer that many buyer’s agents are neglecting, but their listing-agent counterparts certainly are not. First, a little background…
There are agents who list more than sell, and agents who sell more than list. And those listing agents, at least the good ones, are wired differently. We have a tougher skin. We deliver bad news. Good listing agents tell sellers what they NEED to hear, not what they WANT to hear. We convince them that doing repairs, paring down their stuff, staging their homes and pricing them properly will ultimately net them a lot more money than if they don’t. And it ain’t easy! And when we are blessed with multiple offers on one of our listings, we know how important it is to pick the right one; one that will make it all the way to closing. So here are the land mines in the transaction that most buyers are NOT addressing:
1. Not offering the sellers their IDEAL closing date
Have your agent find out exactly what they are looking for and write it into the contract. You’ll find a way to make it work. A couple of weeks inconvenience staying at Mom’s will be well worth it. Most sellers are moving on to another home. Avoiding storage fees and temporary housing fees are a big plus for them.
2. Not putting the WHOLE DEPOSIT up front
You’re going to have to hand it over sooner or later. Really, how much interest do you think you’re giving up? Hand over a nice, big, fat check right at the onset and you WILL stand out. Besides, it is protected in an escrow account.
3. Not having the Loan Officer call the Listing Agent
Getting a phone call from the loan officer telling the listing agent that you’ve been thoroughly vetted, through underwriting, and are literally ready to go (minus the property) is a world of difference from a “pre-qualification”. I hope I don’t need to tell you that a full pre-approval is an ABSOLUTE MUST these days?
4. Not “limiting” your home inspection
We would never recommend a first-time buyer forego a home inspection. (This does not hold true for an experienced investor or contractor.) But you CAN limit what you do to make it a whole lot less risky for the seller. You can do an inspection for “structural and environmental only” (think major engineering problem or buried, abandoned oil tank) or you can put a “floor” to your inspection requests; “buyer will not request any repairs or credits for deficiencies of LESS THAN $5000”. This way, you are covered for any thing major, and the seller can feel assured that they won’t be held up with trivial repairs. Let them know that you are NOT trying to claw back dollars after a home inspection
5. Not writing the sellers a letter
It is hokey, but it is true. Very often, the sellers will choose a buyer because they want someone like them; someone who really appreciates the home the same way they have. Buying and selling a home is charged with emotion so lean into it. Be the buyer they want to see in the house. Send a photo, too.
Remember, the sellers want the most money AND the least amount of stress out of their sale. If they know you really love the house, they know you will make it easy for them, because you are committed to the process. Just do it.