6 Keys to Writing Winning Offers in a Sellers’ Market
November 23, 2014
In a sellers’ market, competition can turn fierce. Standing out becomes a challenge.
In these tight markets, smart strategies can make a big difference. Money helps, of course, but so does some creative and heartfelt communication—and having the right professional in your corner.
Follow these six tips, and you’re going to find success is just around the corner … along with your new house.
1. A good agent
An assertive, experienced REALTOR® will know the market well and will move quickly to present an offer to the seller.
They’ll be able to guide you through options that may seem a little crazy in a slower market—but could prove the difference between success and more house-hunting in a tight one.
2. An earnest deposit
A substantial deposit makes a big difference.
A reasonable deposit will be about 3% of the value of the property. A seller usually takes such an offer seriously and will feel confident you are committed to stand by this offer.
This could give your offer a winning edge. Submitting a pre-approval letter with the deposit puts your bid ahead of the others by showing the seller you have serious intentions.
3. Money talks
Of course, the more cash you can offer up-front can make a difference. too.
If you can afford a 30% or 40% down payment (or more), that may tempt sellers. And, in the long run, it will save you money on a mortgage, shortening the length of your loan and the interest you pay.
Few homeowners are likely to dismiss an all-cash sale. But let’s be honest—that’s a lot of dough that most people don’t have access to.
4. Get personal
Appeal to the seller’s emotions: include a personal letter in the offer to the person selling the property.
Explain why you want to buy the house and what you particularly like about it. Be as specific as possible. Appeal to what you may know of the property history.
Perhaps it’s a historic house the sellers lovingly restored, and you plan to keep it that way—tell them. Maybe you’re looking forward to raising your children in the specific community.
Other offers will appear impersonal in comparison.
5. Speed things up
Offer to close quickly. Most sellers want to make a speedy transaction—they’ll like this.
A standard closing period is about 30 days. If you can close in three weeks instead, this could convince the seller to accept your bid—even over one that offers more money.
Another winning negotiation strategy is to waive some of the contingencies usually included in a standard contract. For example, a winning offer can be one which agrees to shorten the period the buyer has to inspect a property for lead paint contamination.
Before you agree to waive any contingencies, however, you should check with your attorney.
6. Be nice
The sellers want a few more days in the house. Consider giving that to them rent-free.
There’s a few things ideally you’d like them to fix—but if they aren’t deal-breakers, consider letting that go.
Be friendly and personable, because if you prove to be someone they don’t mind dealing with, that could tip things in your favor, too.
Confirm Your Commitment
Ultimately, the question is this: how much do you want a new home?
In a sellers’ market, you’re probably going to have to give more, in many ways.
But hopefully your perseverance will pay off—for your family, and your bank account.
Updated from an earlier version by Wendy Dickstein.