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Making an effective offer

10MurchesonPlHave you found your dream house and want to make an offer? The real estate market is very competitive, and you have to be prepared to move fast. If you don’t, other buyers will win. Here is some solid advice, based on a blog post by fellow realtor Manuel Barrios, that will help you win your house:

• Avoid Delays

“Time kills deals.”  Be prepared and have all the paperwork ready: pre-approval letters, evidence of funds, etc. This way you can present a more eye-catching and organized offer and make a good impression on the listing agent and the seller. You should supply this documentation to your agent before you start looking, to help him choose appropriate properties for you and to be prepared to act quickly.

• Don’t make an offer for your lender’s pre-approved amount

Chuck Silverston (principal at the Unlimited Sotheby’s International Realty in Brookline Mass) says this about making such an offer:

“Many buyers come in with a pre-approved amount for the exact offer price, but when competing against other offers – including cash offers – people need to show financial strength.”

Then he adds: “An exact pre-approved amount can make a listing agent nervous because the buyer not only will not have room to negotiate, but may also not qualify if the interest rate increases. ”

• Don’t make a lowball offer

Submitting an offer significantly lower than the asking price can bring you negative consequences. Always base your offer on the current market–recent sale prices of similar homes in the area. Otherwise the owner might reject you completely and refuse to listen to any subsequent offers. (The one exception is if the property has been on the market for a significant period of time because it is overpriced, but seek the advice of your realtor about this.)

• Don’t waive inspection contingencies

Even if it is new construction or if you are buying the property from a relative, you need an inspection by a third-party professional. Having the inspection can gain you bargaining power by revealing issues that need to be addressed, either by monetary concessions at the closing table or by forcing the seller to have problems fixed before closing.

• Make a good impression

There is nothing more important than giving a good impression to the owner and listing agent.  Just as buying a home is an emotional decision, so is selling a home. In addition to a solid and advantageous financial offer, a seller might also be swayed by your enthusiasm, your story, any personal appeal you might make through your agent to sweeten the offer. Although I don’t have data on this, there are cases where a seller with a strong emotional attachment to a home accepts an offer from a buyer he or she identifies with over one with a higher offer.

To discuss these points and any other questions you may have, feel free to contact me at 914-297-8475.  I’ll be happy to help you buy or sell a home.


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