As we enter the fall season, is it a seller’s market or a buyer’s market in our area? I am still seeing a seller’s market, although it is not as extreme as it was last year. Buyers are still experiencing multiple offer situations if a property is “priced to sell” but sellers are definitely not as able to “push the market” by putting a higher-than-market price on their property this year, in my opinion.
So how does a buyer craft the perfect offer if they find themselves in a multiple offer situation, sometimes referred to as a bidding war? Here are some tips:
· First of all, make sure that you are prepared to make your bid. If you are financing your purchase, you must be pre-approved. No seller will entertain an offer without a pre-approval letter attached. If you are purchasing a property with cash, you must have proof of funds so that the seller knows you have the cash on hand.
· How much of a down payment do you need? There are lots of low down payment financing options out there, but the more you have to put down, the stronger a buyer you are, and the more likely to be chosen in a multiple offer situation. If you have a lower percentage down payment, you may have to balance the equation with a higher purchase price or less contingencies.
· Speaking of contingencies, this is a place to differentiate your offer from the others. If you are the only bid on the table, by all means go ahead and try to get the swing set or the window treatments included. If there are other bidders however, you need to make your offer as “clean” as possible. Shorten times for home inspections and offer the earliest Purchase and Sale agreement signing date as you can. These things can make the difference to a seller, whose main goal is to find out ASAP whether or not the deal is moving forward.
· As for the really important date on the offer, can you be flexible with closing date? All sellers have an idea about when they want to move. When writing an offer, I always start by asking the listing agent what their sellers desired timeline is. Do they want as quick a close as possible? Do they need time to find a new home? Targeting the closing date for as close as possible to the seller’s wishes can sometimes be a deciding factor on which offer they choose.
· Finally, know what you want in a property, and be ready to go with a decision on making an offer. While you sleep on it, another buyer could be making their move. Do not make a premature decision, but as soon as you know that the property is the one for you, take action and tell me, “Jeanne, it’s go time!”