10 Ways to Strengthen Your Offer and Beat Out Competing Buyers

Inman news and ActiveRain posted an insightful article about ways to gain the competitive edge when submitting an offer.  The purchase price isn't the only way to woo a seller.  In fact, a savvy buyer should consider the following 10 things before submitting an offer:

10.  Present it in person. This rarely happens these days, with the ease and accepted norm of submitting offers via email or fax.  However, even submitting a letter or explanation of why the buyer loves the property and the story behind why this buyer wants the property can go a long way in a seller's decision to accept the offer.

9.  Include any requested addendums and documentation.  If the seller and seller's agent has requested certain addendums and documentation, be sure to include them in your offer.  If there are multiple offers, and yours is missing essential requested information, the seller may choose another offer that includes all essential parts.

8.  Include proof of funds in a cash offer, or a lender's pre-approval letter.  

7.  Inclusions.  Don't ask the seller for additional personal property items to be included in the sale at the time you submit your offer in a multiple offer situation.  

6.  Inspection contingency.  We don't fully agree with this one.  Unless a property has just been built or you know personally that the home has been meticulously cared for, never waive a buyer's inspection.  Obviously, waiving an inspection shortens the closing time, and in the seller's eyes, may eliminate any delays in closing due to the seller having to repair anything.  This is good for the seller, and may boost your offer, BUT we strongly encourage you to always request an inspection if you are a buyer.

5.  Requests for seller concessions.  If you are going to make requests from the seller (ie, asking them to pay some of the closing costs, leave some personal property items behind, or dramatically reduce the purchase price), make sure every other aspect of your offer is mistake-free!

4.  Earnest money.  In states that require a deposit, or earnest money, to be submitted along with an offer, buyers are encouraged to offer more money than less.  There is usually no requirement for the amount of the deposit, so the more you put down, the more the seller may be inclined to accept your offer in some cases.  

3. Closing and date of possession.  Usually, the sooner you are willing to close, the more enticing the offer is to the seller. Or the more flexible you are with when the closing date can be, the better the seller will view your offer, based on the seller's ideal timeframe.

2.  Costs paid by.  Costs of a sale are mostly negotiable between the buyer and seller.  Costs can range from appraisal, loan origination fees, septic inspection, a title policy etc.  Make sure you're not requesting the seller to pay for costs that are not usually allocated to the seller.  It is generally the rule of thumb in real estate deals that the party that benefits from a transaction usually pays for the majority of the costs.

1.  Cash is king! While most buyers are not in the position to offer all cash offers, cash offers are perceived as more favorable to the seller because 1. cash closings are quick and uncomplicated 2. There won't be any chance of a lender finding something objectionable about the buyer or an appraisal coming in lower than the purchase price in the contract.

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