By MICHAEL EDLEN | Contributing Writer
As 90% of the active current buyers can attest to, this housing market is exceedingly challenging. Stiff competition has led to higher prices and pressure to make quick decisions. It is not uncommon to hear of three to eight offers being made on a listing that appeals to many potential buyers, and of course, only one can succeed.
The focus here is on some learning experiences over many decades and finding out from sellers just what led them to select one offer over another. These tips may help you increase your chance of coming out on top.
Make every effort to get preapproved before starting to search for a home. If you are willing to provide all of the information needed to get underwriter approval, your offer will have far more credibility than competing ones unless they are literally all-cash offers.
Determine which loan will best serve you and be willing to be flexible in the terms that might give you the greatest assurance of approval.
Choose a highly effective real estate agent who has represented at least several buyers in a fiercely competitive market. Check their Zillow reviews and get referrals from people they’ve worked with. Such an agent is ideally efficient and can draw on experience to help deal with various scenarios that may come up. They are expert negotiators and also have excellent connections which can benefit you. Find out what strategies they have used to make their offers stand out most effectively.
Don’t expect to find the “perfect house” that will eventually come on the market. It won’t. Prepare for adjustments in expectations, while remaining realistic about your most important criteria.
Do not even think about making a “lowball” offer. Not only is it a waste of time, but you might begin developing a reputation among the real estate agents.
Minimize demands, conditions and contingency periods in your offer.
Be prepared to accommodate the seller’s needs or offer flexible timelines that would work best for their family. We’ve seen buyers with the second-highest offer be accepted because they were willing to allow the seller to remain in the home for a time after closing escrow.
Depending on the price range, location, condition, etc., be prepared that if there are multiple offers it may lead to paying more than the full asking price. It is not unusual in the more affordable price ranges for several competing buyers to drive the price up 10 to 20% above the starting level.
Look for homes listed below your budget, so you can accommodate bidding up if necessary.
If you will be borrowing money from someone, in addition to the bank financing, be sure to allow advance time for that process. Many banks will want to be sure the funds are “seasoned,” meaning they are in the account for at least two to three months.
It’s not just always about price, even though that usually is the major factor. Have your agent find out what other things may be important to the seller, or share some strategies that might give you an advantage.
Consider offering to pay some of the costs normally covered by the seller.
Expand your search if it might enable you to find more potential homes in another neighborhood that meet most of your criteria.
In case there are delays in the loan funding or other last-minute details, have the ability to stay in your current home for a few days after escrow is scheduled to close.
Finally, also remember that there will always be new listings coming on the market—and often a purchase does not quite work out because an even better fit is about to show up.
Michael Edlen has successfully represented hundreds of buyers in the Westside for 30-plus years. His team provides a level of service that results in confidence. He may be reached at 310-600-7422 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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