Being armed with the right information and mindset can strengthen your case if there are competitive offers and ease the transaction every step of the way.
Here are five things you should know.
1. The buyer who can move the fastest…does. Do your homework before shopping around by meeting with your bank or a mortgage broker to get a letter verifying that you have been pre-approved for a loan. Strengthen your case by getting approval for an amount higher than your target sales price. The process can take anywhere from one week to a couple months so allow time for that. According to LendingPatterns.com, less than 10 percent of buyers bother to get preapproved for a loan so know that this will set you apart and strengthen your credibility to sellers. This will be especially important if you find yourself in a competitive bidding situation.
2. Be realistic in terms of a down payment. Twenty percent is always a strong offer so be ready to offer that unless you are in the medical profession. Physicians are considered very secure buyers by banks so doctors can find great loans out there for as little as five percent down.
3. A personal touch can make all the difference. When everything else is equal (and sometimes even when it’s not), a personal letter that hits home with a seller may be just what you need to tip the scales in your favor. Last week a seller accepted an offer over another because the buyers explained in a letter that they both had daughters the same age and theirs would be taking the seller’s daughter’s place in school. They even asked if their daughter could come over and meet the seller’s daughter before they moved out of town in order to get to know the neighborhood and school better. This put a very personal face on a dollars and cents offer and appealed to that desire many sellers have to feel good about the person buying their home.
4. Sweeten the deal. When possible, offering to rent back to the seller is a strong tool to set your offer apart. This can save sellers money in terms of moving twice or paying for storage if there is some lag time between close of escrow and when their next home is ready.
5. It’s not just what you say but how you say it. Your offer can set the tone for your negotiations not just by how much you are willing to pay but also by how you ask for things. Be sure your Realtor adopts a positive attitude, using words such as “please” instead of “should” or “must” in any addendum. Read over the document after you’ve spoken with your Realtor to make sure he or she is stating your requests in the best light.
Working with an experienced Realtor can also help your home buying process go smoothly. I’ve been in the business for almost 30 years and was recently honored as one of only three Hasson agents who have made the company’s top 40 list for the past 27 years. Give me a call at 503.939.9801 or check my website. I’d love to show you around.