Most buyers correctly assume that their real estate agent will do a great job for them in promoting their offer to the sellers agent. Here are a few tips to help you help your REALTOR put you in the best light for the seller and their agent to take YOUR offer seriously! These apply mainly to Louisiana but can be relevant in other states too.
As a Listing agent, here are a few things that impress me with an offer, and in a multiple offer situation, will help move you to the head of the list!
1. Large Deposit. In Louisiana you don't even have to have a deposit in order to make an offer on a home. However, as a listing agent, and recently, as a seller myself, I can tell you that the buyer who appears the most serious is the one with a serious deposit. Some agents don't want to tie up their clients money or they worry that if the buyer does something - as in back out of the sale - then they could lose that money. Think about it from the seller's standpoint. You are putting up serious money because you are CONFIDENT that you qualify to purchase the home and are serious about buying it. Your next question may be - what is a large deposit? Well, here it's not as large as you would find in any other state! On a $100K home I would like to see $1000 instead of $250 or $500. On a $300K home, I would expect to see $2000. Get the idea?
2. Put a short deadline for the inspeciton period. Call your inspector before you make the offer and see when you can schedule and do it then. You can always cancel and if you cancel quickly your inspector would be o.k.
3. Get a true Pre-APPROVAL letter stating that the lender has looked at your credit score, run your info through desktop underwriting, has VERIFIED the information provided, and that your TAX RETURNS have been given to the lender. These are items that impress me and the sellers out there who understand.
4. Use a LOCAL lender. When I see the pre-approval letter by Quicken Loans I want to run. I have had more of these loans not close than did closes and when we had an issue, it was virtually impossible to have someone to call who could help.
5. SHORTEN the time for closing. Don't have a 60 day closing if you want to impress the seller. In fact, it's a great idea for your agent to call the listing agent and ask what would work for the seller. Maybe the seller needs time to finish the school year. Maybe they are in the process of building a house. Or maybe they have an offer on another house and need to close quickly. See what they need and try to make it happen for them. However, if the house is vacant and you can close quickly, you might get a better deal on the house. In a multiple offer situation last week, the buyer who won the deal was the one who could close the fastest.
6. Realize that when you ask the seller to pay part or all of your closing costs, even at full price, the seller looks at what your net offer is. In a multiple offer situation the person who asks for no or little closing costs has a better chance of winning.
7. If you raise the sales price to cover your closing costs, be aware that if the appraisal comes in short, the seller will delete those closing costs. By raising the price you have ELECTED to roll the closing costs into your mortgage. The seller wants to net whatever you all agreed the net offer would be. So if you offer $205,000 on a $200K house, and want $7000 closing costs, the net offer to the seller is $198K. If the appraisal comes in at $202K then the seller is only going to give you $4000 closing and you need to have a source ready to cover any shortfall. Some people think because the seller agreed to all those closing costs that they should still pay for them. In a hot Market, they may have a back up offer that you are not even aware of and they will bump you off the contract. Always have a contingency plan for your closing costs!
8. DO NOT ASSUME that the seller will counter ALL the offers at once in a multiple offer situation. And on a house that just came on the market, don't make a low offer or ask for a lot of closing costs. If it is a great house, then you might not even be aware there are other offers - especially if the other offers are significantly better than yours.
I hope these ideas will help you help your agent when you are negotiating on your new home. And if you don't have an agent to help you, we would love to be your REALTORS!!!