In a seller’s market, the competition can be fierce when trying to buy a home. But don’t get discouraged: There are plenty of ways for buyers to show sellers they are serious and able to exceed all expectations.
If you want to make your purchase offer stand out, we can help. Use these 8 tips to stand out in the crowd and prove to the seller that this dream home should be yours.
With strong attention to detail, proactive thinking, and a clean offer, you’ll put yourself in a much stronger position to get your offer accepted and buy the home you want.
1. Get pre-approval
One of the simplest ways to show you are serious about an offer is to get pre-approval from a mortgage lender. This shows the seller you have taken the necessary first steps to get a mortgage and aren’t just browsing homes.
For pre-approval, a loan officer will look at your:
- Credit history and score
- Employment history
- Debt-to-income ratio (DTI)
- Income and assets
Once you’re pre-approved, you can include proof in your offer with River City’s Seal of Approval.
2. Offer above the asking price
Especially in a seller’s market, offering above the asking price is key to beating out the competition. This doesn’t mean you need to offer thousands and thousands above the asking price, but some experts suggest offering at least 1-3% over the list price.
Ask your real estate agent to find out what offers the seller rejected. Regardless, offering above the asking price shows a seller you are serious about buying the home and gives you a better chance of your offer being accepted.
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3. Make your offer clean and simple
A clean and simple offer will show the seller that you and your agent are easy to work with. Adding in unnecessary words or copying and pasting sample text into the offer can be confusing and awkward.
A clean offer also means being free of contingencies such as requesting help with closing costs or other buyer requests. It may seem like a risk, but if it’s important to you to get this home, you must weigh these risks.
Discuss with your loan officer other means of protection beyond these contingencies, such as getting your loan fully underwritten before making an offer.
4. Put down a larger Earnest Money Deposit
An Earnest Money Deposit (EMD) is a good-faith deposit that shows you are serious about buying the home. EMDs usually are about 1-3% of the home’s purchase price, but you may choose to offer more.
Offering more can be risky if the deal falls through, so make sure you are confident about this move and prepared for whatever happens next.
5. Don’t get personal
Experts used to recommend writing a personal letter to sellers and including family photos to forge a connection. However, these letters resulted in fair-housing lawsuits. Buyers were concerned that offers were rejected due to bias.
Avoid getting personal in any form. Don't ask to list personal property in the exclusions. You want to make your offer as strong as possible and pose no issues to the seller in any form.
6. Include an escalation clause
If you add an escalation clause to your contract, you are telling the seller you will escalate your offer to outbid others — up to a maximum price. This will bump your offer to the top of the list as bidding ensues.
This is a common tactic used in a competitive market, but you could end up paying much more than the initial contract price. You will need to consult with a lawyer to write this into your contract, as it is essential to structure it correctly.
7. Offer an appraisal gap clause
An appraisal gap occurs when an appraiser determines a home’s value is less than you offered to pay. When you put an appraisal gap clause in your contract, you are stating you will cover this gap.
Buyers who can cover the gap — and can prove it — have a better chance at acceptance. You just have to make sure you have the funds to cover this potential gap.
8. Pay attention to details
Think of your offer like the job application process for a moment: If you’re missing any pertinent information to the job, have any grammar or spelling errors, or forget to include anything they specifically asked for, you could lose your opportunity fast because there are dozens of other applicants who paid strict attention to details.
Your purchase offer is subject to even tougher scrutinizing. If you are missing any documents, are late to submit information, or have failed to follow any guidelines, you could quickly lose your chance.
Have your offer accepted and connect with a mortgage officer
Your mortgage loan officer’s experience and reputation are key components to your purchase offer’s success. Connect with the professionals at River City Mortgage for an authentic, personalized experience and thorough guidance.
We look forward to helping you get your offer accepted and get you into your new home.