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How to make the best purchase offer in a seller’s market

| May 16, 2021 1:00 AM

You’ve worked with a Realtor® to watch for listings hitting the market, toured what you could (maybe even virtually) and finally found it: the house you want to call home. The next step is to quickly make your purchase offer, and if you are like most people, the prospect can be quite intimidating. In a seller’s market, there can be even more pressure on the buyer to submit an impressive bid. So how can you make sure that the offer you submit is the one that is accepted?

“In a seller’s market like we’re in currently, home prices are higher, and inventory is lower than we’ve ever seen going into summer,” said Ali Taylor, Executive Officer of the Coeur d’Alene Association of REALTORS®. “This means you are almost guaranteed to be competing with multiple bidders. In a competitive market like this, buyers need every advantage they can get, and working with a Realtor® to make the best purchase offer is a smart move.” And believe it or not, the bid with the highest price is not always the one that wins.

“Of course, sellers want to get the best price for their home, but that isn’t always the deciding factor,” said Taylor. “Eliminating or reducing the number of contingencies with your bid, through things like pre-offer inspections or a longer time to possession, can also help make your offer stronger. The bid that causes the least amount of hassle for the seller is the one that will probably win.”

How to make the best purchase offer in a seller’s market

That doesn’t mean, however, that you should just submit a below market offer with no contingencies. “This is not the time to make a lowball offer,” said Taylor. “When you are going up against more than one potential buyer, it’s the time to put your best foot forward.” This might be your one chance to convince the owner to sell their home to you, so it’s all the more important to submit your best possible purchase offer. Stay away from buyer love letters, those can raise fair housing concerns.”

If you can pay cash for your home, chances are higher that your bid will be accepted. Sellers appreciate all-cash offers as they usually mean a quick, streamlined purchase. Financing issues, such as delays in mortgage approval or getting funds moved from the buyer’s bank account, are the primary causes of delays in the closing process. If a seller can avoid a lengthy or complicated process by choosing an all-cash buyer, they likely will.

For most people, however, a cash offer isn’t a possibility, and you’ll need to qualify for some variety of mortgage financing. If this is your situation, Taylor recommends getting preapproved for a mortgage before you even begin the search process. “With loan preapproval, you’ll be able to make a solid commitment to buy, and your offer will be more appealing to the seller,” said Taylor.

And of course, the most important thing that you can do to give yourself an advantage is to hire a RealtorÒ. “RealtorsÒ have real insights and unparalleled knowledge of our local market and can help you navigate the complicated home buying and negotiation process,” said Taylor.