In this competitive marketplace, you need to make your offer stand out. Below are 7 tips to help you write a winning offer. Now, of course, a high price, all cash, and no contingencies are the obvious terms for a winning offer, but the tips below will help your offer even if you are all cash.
- Don’t make your offer contingent upon another sale
Keep your offer clean and simple. If at all possible, avoid making your offer being contingent upon the sale of your current home.
- Don’t ask for personal property
Unless you were told the seller doesn’t want something, don't ask for it. If the Seller has stated they don't want a certain piece of property, then, in that case, accept it. You might be doing them a favor by taking it off their to-do list and tip the scales in your favor for winning the house. Same is true if the Seller is trying to sell some furniture - just factor it into your sales price. Spending $500 on Grandma's old dining room set just might win you the house.
- Don’t make a low ball offer.
In a Seller's market, this might seem obvious, but I still see it happening. A lower-than-asking price offer is different than a low ball offer. If you have no competition, sure, you can go in a little under asking price. However, with a low ball offer (10-20% or more under asking), you run the risk of insulting the Seller enough that they won't want to deal with you even if you come up in price.
- Make it look professional
This one is not so obvious, but I tell you it makes a difference. I can't tell you how many times I've been on the listing side and received sloppy offers (illegible handwriting, missing pages, poor resolution, typos, incomplete entries and more). Often, the seller will move it to the back of the stack or not even consider it.
Presentation Matters! Here is a checklist for you (and your agent):
Don’t skip mortgage pre approval.
- Make sure there are no typos.
- Type everything. Avoid any handwritten entries if possible.
- Scan at high resolution into one file.(I once received an offer with 30 one page attachments. Really?)
- Double check that there are no missing pages. (Missing the page with the settlement date is a real turn off to the Seller. It happens).
- Make sure everything is in the proper order.
- Make sure everything is complete - disclosures included, a copy of the EMD, a pre-approval letter, etc.
- Include a summary page or include a summary in the email.
Although a mortgage pre-approval letter is not legally required, any good listing agent will want to see one. Do yourself a favor and get pre-approved before you write that offer. It doesn't take long and it will avoid a number of issues down the road.
Don't ask for closing cost help.
Don't ask for closing cost help unless you really need it. Sellers are always disappointed when they see the offer price, but then ten pages later, see you are asking for money back. This can also become an issue down the road with the appraisal. Sellers look at the net price (Sales Price - Concessions), but the appraiser is only concerned with the Sales Price.
Find out the seller's preferred settlement date
The settlement date can be a very important term for the seller. They might be purchasing another home and need their current one to close by a certain date. Or maybe they are moving out of the area, but don't want to move too soon. It takes a simple phone call to find out the seller's timeline and there is no reason not to find out.