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the perfect offer


At what point does an offer become perfectly written? Easy answer, when it's accepted. Every listing, every seller, every time there will be something different. Writing offers is an organic process. If your agent could read minds, well she probably wouldn't be in real estate, but she would know exactly what that seller was looking for. Which typically is the highest priced offer, but it can be more about money........ Sometimes.

Because we can't always write the highest offer, let's consider a couple of the many other options used to create a favorable contract. Remember to discuss these options with your agent. Just because they're mentioned here doesn't mean you should use them, your agent will know best.

Also, please understand that all buying experiences are a little different. There is much more to the process than the below mentioned steps. Consider this a very basic 101 on the process. 



Telling you to get pre-approved should go without saying these days. But just in case no one told you, get pre-approved by a good lender. Believe it or not the lender you choose can actually make a difference. If your wife's brother in law does some lending from time to time and could "help you out", politely decline. Or if your huge mammoth of a bank has "great offers", politely decline. Best bet is to go with a local, well-known, mortgage lender. Listing agents love a good local lender because they're responsive, always available, dedicated, and have a local reputation to defend. And guess what, all these qualities translate into good things for you too. Go with a local lender. 

Inspection: After price, the inspection contingency may hold the biggest leverage buyers can work to create a favorable offer. There are a couple different options here. Sellers put a lot of weight into the timeline and possible expenses of inspections and repairs. Consider shortening your inspection timeline if you can. This will prove to sellers that you're motivated and ready. Better yet, consider a pre-inspection. You risk losing the cost of the inspection if you don't win the contract, but you can eliminate the post-mutual acceptance risks associated with inspection. Imagine if you could write an offer and give the opportunity to the seller of accepting or declining your repairs along with it. That's huge, no mystery or waiting needed. Or, if the home is in great shape, you can waive inspection altogether! 

Another option is offering an "up or down vote" on inspection. An up or down vote means that, barring any significant issues with the home, you're willing to move forward with no repairs. However, if there are significant issues then you're still left with the option of walking from the transaction. In this scenario the inspection takes place after mutual acceptance within the timeline written in your contract.



Remember all those love notes you wrote in middle school? Time to dust them off. Personal letters to the seller will work well in some cases. Now, if the seller is an investor, bank, estate, or anyone not emotionally tied to the home, odds are that the letter will fall flat. But if you're writing a letter to someone that has love and history with the home, bring it on. Obviously you love the home, so be honest. Tell the seller how you plan to maintain and improve it. Tell them about family dinners and backyard bbqs. Compliment their many contributions and vision for the home. Sometimes these letters can make the difference. 

Be Flexible On Time: Imagine selling a home in a competitive market while searching for one to buy. What happens if you sell your home and haven't lined one up yet? Sure, you could stay with the in-laws, but who wants that? As a buyer you have the opportunity to offer the seller flexibility on the closing date, their move out, and your possession. Consider discussing these terms with the listing agent. Maybe the sellers would prefer an extended closing date to continue their search. Or they may wish to "rent back" the home from you after closing. Renting back allows them to make non-contingent offers and strengthens their buying power. An easy win-win situation. 



Finally, there are a few more options you have, but they require a larger discussion with your agent. Details vary greatly depending on your buying power and position in the market. Here are a couple to discuss:

>>Offer a strong earnest money amount.

>>Pad your appraisal.

>>Use an escalation clause.

>>Write a non-contingent offer.

Time and Emotion Equal Money: Most of what is discussed above could be considered "terms" of a contract. Your ability to write favorable terms will show dedication to a stress free, fast transaction. Sellers and their agents love this. Stress equals time, time equals money. You may not always have the highest priced offer, but if yours is accepted, it was perfectly written. 

What's Next? See: Buyers: What Are My Costs?

If you have questions are are interested in more detail regarding the information above please feel free to contact me at your convenience.

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