How to Come Prepared with Your Best Foot Forward to the Offer Table

I'm Heather

I am SUPER passionate about real estate, investing and helping other reach their goals. I am a Mortgage Loan Originator, Director, Wife, and Mom, so have a unique approach and understanding of my client's needs and love making the market understandable. 

hey there

This is the perfect one! You’ve found your dream home and today is the offer date. You know it’s going to be competitive and you’re hoping and praying you get the house. Your agent asks you for a personal letter to include with your offer. You totally forgot and you are late for work so you ask “why do I have to do a personal letter if a seller is just looking for the highest price they can get?” Well…

The final decision is not always about price…

Of course, a seller is looking for a great price on their property but the final decision on which offer they accept may have nothing to do with price. Often, if the seller has a long history in the property, there is an emotional attachment, and they will want to feel good about who the next owner is. This can ultimately suborn price in the final selection and lead to a seller deciding on the buyer they feel will appreciate their home the most. In fact, 3 of the last 4 buyers I have represented were NOT the highest offer yet won the day because of the personal connection we were able to make with the seller through their personal letter. So, what goes into the perfect letter?

The perfect letter…

Keep it short. Anything over a couple of paragraphs will get lost. Start with a brief, yet personal introduction of you (and your family if applicable). Things like starting a family or how you are buying your first home as a couple are perfect topics – Your job status for example should be avoided unless you want to be closer to work so you can see your kids more – I would then go into why the home would be perfect for you. Again, stay away from how it “meets your criteria of 2 beds and 2 baths” and go into more personal details of the house and how you might imagine your future child playing in the backyard. Finally, and most importantly, relate your appreciation of the house directly to the sellers. Try to get details on why they are selling and on what the seller likes about the property. How?

Win over the listing agent!

A good listing agent will know all the details but will not freely share their Seller’s deeper preferences or profile at first. This requires spending some time with them. Open houses are convenient for the initial preview but ask your agent to set up a private showing during the week. Bring the kids and share some of your story during the tour. Anything that might leave a positive impression for the listing agent to relay to the Seller on the offer day. Finally, don’t ever be afraid to show how much you love the property!

A recent success story from one of our partner realtors…

One of the aforementioned buyers is a small business that was finally moving her company out of her home after 30 years. I shared these facts with the listing agent and she reciprocated by saying that we should absolutely write a letter to that effect. When I asked why she said that the Seller was a female business owner herself and had run her business out of that building for the last 30 years. She wanted to get a very good price because it was her “nest egg” but she also wanted to “leave her building in good hands” …Bingo! We wrote our offer, and included the letter and while we did have to increase our price during negotiation, in the end, we were awarded the property without being the highest offer on the table. 

Take advantage of creative financing solutions…

Since the market is shifting rapidly, it’s important to know if you are still in a seller’s market and if you are there are programs such as Ribbon that allow you to compete with Cash Offers by positioning the conventional buyer (for a small fee) to compete by backing up your offer with cash and a guarantee to purchase the home regardless of your financing situation. Reach out and we can explain how this works as it’s been a great option for many buyers in hot markets.

If you do find yourself in a market that’s beginning to cool, of course don’t be afraid to ask the seller for closing costs or other items to offset the cost of newly higher interest rates. This is especially effective when you’re still offering full price and there aren’t many other offers on the table. Don’t be afraid to get creative!

The takeaway…

Every situation is unique and in this ever-changing market it’s important to align with professionals that have your best interest at heart. The key lies in having an agent who will help you make a great impression on the listing agent, coming to the table prepared with great financing from a great lending partner, and finding that scenario that will help you stand out in the most competitive situation. We will partner with you and your agent (or refer you to one of our trusted partners) to come up with the best financing solutions to help you win the home of your dreams!

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