How Do You Make a Competitive Offer?

Updated: Dec 3, 2020

Here’s how to make your offer stand out in a multiple-offer situation.

If you find yourself in a bidding war for the home you want in our Salt Lake City real estate market, here are five points to consider when crafting your offer:

1. Price. You can talk with your agent or spouse about comparables, but after you settle on an offer price, the conversation should turn toward earnest money. Here in Utah, we’ve historically seen very low earnest money amounts. If you understand the real estate purchase contract, you know that there are contingencies that allow you to keep your earnest money even if you cancel the contract. However, in a multiple-offer situation, increasing your earnest money amount is something you can do to make your offer stand out.

2. Pre-qualification. Show the seller you’re pre-qualified. Of course, you need to have a pre-approval letter, but getting a pre-approval isn’t the only thing you can do. Take things a step further. If you have a loan officer, they should be involved in the negotiations with the listing agent. That way, they can reassure them of your ability to close on the home. As I always tell my sellers, if I call a loan officer on behalf of a potential buyer and start asking them basic qualifying questions they don’t know the answers to, that’s a bad sign.

3. Dates. Make sure the dates in your contract align with the seller’s timeline. It’s always possible that they need to close faster or include a rent-back period as part of the agreement. Nowadays, sellers oftentimes have to buy another home to subsequently move into. In this situation, I always call the listing agent on behalf of my buyer, ask them about the seller’s purchase date, and coordinate our schedules so everything goes smoothly.

In a multiple-offer situation, yours shouldn’t be the only lowball offer.

4. Contingencies. Shorten your due diligence, inspection, financing, and appraisal contingencies. There’s no reason to have a long contingency deadline if you’re committed to a home.

5. The personal touch. This is sometimes difficult for buyers to do, but write a letter to the seller telling them who you are. Talk about your family, interests, and why you like their home. For example, perhaps it has an open-kitchen concept that appeals to you in terms of how your family can spend time together during dinnertime.

5. Write your best offer. Sometimes I hear buyers tell me that they want to negotiate. I understand—I’m a deal junkie. However, in a multiple-offer situation, yours shouldn’t be the only lowball offer. I’m not saying you should overpay for anything. Each home’s value is tied to comparable properties and appreciation, so look at the numbers, consult a professional, and try and understand where values are heading in a particular area.

It’s a frustrating time for buyers in our market, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. If anything, COVID will accelerate the migration to Utah and the growth of our market. Our freeways are about to get way busier, so until inventory rises, this will be the new norm.

If you’d like to know more about strengthening your offer or have any real estate questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d love to help you.

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