Yippee! You’ve found your new home! (The only problem is that 18 other parties did too!) If you are looking in the “under $600K” price range in South Orange County, you are in a very crowded market and will have a lot of competition.
So, what can you do to increase your chances of your offer being selected as the buyer other than the obvious tactic of increasing your offer price?
- Don’t go home to “think about it!” We are not in that kind of market. While you are thinking about it, 10 other offers could be sent to the listing agent. There is still psychological value in getting your offer in early.
- Write a clean offer with a realistic offer price (may even have to be over the list price), and close date. If it isn’t stated on the MLS listing, ask the agent about closing details such as a preferred close date, and seller rent-back if required. Sometimes a 45 day escrow will beat a 30 day escrow, just because the seller needs time to arrange his move.
- Work with an agent who has a good reputation in the agent community. (Some agents are known to be uncooperative, difficult to reach, lazy about paperwork details, etc.) If your agent has previously worked with the listing agent, or they are friends through working on committees, etc, it can give you an edge.
- Work with a reputable local lender who can convince the seller’s agent that you are rock solid and will be approved within the time frame required. Unknown lenders, or internet-only lenders can be difficult to reach, or have less credibility.
- Provide your pre-approval letter with your offer, stating that your credit, income and down payment have been verified by your loan officer.
- Shorten your contingency periods if possible. Talk to your favorite home inspector, and find out how soon he can get to the property & complete his report. If he can do it in just a few days, offer to remove the inspection contingency within 5-7 days.
- Try to think like a seller. Why would a seller choose you and your offer over any others? Sometimes, writing a letter* to the seller explaining your personal reasons to want that home, or that neighborhood, may make a difference. (Don’t bother trying this with bank-owned homes – they don’t care a bit!)
*Sellers – As a listing agent, it’s my job to screen out the emotional reasons to accept an offer, and I will not allow buyers to write you love letters about how much they love your home, and that they will keep everything exactly like you have it now. (Including their teenage son’s bedroom that is now painted Barbie pink!)
It’s a very tough market for buyers right now, so you need to be prepared. I’m here to help, so please call me and we’ll work together to get your new home!