After weeks (or even months) of searching for a home, you’ve finally found the perfect home. Unfortunately, you have excellent taste and there are five, 10, maybe even more offers on the table. If you’re caught in a bidding war, there’s more you can do than cross your fingers.
Here are 3 strategies that may help turn the odds of winning the war in your favor.
1. Help the seller out
Do whatever you can, within reason, to make the decision easier for the seller. This can include being flexible on the closing date to accommodate the seller’s moving plans. And although it’s not unusual for buyers to ask a seller to pay for a portion of their closing costs, now may not be the time to press your luck. If you're able to cover your own closing costs and you don't ask for seller assistance in your offer, you definitely could stand out. Also, the greater your down payment, the more secure a seller may feel that your mortgage financing will close with no problems. That's not to say you can't compete against someone who is offering a larger down payment; sellers will weigh various factors as they review offers with their agent. Overall, limiting your requests of the sellers and submitting your highest and best offer are the best approaches to being competitive.
2. Be prepared to act fast
Both you and your agent should be constantly monitoring homes for sale so you can evaluate potential homes as quickly as they're posted. Research the properties as much as possible before your showings so you can be prepared to make an offer on the spot if the home is a good fit. Talk with your agent about adding an escalation clause into your offer that automatically increases your bid if other buyers come in. Finally, include a pre-approval letter from your lender stating that you qualify for a loan in the amount of your offer.
3. Don’t be shy
There isn’t always a lot of cash separating the top bid from the next closest contenders. For a seller with a strong emotional attachment to their home, an extra thousand dollars might mean less than passing their house along to the right buyer. Draft a letter describing why you fell in love with their house. Is it the perfect size for your growing family? Do you want to bring the backyard garden back to life? It just might give you the edge over the competition.
If you’re looking for advice tailored to your specific situation, a licensed buyer’s agent may be able to help. Contact a local RE/MAX agent today.