How to Make a Winning Offer in a Seller's Market

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We have been looking to purchase a new home for about 6 months and have written offers on 3 different homes, only to be beat out by other buyers on two of the homes and make an offer to unreasonable sellers who will not back down off their price at all and it has been on the market for almost a year. We are feeling a bit snake bit and just can’t believe we keep missing out. Do you have any secrets you can share with us that will help us get the next home we make an offer on? We know the market has improved, but we seem to keep finding the perfect homes that we can’t buy. We are twice jilted, once stonewalled and needing some help!

Louis and Rhonda, Grand Junction

Louis and Rhonda,

I will admit, it does sound like you are snake bit, but don’t lose faith. You are right, the market has continued to improve this year and we are all better for it, albeit the change has not been as dramatic as many would like. The market improvement you speak of, coupled with the relative lack of good, clean inventory that is properly priced makes shopping for homes difficult. 

Our current market is pretty much a sellers’ market, meaning it does not favor the buyer or the seller in the lower price ranges, but it does start leaning more and more heavily toward the buyer as the price range goes up. Therefore in the lower end of our market, say under $300,000, you often get good competition for new homes on the market that are priced attractively and in good condition. 

Here is a point to consider when you are shopping for a new home: buyers recognize a good deal. Just like when I was growing up, my mom was always careful with our money and what she spent it on. My Dad worked hard for what money our family did have and they would spend it wisely, but I promise when something was on sale, my Mom knew about it. She knew the market for whatever it was she was shopping for and she would watch and wait. Buyers are still the same today as they were back then…a real buyer, regardless of what they are shopping for, knows a good deal and when they see it they will act on it. Don’t be lulled to sleep thinking you are the only one who will see it. If something is a good deal or just the right fit you have to go after it and don’t be afraid of a little competition if it is the right home.

It is not always price… we have taken offers for less money because other terms were more important than a few thousand dollars.

It is not fun being beat out once on a property, nonetheless twice, so next time make sure your agent talks to the listing agent and finds out as much information as he/she can about the seller and the seller’s situation. Craft an offer that is very seller friendly. It is not always price… we have taken offers for less money because other terms were more important than a few thousand dollars. Maybe a long closing, maybe higher earnest money, it may be a preferred lender…the list goes on and on, but sometimes little things matter a bunch. Also, if it is just the right house and just the right fit for your family, don’t be afraid to spend a little more to secure it. Listen, this might sound crazy, but $5,000 over the life of a loan or living in a house for the next 10 years is really not much at all, if it is the right house. It equates to $25 per month, not the end of the world if it really is the RIGHT home. Don’t be afraid to compete and compete to win. My bet is that in 2, 5, or 10 years you won’t regret it. Sometimes we get so caught up on a good deal we lose sight of all the other tangible benefits. I am not saying throw money around and throw caution to the wind, but I am saying don’t be afraid to win a bidding war if it is just the right home. Sometimes, in life, happiness and what you want is worth the fight. 

As for the seller who won’t back down, my guess is it’s not the right house for you at the price they are asking and if that is the case, just move on. You will find the right house, it is waiting on you. When you find it again, you will know it, just don’t be afraid to fight for it!

Dave Kimbrough
The Kimbrough Team

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