Whether you're a first-time buyer or have been at this game before, the key is to stand out to sellers to make a deal happen. If you’re on the prowl for a new home, keep the following tips in mind to help you grab the sellers’ attention and increase the odds of being a successful buyer.
Bring a Pre-Approval Letter to the Table
If you’re not paying in all cash for your next home purchase, then the next best thing would be to submit an offer along with a pre-approval letter from your mortgage broker. Being pre-approved for a mortgage shows the seller that you’re not only serious about buying, but you’re actually qualified to make this large purchase.
Sellers don’t want to waste their precious time with buyers who may or may not be able to afford a house. Instead, they’ll want to focus their attention on buyers who have the financial means to make the deal happen. Time is money, and that’s something sellers are not willing to waste on a buyer who hasn’t shown any proof that a mortgage can be approved.
Be Flexible With Closing
If you have very limited flexibility with your closing date, that might turn the seller off enough to turn down your offer. Customizing the closing date to suit the seller can often make them look in your direction and even potentially choose your offer over another with a slightly higher offer price.
For instance, if the seller is in a bind and really needs to close a deal before the new year because of a new job in another city, they may be more willing to take your offer with a faster closing compared to another offer with a longer closing, even if it comes with a higher offer price.
Avoid Too Many Conditions
An offer with a ton of conditions will be a real turn-off for sellers. Of course, they can always cross out any clauses that they want in hopes that you’ll agree to that. However, if you insist that the conditions stay in the offer, you might not impress the sellers too much. For example, making your offer conditional upon the sale of your own house is typically a condition that most sellers don’t like.
Of course, there are the typical conditions that should almost always be included, such as financing and home inspection conditions. If a home pre-inspection is already available you many want to consider reviewing with a qualified inspector or doing your own home inspection before the offer date if necessary.
If you’re buying a condo, you’ll also want to include a Status Certificate condition as well. These are meant to protect you in case you’re unable to secure a mortgage, or if there is something seriously wrong with the home that you are unwilling to accept.
That said, the “cleaner” the offer (meaning very few conditions), the more attractive it will be to the seller.
Write the Seller a Letter
This might sound a little cheesy, but writing a letter to the seller expressing your genuine interest in their home could go a long way in making them focus on you over any other buyer. To buyers, a house is just four walls, but to sellers who have lived there for a long time, it’s a home. As such, they like it when buyers appreciate how special the place is. It’s not uncommon for sellers to choose buyers who have written them “love letters” about their homes versus those with a higher offer price but no accompanying letter.
Offer Cash Upfront
You might be able to sweeten your offer by including a sizeable deposit in the form of a money order or certified cheque right along with your actual offer. This will really show the seller that you’re very serious about sealing the deal and have the funds available to make it happen. The small fee attached to processing a certified check or money order is nothing compared to all the other fees associated with buying a home, so don’t even let this be an issue.
Submitting a deposit cheque right on the spot along with your offer is especially helpful if you are caught in the middle of a bidding war. If you’re really trying to stand out from the crowd in a situation like this, showing the sellers the money right up front can be one of the best ways to grab their attention.
Work With a Respected Real Estate Professional
Working with a real estate agent who is well-versed in buying and selling in a specific neighbourhood and who is well-renowned in the area can be a big advantage for you as a buyer. These individuals might have inside information on upcoming listings that may not yet be available to other buyers, and can even recommend homes that you might have overlooked for whatever reason. Most importantly, they just might be able to get you in the house and help you draft up a solid offer.
The Bottom Line
It can be particularly tough to stand out from the crowd when the market is a hot one. That said, there are still things you can do to make yourself known to sellers, especially if you ever find yourself competing directly with other buyers for the same home.