When I am out there “in the field”, I like to listen to responses I get from other agents and questions that I get from current home buyers.
Frankly, you should know that sellers are expecting an offer and to negotiate.
So, my buyer agent tip is to plan ahead and prepare an offer that is easily negotiable.
Realtors in Northern Virginia now use a standardized Residential Sales Contract. This was updated in January 2015 and most of the usual sources of buyer guides are waiting to publish their new guides due to significant changes which will happen to Settlement Statements this summer.
For the time being, my recommendation is to sit down with your buyer agent and go through all sixteen pages, the home inspection contingency, financing, or home sale contingencies and the required disclosures. This will probably only take a couple of hours, but you will have a much better strategy to implement when that ideal home pops up.
Work on these concepts now
A good agent will ask all parties when they ideally prefer to “Settle” or “go to Closing”. This date will be part of your offer so knowing when the seller ideally want to close may sweeten your offer.
Virginia does recommend that the buyer select the Settlement Agent, and I feel it is important to keep that relatively near the property at a professional office. I have seen offers where the office is miles away and, to put it mildly, friggin’ inconvenient to all parties. Once, another agent’s client had selected a settlement agent to save a few bucks but was irate because the traffic had made him late. Your agent should be able to make a recommendation that will be convenient for everyone.
Unless you are paying cash, you will be getting a mortgage. Now, the primary fear of every seller is that your bank will reject your financing and then they will be back looking for a new buyer. This is a common headache for sellers when they are reviewing an offer.
Trust me, when financing falls out everyone is a little upset.
You will overcome this obstacle by getting pre-approved ahead of time and having your agent include it with your offer. Then, as they are looking over things, they can see that Wells has given an “arms-length” recommendation after reviewing your credit and assets.
Build seller confidence
Your offer really can’t have “TBD” anywhere. I see agents/buyers writing TBD in offers on listings of mine. And what that means to me, guiding my client, is that proper questions weren’t asked in advance and the offer is weak.
A recent theme for me has been to pick your dates, but, know that it is essential in your offer to have your home inspection period or financing contingency hammered out in your initial offer.
Be prepared to show that you are attaching a significant Earnest Money Deposit. Listen, there isn’t some magic percentage here and I have read “Internet experts” recommend a low EMD strategy that is guaranteed to undermine your offer. In my real world experience, if there are two offers that are essentially the same price but one has an EMD of 1% and the other has 4% ~ the higher percentage will streng and build more confidence with the seller.
The winning real estate offer
I admit that I am competitive and like to win. My role as my client’s buyer agent is to give their offer the best opportunity to win the negotiation.
Understanding the other party is essential and sometimes there are factors influencing decisions that are beyond reason. Family and friends can make off hand comments that may have been important ten years ago, but have little bearing on what our market is experiencing today. Another buyer agent tip ~ Your agent really needs to be your strategist.
A few years ago, I decided to make a list to give you little insight into the Realtors role as a buyer’s agent.
Plan ahead and put together a winning real estate offer in 2015!