Many parts of the country are experiencing a strong seller's market, and that certainly has been the case for the last couple of years in San Francisco, San Mateo County, and the Silicon Valley. So, what's a buyer to do?
Here are 5 tips to help buyers when competing with multiple offers:
- Make certain you are pre-approved for financing. Your real estate agent, your lender and you need to function as a team and have a complete understanding of your financial strengths and the lender's abilities regarding rent-backs, time frames, etc.
- Do your homework - with your agent's assistance, learn everything you can about the property. Read all the disclosures, jotting down questions as you go. If you have a thorough picture of the house, might you make your offer free of contingencies. (We'll talk about that more in another post.)
- Sign all the disclosures and cover pages of reports that have been provided to you before you make the offer. Sure, it takes time, but you are sending a strong message to the sellers and the listing agent that you are serious. Does your agent do her/his visual inspection ahead of time and include it with your offer? That helps.
- Make it easy for the seller to want to work with you - ask your agent to find out as much about the seller as possible--do they need a rent-back? Does a short close appeal.
- Tell the seller about yourself. Write a letter, or provide bullet-points so your agent can write that letter. You need to become a real, flesh-and-blood person in the mind of the seller, not simply numbers on paper. Find the connection between you, whether it's you both work in the same industry, or both have cats (yes, that was the clinching factor for my buyer in a recent purchase.) Let the seller know why you like the property, how you see yourself cherishing it and caring for it. Compliment them on the care they have given the house, the paint colors, the garden -- something.
It's not easy being a buyer in a seller's market, so take all the steps you can to strengthen your offer and be successful.
And one extra tip: Don't give up if the first or second offer isn't accepted. Focus and persistence do pay off.