With the continuation of historically low-interest rates, and inventory continuing to be low, all buyers at all price points should consider ways in which to distinguish and elevate the quality of their offers. There are several ways in which to do this.
Make Sure You Are Pre-Approved For a Loan
Including a Pre-Approval letter a fundamental element of all offers, without it a seller can only wonder if the transaction will provide a predictable outcome. Additionally, there are different views of what the Pre-Approval letter should reflect. Some agents prefer that the Pre-Approval letter reflect the offer price, thinking that this might compel a seller to accept the offer due to the fact the buyer can only qualify for the offer price. This will always result in having to secure additional Pre-Approval letters as the buyer and seller counter with higher sales prices. The major problem with this approach is that it puts undue pressure on the buyer to continually document that they are able to purchase at a higher price; thus potentially creating questions in the seller’s mind of the buyer’s ability to qualify for more.
Another option, which I prefer is to have the Pre-Approval letter reflect the highest amount the buyer can qualify for. This accomplishes several things. First, it eliminates the hassles of having to get the lender to issue a new letter every time there is a counter with a higher sales price. Secondly, instead of having to continually convince the seller of the buyer’s ability to qualify for a higher sales price, it allows for the focus to be on the value, condition, utility, and features of the home and how they affect value. In my opinion, this is a huge benefit as it allows for the negotiations to be focused on the property and not the buyer’s ability to buy.
Always Personalize Your Offer
With sellers receiving multiple offers it is essential to distinguish your offers from others. One of the best ways of doing this is to let the seller know who you are. I generally have clients write a short letter about themselves, their family, education, and work. And I also ask them to include a picture that includes family and pets; dogs always good.
In addition to personal insights, the agents should include information concerning the balance of the team. This should include insights into the lender and the agent’s history with them, insights into the law firm that will be handling the closing, and of course insights into the agent's background, credentials, and experience.
Presentation Is Critical
Once the offer is prepared I suggest that the agent combine the entire package into one PDF. The suggested order should be a cover letter addressed to the listing agent, describing the team and personal information about the buyer, followed by the Pre-Approval letter and the complete offer. This insures that when the offer is delivered to the seller, they will receive the entire package. I cannot tell you how many times our offers have been selected because the sellers are able to distinguish our clients from others that only appear as paper.
Keep It Simple
In a Sellers’ Market, it is always a good idea to not complicate the offer with lots of hoops for the seller to jump through. By doing so it will make the seller feel less pressure and will increase their comfort with the buyers. Just a suggestion.