Smart Tips for Making the Strongest Offer

By in News

• Wise Ways to Make a Winning Offer •

Spring is here and people in San Diego are on the move. Buyers and Sellers are shaking off those winter blues, ready for a fresh change of scenery — a new place, a new start.

While today’s changing real estate market can still be fiercely competitive, finding your next home is just the beginning. The real challenge lies in making an Offer that stands out, so you cross the finish line as the new homeowner.

Here are some top tips to help you craft the strongest Offer possible, putting you closer to turning that perfect house into your very own.

1. Prep Pre-Approval & Proof of Funds

Before you even book any showings, have your mortgage pre-approval letter and proof of down payment funds ready from the start. This sets you up to make the best Offer possible at a moment’s notice while you’re out house hunting. With both of those documents ready to go, you’re showing Sellers you’re not messing around or window shopping — you’re serious and you’ve got the cash to back it up. It saves everyone time and hassle, making negotiations smoother and faster.

Plus, it puts you ahead of the game compared to other Buyers who might not have their finances sorted out yet. When you’re all set financially, you can make stronger Offers that are viable and attractive, which can be a game-changer in markets where there’s a lot of competition. Being prepared upfront just gives you a better shot at landing that prime property you’ve got your eye on.

2. Uncover the Seller’s Needs & Timeline

Knowing what the Seller wants is just as important as the Offer itself. Figure out what the Seller needs and when they want it to boost your Offer terms. Maybe they’re in a hurry to close, or they need some extra time to pack up and move. Adapting your Offer to fit their timeline shows you’re considerate and flexible.

Some Sellers prefer a quick closing, while others may need a bit more time to move out. Tailor your Offer to accommodate these needs. For some Sellers, a flexible closing date can be just as appealing as a higher Offer – showing you’re willing to make things easy for them.

3. Offer a Competitive Purchase Price

Throwing in a competitive price is crucial for crafting a killer Offer. In a competitive market, putting in a higher Offer to stand out might make more sense. You can easily avoid sticker shock during Offer time by shopping 10%-15% below your loan pre-approval limit so there’s some wiggle room left over for negotiating a higher price. Your REALTOR® is your secret weapon here — we’ll help you figure out the sweet spot between making the Seller happy and not blowing your budget.

Often, paying over asking price can seal the deal and snag you that wow house in a hot market. It’s important to stay within budget, even when your Offer competes with those of other Buyers. Your REALTOR® will provide insights into the property value and competitiveness based on recent sales nearby, then suggest an Offer price range that is both fair to you and attractive to the Seller.

4. Comfortably Minimize or Waive Contingencies

Contingencies are like safety nets for you as a Buyer, but too many extra terms can scare off Sellers in a hot market. These are conditions that must be met for the sale to go through, such as home inspections & mortgage approvals. While they’re usually designed to protect Buyers, too many extra contingencies can weigh down your Offer on a competitive property. Team up with your REALTOR® and Lender to minimize unnecessary contingencies, but be careful not to waive essential ones that could protect you.

We never advise anyone to waive home inspection. Work closely with your REALTOR® and Lender to trim out any unnecessary contingencies, but make sure you’re not tossing out the ones that could save your ass down the road. Being savvy about contingencies can make your Offer look even more enticing to Sellers itching to close the deal.

5. Increase Your Earnest Money Deposit

Boosting your earnest money deposit beyond the usual 1%-3% is yet another trick to ante up your Offer. It’s like telling the Sellers you’re all in — which they love to see. Plus, it adds weight to your Offer without needing to jack up the overall purchase price. It’s a win-win: you’re showing your commitment while keeping your wallet happy.

Your earnest money deposit is a sign of good faith and indicates your serious intent to buy the house. By increasing the amount beyond that typical 1%-3% in our market, you can show the Sellers you’re committed. This small gesture can make your Offer more enticing without increasing the purchase price or your monthly mortgage payment.

6. Don’t Place Offers on Multiple Homes

Focus on one house at a time instead of spreading your Offers thin across multiple listings. When you’re laser-focused on a single house, you can invest your energy toward understanding its nuances and tailor your Offer accordingly. You can do a deeper dive into the property records and figure out the unknowns. This approach shows the Seller that you’re genuinely interested and committed to their home.

Trying to juggle Offers on a bunch of houses at once can make you seem less committed, and that’s not the vibe you want to give off when you’re trying to score a hot property. Placing Offers on multiple houses simultaneously can dilute your efforts and signal to sellers that you’re not fully invested, which weakens your bargaining position. And if the Sellers sense hesitation early in the game, they may decide not to pursue your Offer at all given those risks.

By prioritizing one property, you increase your chances of crafting a compelling Offer that stands out in a competitive market. Just focus on making one Offer, give it your all, and your chances of snagging it will increase.

7. Work with a Great REALTOR®

Teaming up with an awesome REALTOR® is the key to nailing your Offer on a hot home. We’ve got the inside scoop on your local housing market, fire negotiation skills, and we know exactly how to craft an Offer that stands out. Hire one with a solid reputation who gets what you’re looking for and knows the local scene like the back of their hand.

An experienced REALTOR® with savvy expertise can help you blueprint your Offer within the home-buying process. We provide market insights, negotiation expertise, and guidance in crafting a strong Offer to entice Sellers. Choose a skilled REALTOR® with a great track record who understands your needs and the local real estate market.

8. Prepare to Act Fast, Like Now

In a hot market, time is of the essence. Be ready to view homes and make decisions quickly. Your ability to submit a prompt and well-written Offer is often a big advantage. The longer you wait, the more space you leave for another Buyer to swoop in a nab that house instead. You minimize the risk of losing out to other Buyers when you’re ready to jump on opportunities as soon as they come up.

Being prepared to act fast is crucial for crafting the strongest Offer possible, especially in a hot market. By submitting a well-considered Offer promptly, you demonstrate your seriousness to the Seller and increase your chances of securing the home you want before someone else beats you to it.

The Bottom Line

Making a strong Offer on a home requires a blend of strategy, flexibility, and sometimes, a personal touch. By following these tips and working closely with your real estate agent, you can increase your chances of success in San Diego’s competitive housing market. Remember, every seller is different, so understanding their unique needs and preferences can truly set your Offer apart.

Navigating this scene can be pretty cutthroat. It takes a mix of strategy, diligence, and sometimes a touch of creativity. Uncovering the Seller’s needs and local market dynamics will give you the edge you’ll need to secure your dream home.


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About The Author
Portia Green, REALTOR®

Portia’s clients all have a similar story. Most likely, you met her huddled around a tablet at the dinner table yet she feels like a friend. Her personable nature and easy going approach attract Sellers and Buyers alike, in what can be a stressful and emotionally charged event. A talented REALTOR® with 16 years experience, Portia is just as excited about real estate today as she was with her first transaction. She remains ever-committed to helping her clients find their place in the world and helping busy people navigate this crazy real estate market like a pro.