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Our nation is in the midst of a serious housing crunch. Last year, a lack of inventory and soaring prices left many would-be homebuyers feeling pinched. But now, with interest rates climbing, many of them are also feeling desperate to lock in a mortgage—which has only added fuel to the fire.1

Fortunately, if you’re a buyer struggling to find a home, we have some good news. While it’s true that higher mortgage rates can decrease your purchasing budget, there are additional ways to compete in a hot market.

Yes, a high offer price gets attention. But most sellers consider a variety of factors when evaluating an offer. With that in mind, here are five tactics you can utilize to sweeten your proposal and outshine your competition.

We can help you weigh the risks and benefits of each tactic and craft a compelling offer designed to get you your dream home—without giving away the farm.


1. Demonstrate Solid Financing

The reality is, no one gets paid if a home sale falls through. That’s why sellers (and their listing agents) favor offers with a high probability of closing.

Sellers particularly love all-cash offers because there’s no chance of financing issues cropping up at the last moment. But don’t despair if you can’t pay cash for your home. According to the National Association of Realtors, only about 1 in 4 home purchases are all-cash deals, which means the vast majority are financed with a mortgage.2

If sellers are assured that financing will come through, buying with a mortgage doesn’t have to be a big disadvantage. The most important step you can take as a buyer is to get preapproved before you start looking for homes. A preapproval letter shows sellers that you are serious about buying and that you will be able to make good on your offer.

It’s also important to consider the reputation of your lender. While sellers may not know or care about a lender’s reputation, their agents often do. Some lenders are much easier to work with than others, especially if you are pursuing certain types of mortgages like FHA or VA loans.3 If so, you’ll want a lender who specializes in these types of mortgages. If you’re unsure who to choose, we are happy to refer you to reputable lenders known for their ease of doing business.


2. Put Down a Sizeable Deposit

Buyers can show sellers that they’re serious about their offer and have “skin in the game” by putting down a large earnest money deposit.

Earnest money is a deposit held in escrow by a title company or the seller’s broker or lawyer.  If the purchase goes through, it is applied to the down payment and closing costs—if the sale falls through, the buyer may lose some or all of that deposit.

While an earnest money deposit is typically around 1-2% of the sale price, offering a higher deposit can help demonstrate to the buyer that you are serious about the property.4 However, this strategy can also be risky. We can help you determine an appropriate deposit to offer based on your specific circumstances.


3. Ask for Few (or No) Contingencies

Most real estate offers include contingencies, which are clauses that allow one or both parties to back out of the agreement if certain conditions are not met. These contingencies appear in the purchase agreement and must be accepted by both the buyer and seller to be legally binding.5

Common contingencies include:
- Financing: A financing contingency gives the buyer a window of time in which to secure a mortgage. If they are unable to do so, they can withdraw from the purchase and the seller can move on to other buyers.
- Inspection: An inspection contingency gives the buyer the opportunity to have the home professionally inspected for issues with the structure, wiring, plumbing, etc. Typically, the seller may choose whether or not to remediate those issues; if they do not, the buyer may withdraw from the contract.
- Appraisal: Most lenders will not offer a mortgage on a home that costs more than it's worth. An appraisal contingency gives the buyer an opportunity to get the home professionally assessed to ensure that its value is at or above the sales price. If an appraisal comes in low, the seller may be asked to renegotiate the contract.
- Sale of a prior home: Some buyers cannot afford to purchase a new home until they sell their previous one. If the buyer is unable to sell their current home within a specified window of time, this contingency enables them to withdraw from the contract without penalty.

Since contingencies reduce the likelihood that a sale will go through, they generally make an offer less desirable to the seller. The more contingencies that are included, the weaker the offer becomes. Therefore, buyers in a competitive market often volunteer to waive certain contingencies.

However, it’s very important to make this decision carefully and recognize the risks of doing so. For example, a buyer who chooses to waive a home inspection contingency may find out too late that the home requires extensive renovations, and a buyer who waives the appraisal may risk their mortgage falling through. If you back out of a home purchase without the protection of a contingency, you could lose your earnest money deposit.6 We can help you assess the risks and benefits involved.


4. Offer a Flexible Closing Date and/or Leaseback Option

When it comes to selling a house, money isn’t everything. People sell their homes for a wide variety of reasons, and flexible terms that work with their personal situations can sometimes make all the difference. For example, if a seller is in the process of planning a significant move, they may prefer a longer closing timeline that gives them time to find housing in their new location.

Similarly, short-term leaseback options, in which the sale is completed but the seller retains the right to rent the home for a specified period of time, can be compelling.7 These arrangements enable the seller to use the money from the sale of their home to purchase their next house. A leaseback agreement also makes it possible for them to avoid moving twice when their next home is not yet ready to occupy.

Flexible closing dates and leaseback options can provide a powerful advantage for first-time homebuyers. If you have a month-to-month or easily transferable lease, for example, you may be able to offer a more flexible timeline than a buyer who is simultaneously selling their existing home.

Of course, the value of these terms depends on the seller’s situation. We can reach out to the listing agent to find out the seller’s preferred terms, and then collaborate with you to write a compelling offer that works for both parties.


5. Work With a Skilled Buyer’s Agent

In this ultra-competitive real estate market, one of the greatest advantages you can give yourself is to work with a skilled and trustworthy real estate professional. We will make sure you fully understand the process and help you submit an appealing offer without taking on too much risk.

Plus, we know how to write offers that are designed to win over both the seller and their listing agent. The truth is, listing agents play a huge role in helping sellers evaluate offers, and they want to work with skilled buyer’s agents who are professional, communicative, and courteous.

Once your offer is accepted, we’ll also handle any further negotiations and coordinate all the paperwork and other details involved in your home purchase. The best part is, you’ll have a knowledgeable, licensed advocate on your side who is watching out for your best interests every step of the way.

Helping You Get to the Right Offer

In many cases, a competitive offer doesn’t need to be all-cash, contingency-free, or significantly above asking price. But if you’re serious about buying a home in today’s market, it’s important to consider what you can do to sweeten the deal.

If you’re a buyer, we can help you compete in today’s market without getting steamrolled. And if you’re a seller, we can help you evaluate offers by taking all the relevant factors into account. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.



Sources:
1. National Association of Realtors -
https://www.nar.realtor/newsroom/pending-home-sales-dwindle-4-1-in-february
2. National Association of Realtors -
https://www.nar.realtor/newsroom/existing-home-sales-fade-7-2-in-february
3.     Forbes -
https://www.forbes.com/advisor/mortgages/housing-crisis-tips/
4. Realtor.com -
https://www.realtor.com/advice/finance/earnest-money-deposit-mistakes-buyers-make/
5.     Bankrate -
https://www.bankrate.com/real-estate/contingency-clause/
6. Home Buying Institute -
http://www.homebuyinginstitute.com/mortgage/risks-of-waiving-a-contingency/
7. Realtor.com -
https://www.realtor.com/advice/sell/what-is-a-rent-back-agreement

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Roman is a highly experienced, professional, transparent, and reliable individual. He helped my wife and I through a very difficult transaction and never gave up on meeting our deadlines. He is an excellent negotiator with a very personalized touch. Highly recommended!

 

~ Slava

Roman, Liana, and the team successfully guided us to our first home purchase. It was a great experience - they are attentive, thoughtful, hard working and always had our interests in mind, while navigating our concerns as first time home buyers. We highly recommend Parkway and we look forward to many years of working with the firm.

 

~ Michael

Roman made buying our first home less stressful by walking us through the process, preparing us for all possibilities, and being by our side. Not only did he negotiate an amazing price (under ask), but he also got us a sizable amount of credits for issues he found in the house. He's a great guy and will have your best interest at heart. 2 thumbs, 5 stars!

 

~ Lawrence

Roman, Liana, and the team successfully guided us to our first home purchase. It was a great experience - they are attentive, thoughtful, hard working and always had our interests in mind. We highly recommend Parkway and we look forward to many years of working with the firm.

 

~ Allison

Roman Shersher at Parkway Estate Properties recently represented us in purchasing a home in LA and did a superb job. With his professional and quality help, we were able to close escrow swiftly and smoothly. He was on top of all the necessary items and procedures every step the way. He even went above and beyond to ensure the move into our new home was done properly. We highly recommend Parkway Estate Properties for anyone who’s looking to buy or sell a home knowing that you would receive the best services from them as we did.

 

~ Angela

Roman was instrumental in us finding and moving into our new home. He did everything in his power to ensure a smooth transition for us, even going above and beyond to arrange a moving service for me. Roman & Liana also helped arrange a plumber/handyman to help fix some minor things before we moved in. He made sure we felt comfortable with every aspect of the house before moving forward, constantly giving us updates as we navigated many things remotely post-COVID. Would highly recommend Roman Shersher and Parkway Estate Properties for your next property purchase! Thank you, Roman & Liana!

 

~ Elise

My husband and I just bought our first home thanks to Roman, Liana, and their team at Parkway Estate Properties. They made the whole process very smooth and truly took care of us. We couldn't be more grateful for how professional they were, trustworthy, personable and went above and beyond. They are a great team who we highly recommend to anyone buying or selling their home!

 

~ Anna

Working with Roman and the Parkway Estate team has been a delightful experience! Roman’s responsiveness, organization, and professionalism throughout the selling process showed me I made the right decision hiring him as my Realtor. I had a unique situation and needed to sell as quickly as possible. He worked with me and my timelines and got multiple offers within a week of listing my property using his incredible marketing tactics to get an offer accepted well-above our asking price! I would recommend Roman and the entire Parkway Estate team to anyone looking to sell their home.

 

~ D

Roman is one of the best brokers I have had the pleasure working with on both commercial and residential transactions. He is respectful, focused, intelligent, tactile, honest, and, most importantly, trustworthy. As his client, you will always feel like you are the priority. I would recommend him to both novice and sophisticated buyers/sellers alike. After working with Roman, working with others will be a difficult and uncomfortable experience.

 

~ Jonathan

Roman was great. We looked for a property for many months and couldn’t find what we wanted or get it accepted once we did. Roman not only beat out another offer but got us $40k off the list price and all the necessary repairs covered fully by the seller!

 

~ Fred

After dealing with a ton of brokers/agents trying to find my dream home for over a year, Roman stepped up to the plate and found me a perfect home within 30 days. He is persistent and follows up daily, while maintaining a professional demeanor. He is also a hell of a negotiator and gets the job done at the price you want. Highly recommend and will definitely use in any future real estate deals.

 

~ Jeff

Roman was our agent who sold our old house and helped us buy a new one. Our experience was unbelievably great, he is a very loyal professional, honest and very fair. He fights for you, and doesn't pressure you into making any moves that you are not comfortable with. Technology made life so easy for us to be able to just sign over the phone without any problems. He will definitely be our agent if we would want to make any kind of move in the future. He is trustworthy and take his business seriously I really appreciated his hard work

 

~ Tammy

Roman was sought for his house flipping expertise. Our house required work thus someone familiar with rehab projects was a big plus. From start he explained the pros and cons of various approaches to consider making the decision process easily comprehensible. Where he really shined was in escrow. He brought in multiple buyers and finessed a sweetheart close. Roman is a true professional with integrity.

 

~ Alex

It has been a wonderful experience working with Roman. I found him business-like, cordial, flexible, knowledgeable, and FUN! He was very reliable and I’m pleased indeed with him. A sincere person he is.

 

~ Gerry

I would recommend my friends and strangers that are going through difficult times with their housing problems to talk to Roman, he can help you work it out!

 

~ Oscar

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