Let’s just jump right in:
- Obviously, the first step is to go see it as soon as it hits the market. Many houses are selling immediately these days. You wait until it is convenient to see and you will likely lose it.
- If it is a new listing, there is a higher change of there being multiple offers. Don’t make a lower offer and see what the seller counters back with. In between your offer and the seller’s response, odds are another offer will come in. Seal the deal ASAP because nothing is settled until all parties sign a contract.
- If you find yourself in multiple offers, go in with your best terms. Keep in mind that there is more to this than just price. The closing date and when the seller has to be out are often just as important. Remember, everybody moving out is going to be moving in somewhere too. They have to coordinate their move just like you do. I’ve seen sellers accept or counter a lower offer because the closing date and/or move out date were more favorable.
- Sellers get nervous about the home inspection. I would only suggest doing this if the price is right or it is your dream house, but you could buy it totally “As-Is” or agree to limit what the seller might spend on repairs. You could maybe just inspect the major systems too. I’ve been on hundreds of inspections. Most of the time the repair list amounts to no more than $1000 and is full of minor items that you would not walk away over……so in a super tight market for the house you really love, why risk losing it? This is funny for me to write, because when the market was so terrible, I was suggesting sellers do anything they could to hang on to the few buyers in the market!
- You could raise the earnest money amount. Personally, I don’t care how much the earnest money is. The buyer gets it back for just about any reason short of giving you the middle finger and saying they just changed their mind. Some agents and sellers get excited about the amount of earnest money though.
- Most people have a personal attachment to their home. They want it to go to somebody they feel good about. So yeah, we are back to the days of writing a personal letter to the seller and maybe including a picture of you/your family. Everybody else will just be a name at the bottom of the offer. You will be a person.
Of course, every situation is a little different. Having an agent who can help determine the best course and to what extent you need to do all this will help the most.