Frequently, buyers set out with rose-colored glasses. Caught up in the excitement of starting a new life, they embark upon a search for the perfect house in a friendly neighborhood with great schools and a bustling downtown. Disillusionment follows, however, when they realize that–surprise surprise– other people want those things as well. When that happens, things can really heat up. Welcome to the competitive real estate market.
So, what is a buyer to do in such an environment?
First, let’s clear up a few “don’ts”:
Don’t complain. Everyone is in the same boat and everyone has the same shot. Drawing negative attention to yourself by making unreasonable demands or arguing excessively with the buyer (through your agent, of course) will only hurt your offer.
Control your emotions. However tense the process may become, none of it is directed personally at you. See it for what it is, a business transaction, pure and simple. Returning to this basic understanding will help you overcome any feelings of being slighted or mistreated.
Ditch your ego. To put it bluntly, no one cares who you think you are. At the end of the day, all they want to know about you is what you’re offering and whether or not you can back it up. Rid yourself of any and all attitudes of entitlement. No one is owed anything in a competitive real estate market. At the end of the day, the best offer will get the house. If you have an offer that can stand up and go the distance, great! If not, no amount of huffing and puffing is going to accomplish anything more than wasting yours and everyone else’s time.
As for the “do’s”:
Be practical. Figure out beforehand precisely how much you can afford and are willing to pay for the house. This will greatly help you control your emotions. Only you can determine if the house meets your needs. That determination should be based on certain criteria which you have decided upon. Whether it be the house itself, the local school system, proximity to your place of work or whatever other possible factors, you must have a firm grasp of your wants and needs. Conventional wisdom states that if a house meets 80% of them, you should make an offer.
Make an offer. This may sound obvious, but many buyers lose out simply by failing to make this one crucial move. Indecision derails more real estate deals than anything else.
Make a STRONG offer. Don’t fool around. In a competitive market, buyers must put their absolute best offer forward and make it as difficult as possible for the seller to reject it. A great offer must have a competitive purchase price, solid financing by seeking the smallest mortgage possible or even all cash, a mutually agreeable closing date and NO home sale contingency.
Consider the seller. In addition to presenting favorable terms, you can make your offer stand out simply by showing the seller some basic courtesy, rather than taking a purely adversarial approach. For example, do NOT contradict what is included and excluded from the sale. If the sellers have indicated in the listing information that they are including the pool table, don’t ask them to remove it. Doing so may place a burden on the seller that may result in your offer either getting rejected or pushed to the side.