Make an offer

Standing out in a sea of other potential home buyers is not always so easy

Buying a home can be very competitive. A well-maintained property with all of the bells and whistles that today’s buyers demand figures to attract many offers, and buyers who have found their dream homes must be prepared to make an offer that sellers can’t refuse.

Standing out in a sea of other potential home buyers is not always so easy, but there are steps buyers can take to ensure their offer is the one sellers ultimately accept.

- Get preapproved for a mortgage. Sellers’ patience may wear thin with buyers who are not preapproved for a mortgage when making their offers. Preapproval can speed up the selling process, as buyers won’t need to secure financing afterward. When sellers receive multiple offers on their homes, they are more likely to sell their homes to buyers whose financing is already lined up as opposed to buyers who have to scramble to secure loans.

- Establish a strong rapport with the sellers. It’s not uncommon for homeowners to develop emotional attachments to their homes, and buyers should keep that in mind when viewing a home and negotiating their purchase. Sellers won’t want to hear about how ugly a home is or how much money buyers will have to spend to bring the home up to their standards. While buyers must weigh such variables when making their offers, keep it as cordial as possible and avoid any inflammatory remarks during the negotiation process. Sellers may be more likely to accept a lower offer from a buyer they like than a higher offer from someone they don’t like.

- Don’t delay an inspection. When a property is drawing significant interest, buyers can set their offers apart from the rest by arranging for a near-immediate inspection. Some buyers may want sellers to give them a couple of weeks to arrange for an inspection, and that may irritate sellers who want to sell their homes as quickly as possible. Have an inspector ready to perform an inspection within days of making your offer.

- Include an escalation clause. When making an offer on a home, prospective buyers can include an escalation clause. Such a clause acknowledges that a potential buyer is willing to increase his or her initial offer by a predetermined amount to exceed any bids that are higher than that initial offer. When sellers trigger such clauses, they are often required to show the other offers they received that triggered the escalation clause. Escalation clauses show the sellers you really want the house while keeping potential buyers’ hopes of buying the home alive when the bids are competitive.

Prospective home buyers may find themselves in some stiff competition upon finding their dream homes. But a few simple strategies can make their offers stand out and increase their chances of buying their ideal homes.