Sheryl Simon's Blog
Making an offer on a home you’re hoping to buy is a stressful endeavor. You want your offer to stand apart from others, and if you don’t feel comfortable increasing the offer, a personalized letter is a good way to explain your situation and possibly sway the seller in your favor.
Sounds good, right? But when most of us sit down to write an effective offer letter we often come up stumped. What makes your situation different than any other hopeful buyer? How do you find the right tone in your letter? How do you sign off at the end?
There are a number of things to consider when writing an offer letter. So, in this article, we’re going to help you craft an offer letter that will give you the best chance of getting accepted by a home seller.
Begin with them
Before you start talking about yourself and why you love the house, start by addressing the seller by name. Thank them for letting you view their home, and compliment them on the work they’ve done to take care of it.
Why you love their home
A good place to start in your offer letter is to describe exactly what sets their home apart from the others you looked at. Are there defining characteristics of the home that make it perfectly suited to your family? Does it have a large yard that your dog will love to run in or the workshop you’ve always wanted to practice your woodworking?
Make your letter personal. This is your chance to show that you aren’t just concerned with the price of the home.
Share information wisely
Some buyers get excited about all of the changes they would make if their offer was accepted on a home. And while it’s okay to plan and be excited for the future, you might not want to share that information with the seller.
Remember that they have many memories and hours of work put into their home, and they might not appreciate you talking about how you’re going to start tearing down walls.
Once you get into the flow of writing your letter, it’s easy to get carried away. However, sellers will be more receptive to reading and understanding your letter if it is short and to the point. Try not to go over a page, single-spaced.
Once you’ve written your letter, review it to see if there’s anything that can be simplified or removed altogether.
Before sending your letter, have a family member, friend, or real estate agent look it over. Not only will they be able to catch small grammatical errors, but they’ll also let you know if something you’ve written is confusing or would be considered over-sharing.
You might be tempted to hit the send button as soon as you’re done with your letter. However, receiving an email can be impersonal--we all get hundreds of emails that we never even open. Rather, print your letter on nice paper, sign it by hand, and consider attaching a family photo if you have one that’s suitable.
If you find lots of great homes are available and cannot decide which residence to buy, there is no need to stress. Rather than submit multiple offers to purchase various houses, you should hone your home search. By doing so, you can discover the right residence, at the right price.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you narrow your home search.
1. Define Your Dream Home
Think about the features you want in your dream home. Then, you can make a list of "must-have" home features and search for residences that offer these features.
Furthermore, consider where you want to reside. If you prefer big city living, for example, you may want to focus exclusively on city houses. On the other hand, if you want to reside in a small town, you can search for residences in myriad small towns.
2. Conduct a Preliminary Housing Market Review
Let's face it – searching for a home can be overwhelming, regardless of whether you are a first-time or experienced homebuyer. But if you perform a preliminary housing market review, you can get a good idea about the volume and quality of available residences. Next, you can use this real estate market information to map out your homebuying journey.
Of course, it may be beneficial to attend open house events as well. These events enable you to get an up-close look at assorted residences. They also can help you understand the features you want in your dream house so you can further refine your home search.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
When it comes to navigating the housing market, it helps to have a real estate expert at your side. Thankfully, real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide, and these housing market experts are happy to help you acquire a superb residence at an affordable price.
A real estate agent understands what it takes to help you find a quality home that won't force you to break your budget. First, he or she will learn about your homebuying goals and teach you about the real estate market. A real estate agent next will help you analyze the real estate market and explore a broad range of houses. And once you find a house you want to buy, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive offer to purchase this residence.
Let's not forget about the guidance a real estate agent provides throughout the homebuying journey, either. Purchasing a house is no small feat, and a real estate agent will take the guesswork out of the homebuying cycle. Best of all, a real estate agent can respond to your homebuying concerns and questions at any time.
If you want to discover a home that matches your expectations, it helps to plan ahead for the property buying journey. By taking advantage of the aforementioned tips, you can streamline your house search and find your ideal home faster than ever before.
Selling a home takes patience. Especially when you’re balancing your time between settling into your new home, and keeping up with your work and family life. So, when you’ve finally gotten to the point of accepting an offer on your home, you’ll probably breathe a sigh of relief--and you should! However, there are still a few more things that will need to happen and a couple of things to consider before closing the deal on your home sale.
Contingencies on the purchase contract
A purchase contract typically includes contingency clauses that are designed to protect the interests of both the buyer and the seller. These clauses mean that the contract is contingent upon the actions being completed before it can be legally valid.
There are three main contingencies that will likely be included in the purchase contract before closing--inspection, financing, and appraisal.
The inspection contingency allows the buyer to have the home inspected by a professional before closing (the time should be specified within the contract, but the inspection should usually occur no more than two weeks after you accept the offer). A home inspection lets the buyer know what to expect in terms of repairs that the home needs now or will need in the near future.
Since the vast majority of buyers will be purchasing their home through a loan, a financing contingency is included to allow the buyer time to secure their mortgage. Getting pre-qualified and pre-approved makes this process easier, but the buyer will still have to finalize and close on their mortgage before their financing is official.
This clause exists to protect the buyer in the event that their mortgage application is denied, ensuring that they aren’t penalized.
The third contingency most often found in purchase contracts is a home appraisal. The buyer will order an appraisal and then the appraiser will reach out to you to find a day to come and value your home.
If the home is then appraised at the amount agreed upon in your contract, this contingency is met. However, if the appraisal comes up lower than the purchase amount, the buyer can renegotiate the price.
Walkthrough and closing
Once the appraisal and inspection have been met and financing secured, the buyer will have a chance to do a final walkthrough of your home. The walkthrough usually occurs no more than two days prior to closing on the sale. A walkthrough allows the buyer view the home one last time to ensure that the condition of the home hasn’t drastically changed since the home was inspected or appraised. So, make sure the buyer is aware of any changes you planned to make to the home before closing.
Now you’re ready to close on your home sale. You’ll receive a disclosure form to review (read it carefully!) and sign. Once closing is complete, ownership of the home is officially transferred to the buyer.
While the closing process does include several steps, it’s important to be available and cooperative along the way to ensure a smooth sale and transition into your new home.
If you get an offer to buy your house, there is no need to make a snap decision. Instead, it generally is a good idea to allocate the necessary time and resources to analyze an offer and determine the best course of action.
Ultimately, there are lots of reasons why you should analyze a home offer, and these include:
1. You can boost the likelihood of getting the best price for your house.
An offer may fall at, above or below your house's initial asking price. However, regardless of the offer that you receive, it pays to perform a full evaluation to ensure you can maximize the value of your residence.
For many home sellers, it is beneficial to conduct a home appraisal prior to listing a residence. That way, when a home offer arrives, a seller can compare the proposal to a property valuation and proceed accordingly.
2. You can weigh the pros and cons of all of your options.
Let's face it – deciding whether to accept, reject or counter a homebuying proposal can be tough. Luckily, analyzing an offer enables you to weight the pros and cons of each option, making it easier than ever before to make an informed choice.
Oftentimes, creating a list of pros and cons can be helpful. This list will enable you to assess the advantages and disadvantages of each potential home selling decision. Then, you can use your list to guide the decision-making process.
3. You can receive expert housing market insights before you finalize your decision.
Imagine what it would be like to take a data-driven approach to decide whether to approve a homebuying proposal. Now, you can, thanks to the wealth of housing market data that is readily available to sellers.
As a home seller, you should have no trouble examining the prices of comparable houses that recently sold in your city or town. You then can use this housing market data to determine whether a proposal is "fair" based on the current real estate market's conditions.
Of course, as you assess a home offer, it often helps to collaborate with a real estate agent. This housing market professional knows exactly what it takes to sell a house – regardless of the real estate market's conditions. As such, he or she will enable you to conduct an in-depth review of any homebuying proposal, at any time.
A real estate agent also is happy to help you after you determine whether to accept, reject or counter a proposal. If you accept an offer, a real estate agent will help you move forward with the home selling journey. Or, if you reject an offer, a real estate agent will show you how to promote your house to potential buyers to boost your chances of receiving better proposals in the future. And if you counter an offer, a real estate agent can negotiate with a buyer's agent on your behalf.
Evaluate a home offer closely – you'll be glad you did. If you perform a deep analysis of a homebuying proposal, you can assess a home offer from multiple angles and make the best-possible decision based on your individual needs.
A "lowball" homebuying proposal is unlikely to do you any favors, particularly if you want to acquire your dream residence as quickly as possible. In fact, after you submit a lowball offer, it may be only a matter of time before you receive a "No" from a home seller.
When it comes to buying a house, it helps to prepare a competitive offer. That way, you can increase the likelihood of getting a seller to accept your home offer and speed up the homebuying journey.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you avoid the risk of submitting a lowball offer on your dream residence.
1. Analyze the Housing Market
Are you searching for a house in a buyer's or seller's market? Are homes selling quickly in the current real estate market? And are houses selling at, above or below their initial asking prices? These are just some of the questions that homebuyers need to consider as they assess the real estate sector.
With a diligent approach to buying a house, a homebuyer can become a real estate market expert. This buyer can assess a wide assortment of housing market data, and by doing so, gain the insights that he or she needs to submit a competitive offer on any residence.
2. Understand a Home's Condition
A home purchase is one of the biggest transactions that an individual will complete over the course of his or her lifetime. As such, the decision to submit an offer on a house should not be taken lightly.
To make the best-possible choice, it helps to look at all of the available information about a residence. You should review a home listing closely and attend a home showing. In many instances, it may be beneficial to check out a house a few times to get an up-close look at it before you submit an offer.
The condition of a home will play a major role in how much you are willing to offer to acquire a residence. Therefore, you should learn as much as possible about a house's condition. And if you feel comfortable with a home, you should be ready to submit an offer that will match a seller's expectations.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
Hiring a real estate agent generally is a good idea, particularly for a homebuyer who wants to reduce the risk of submitting a lowball offer on a house. A real estate agent can help a homebuyer prepare a competitive offer, as well as ensure that a buyer can enjoy a seamless home transaction.
Furthermore, a real estate agent will allocate the necessary time and resources to help you analyze a house. He or she will even offer homebuying recommendations and teach you everything you need to know about the homebuying cycle.
Avoid the temptation to submit a lowball offer on a house – use the aforementioned tips, and you can submit a competitive proposal to acquire your dream residence.