The D.C., Maryland and Virginia housing markets have been among the strongest seller’s markets in the country for some time now, meaning that there tend to be more buyers than new listings for sale.
With the coronavirus scaring some sellers out of the typically strong spring housing market, that trend has only intensified. Even now, many homes are getting multiple offers and the market is competitive. How do you stand out in a crowd of qualified and motivated buyers?
Does the highest price always win? No, the best contract wins every time. Sure, price is a big part of what the seller considers, but it’s not the only thing. Sellers want a contract that is likely to move forward — even if it’s at a lower price than a higher offer that has more strings attached. Here are some of the ways to make your offer attract attention and get noticed:
Ask What Timing Works Best for the Seller
Sellers often want a quick closing, but not always. Maybe they are leaving town for a job in two months. Maybe they themselves have a contract on a property and they need more time. Perhaps they want a quick closing and, if you can get your finances together quickly, they’d be willing to take a little less on price. Knowing what their situation is can give you an advantage.
Remove or Shorten Your Contingencies
Buyers will often ask for contingencies such as home inspection, property appraisal and one to secure their financing. Why not shorten those up as much as possible? Local lenders can often turn around the appraisal and financing within 2 weeks. If you can reduce the amount of time, the seller will know the contract is firm sooner. That is worth something to them, but doesn’t cost you anything extra.
Do a Pre-inspection Before you Offer
Many sellers will allow home inspections even before you submit an offer. You can fully inspect the home in advance. Then you can submit an offer that isn’t contingent on inspection. The sellers will know there’ll be no surprises or requests for price reductions or credits later due to the inspection. The risk to you is the cost of the inspection which is $250-$500 on average.
Give a Free Rent-back Period
Some buyers are giving the sellers a quick closing and a few weeks of “free rent” afterwards. This works for a seller who needs the money ASAP (perhaps for another home purchase) but wants some time to comfortably move out of their place. Sure, your move-in is delayed a few weeks, but if you get the house it might work for you.
Sweeten the Deal Somehow
There are many ways to improve your offer other than increasing the price. Work with your realtor to gain the best insight on strategies that work and that you’re comfortable with.