Unless you are a mind reader it is hard to find out which seller is motivated to divest of his real estate. They normally do not run around with a sign ÒAccepting Lowball OffersÓ.
Real estate agents are sometimes instructed to convey to the market that the seller is motivated. There is only one way to find out just how motivated somebody is. MAKE AN OFFER
Making offers in the changing real estate market is like throwing pudding at the wall. You just need to find out what sticks. Writing offers does not cost you any money and actually put your real estate agent to good use. You will soon find out if he is really willing to work for his money.
Do not get set on any one property. Falling in love with a house is the surest way to overpaying. Find 10 properties that fit the bill. If you are a cash buyer deposit your money with the title company. Write personal letter accompanying the offers to all seller. Explain to them that you have deposited a sum equal to the offer price with the title company and that you are willing to close in 7 days if you offer is accepted. Make it clear that you have extended these terms to more than one property owner and that you will only accept one offer, the first accepted offer.
With the help of a good real estate agent you will be able to find out how low to bid. Use the 7 days due diligence to have the property inspected. Make sure you have an inspection objection clause in your contract. If the property checks out OK you have minimized your purchase price.
If you are not a cash buyer have your mortgage approved subject to an appraisal. Talk to an appraiser and see that he is standing by to appraise in short order after an offer is accepted. This way you should still be able to close in 7-10 days.
Short sales, where the owner owes more than the property is worth you will run into motivated sellers that need to deal with their banks to see if a transaction is doable. So the above strategy works best in flat to moderately weak markets with sellers who fear for a more severe downturn.
Aspen and Snowmass are currently still very strong in sales but the national real estate crisis is severe enough to make owners question how long the uptrend can continue. A perfect scenario to try out the multi-offer strategy to find that one really motivated seller.