As a South Florida Listing Broker, I often hear from Buyers who are sad and disappointed that they can’t get into a property or can’t close, and most of the time, issues giving Buyers difficulty are avoidable. Below is Part One of my Two Part Series on tips for Buyers to getting under contract and to the closing table.
Buyer Tip # 1: Vet Who You Hire.
1) Hire a good real REALTOR. Do your research before you decide on an Agent to help you find a home. Any licensee can show you a home, but that’s just the beginning. Make sure the Agent can accommodate your schedule, reads through all the attachments that the listing agent provides, can answer any questions you may have (especially when it comes to short sales and bank owned properties), and gives you realistic expectations for your situation. You can check up on the Agents by seeing how experienced they are, reading online reviews about them, and speaking to previous clients.
Buyer Tip #2: “Best” is Called Best For a Reason.
2) Make your best and highest every time you make an offer because there is lots of competition. No longer are Buyers “saving” Sellers in short sales… Sellers now have multiple offers on their property and are able to go with the best and highest without having to make counteroffers. Contingencies and contribution requests will take you out of the running, so avoid them if possible. If you don’t have the money for your down payment and closing costs, consider waiting until you do to find a home. Banks aren’t so inclined to take money away from their net in short sales and foreclosures, and Sellers with equity will go with the offer that nets the most and has the least contingencies.
Buyer Tip #3: Reading is FUN-damental.
3) Make sure to read EVERYTHING, and ask to see if there are any special disclosures or addenda before you put in an offer. I would actually encourage you to do all this before you even see the home so that you are not hit with any surprises after you fall in love with the home. Once you put in an offer, make sure your offer documents are complete, correct, signed, initialed to avoid any delays or issues with the transaction.
Buyer Tip #4: Take Your REALTOR Seriously. Seriously.
4) While you make your own decisions and take your own risks, take your agent’s advice seriously. You hired the agent for expertise and experience. If your agent warns of red flags, please don’t be surprised or upset later on when it goes badly. Keep in mind that we are not trying to kill the deal (since that’s how we get paid), we are just looking out for your best interest. An agent’s #1 goal should be your satisfaction, not just putting you under contract in the hopes that a transaction will close.
Buyer Tip #5: Don’t Play Hide and Seek.
5) Be available, and if you are not, let your agent know. It’s imperative for us to be able to contact you, just in case something comes up.
Buyer Tip #6: Speak Through a Hefty Deposit.
6) The higher the deposit, the more serious you look to the Seller. I say this all the time to my Buyers, especially if they’re putting in an offer for a short sale. Lenders are looking for market value, so offering more on short sales doesn’t necessarily make your offer stronger, especially if you are financing because the home might not appraise. What makes your offer stronger is putting in a high deposit. That sends a message to the Seller that you won’t continue shopping around for a home since you have a lot to lose if you breach the contract, and that’s the offer that the Seller should choose.
Buyer Tip #7: Spend a Little Money to Save a Lot of Time.
7) Do inspections, even if you think the home is fine. Make inspection period short, ours is for 7 days. If you are buying a short sale, do the inspection up front instead of waiting until there’s a short sale approval. I know that most Buyers don’t want to spend the money, but it’s better to know that the home has issues you don’t want to deal with upfront instead of 3 months later. In the time it took to get the approval, you just missed out on many, many properties that could have been a better fit.
Buyer Tip #8: Cash Doesn’t Mean 50% Discount.
8) As a very active listing office, I see this issue come up a lot… cash Buyers send in an offer for tens of thousands of dollars less than the listing price. Yes, Sellers prefer cash Buyers because it’s easier than financed Buyers, but that doesn’t mean that they are willing to give away their home or are willing to risk a short sale approval. Of course equity Sellers have the final say on how little they are willing to accept, but distressed Sellers (short sales especially) know that whatever their lender’s value came back as is what the offer needs to be. If the home is priced correctly or if the lender has already done the value, don’t offer for less because you are likely to get a counter by the lender if the Seller accepts your offer.
For More Tips, Please Read:
SURVIVOR GUIDE FOR REAL ESTATE BUYERS ~ PART 2 - Buying a home Using Financing
Getting a loan? Read this first:
Why do you keep asking me for all that paperwork Mr. Loan Officer?
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