I've been selling Real Estate in Big Bear Lake for over ten years and have written many offers for my clients. Many of the offers that I wrote were accepted. Some where not. So, the question is, How do I write an offer on a Big Bear property that the seller will want to accept? Making an offer on a property is much more than just the price. There are a lot of things that can be included in the offer that will make it appealing to the seller. Let's take a look at some of them.
- PRICE One of the first things my buyer will ask me is "How Much Should I Offer?" There are a number of factors that need to be looked at in order to answer the question. The first thing I look at is how long has the property been on the market. If the property was just listed for sale in the MLS, then it's safe to say that the Seller is not going to be to anxious to accept a low offer. But if the property has been on the market for a long period of time, then the seller may be willing to entertain a lower offer. Another thing to look at is how well is the property priced compared to similar property listings. If the property is priced lower than similar properties then perhaps a full price offer is going to be in order. In cases like this, it is not unusual to see multiple offers on a Big Bear cabin that was priced below value. In this case, it is in the buyers best interest to make a full price offer and pray that it is accepted before any other offers arrive.
- HOW ARE YOU PAYING FOR THE PROPERTY How you are paying for the property is something that sellers look at. Are you getting a loan for the property or are you paying cash? If it's a loan, what type of loan? Are you getting a conventional loan with 20% down? Or, is it going to be a FHA loan with much less down? The rule of thumb is that the more that you put down, the stronger the offer is going to look to the seller. Don't forget that Cash is still King! Cash offers have far less chances of falling out of escrow compared to an offer with a loan and in Big Bear, Sellers like cash offers.
- LENGTH OF ESCROW The length of the escrow is another factor that a seller will look at. In other words, How Soon Will I get My Money? If you're getting a loan for your property then the normal length of an escrow in the Big Bear Valley is between 30 and 45 days. Cash offers will range anywhere from 7-21 days depending on a number of factors. Normally, the seller wants this sale to close as quickly as possible, so the length of the escrow is something that they are going to look at.
- INSPECTIONS AND DISCLOSURES What is very important to the seller is what's the bottom line. How much am I going to end up with in my pocket. The terms of the sale will have a lot to say with what the bottom line is. Normally, the buyer will ask the seller to pay for the Termite Report and a clear section 1 termite. They normally ask that the seller pay for the Natural Hazard Disclosure, Home Warranty, and the County Transfer Tax. Normally the buyer will pay their own escrow fees and the seller will pay their own fees. The Terms area is a great location where the buyer can entice the seller with paying some of these fees. A good example of this is there is a cash offer and the buyer doesn't care about a termite report or a home warranty. Saving the seller these fees will add to the sellers bottom line and could make the difference.
- INVENTORY There are sellers who can't get to Big Bear and clean out the cabin and therefore will sell it as is. The buyer doesn't want any of the furnishings but may need to agree to take them as part of the deal. Don't get hung up on inventory. After all, you are buying a cabin in Big Bear, not furniture. If the cabin comes with furnishings that you don't want, you can give them to the local charities, you can yard sell them, or you can haul them to the dump. Normally, it's not that big of a thing.
- PROOF OF FUNDS AND LOAN PRE-APPROVAL If you want the seller to take you serious, then provide a Pre Approval with your offer if you are making an offer that requires a loan. If it's a cash offer, provide the proof of funds. The Residential Purchase Contract (RPA) states that you have 7 days after acceptance to get this information in. But if you want your offer to stand out, then supply the proof of funds or pre approval with the offer.
- INSPECTION TIME FRAMES The RPA give the seller 7 days to give you all of the disclosures and you, the buyer has 17 days to go through the disclosures, get your home inspection and do your due diligence Another good way to show the seller that you are very serious about your offer is to shorten the inspection time frames allowed to the buyer. Show the seller that you want to get the inspections over with, sign off on the inspection contingency and move forward with the close.
- WRITE A LETTER TO THE SELLER Years back, my father put his home on the market and the first weekend it was listed, he had multiple offers, all well above the asking price. How did he select the new owner? It turns out that of all the offers, one person wrote a letter and had it presented with the offer explaining why this buyer wanted this house. The letter touched my dad's heart and it made his choice much easier to select the new owner. Don't underestimate the impact that a short personal letter can have on a seller. Let the seller know how much you like their home. Whatever the circumstances are, write a note to the seller and tell them. I know for a fact that this has swayed many sellers to accept the offer from my client, simply because they took the time to write a letter
Remember this, they best way for your offer to stand out against the other offers and get the sellers attention is to write a good, clean and strong offer. Don't write an offer with the mind set that your low offer will bring you a counter offer. You do not know what other offers the seller may already have so don't play games. If you like the cabin and you want it, then write the best offer you can. Write the cleanest offer that you can and then submit it through your agent.