7 Ways Buyers Sabotage Their Offers
Chances are when you decide to make an offer on a house you love, you want it accepted, or at least to reach agreement with the seller after some negotiations.
It can be challenging enough when it’s just you and the seller, but when there are multiple offers, the odds are not in your favor to begin with.
You want to put your best foot forward, of course. But there are some key ways that buyers can, and do, sabotage offers. The good news is these are all avoidable.
NO LENDER PRE-APPROVAL
This will ruin your chances of getting your offer accepted pretty fast, and be an immediate turnoff. Most buyers need to use a mortgage to buy a house so you MUST get pre-approved, and not just pre-qualified, by a reputable lender who does a thorough job of checking your credit, assets, income and debts.
If you and your lender cannot document you are financially qualified to buy the property, and close, why would any seller accept your offer?
Not including a letter will send a pretty strong message to a seller that you are not financially qualified, you are not taking the process seriously, or both. And be sure the letter is current. Pre-approvals need to be updated after a period of time – check with your lender on expiration – and an outdated letter will wave a red flag.
OFFER AMOUNT THAT IS TOO LOW OR NOT COMPETITIVE
Submitting a low ball offer is a quick way to sabotage what you are submitting, especially in a market where there are multiple offers and many homes are selling at or above asking price.
In certain price points lower offers may be less of an issue, typically at the high end, but this is something to discuss with your agent.
The risk with a low offer is that you will not only sabotage your chances of negotiating with the seller but your offer might simply be rejected out-right, without a counter, or even ignored. And while sellers may be counseled by their agents to not take low offers personally, the reality is many will be insulted and that harms your chances of further discussion, or eliminates them entirely.
REQUEST UNREALISTIC TERMS AND CONDITIONS
Offers are NOT just about price. A whole host of issues with terms and conditions, other than price, can prevent negotiations or at least make them more challenging. The more demanding you are in your offer, the greater the likelihood the seller will say no, especially when there are cleaner offers to consider. Some of this depends, of course, on what is important to the seller. For example, if they really want or need 30 days and you demand 60 or more, or vice versa, that’s a problem.
If your offer is a low one plus you are making requests the seller deems unrealistic, your offer is at even greater risk of rejection.
Asking for the seller to pay your closing costs will likely be an issue, at least in a seller’s market. You might demand all the appliances, as well as request the seller leave other items, but if the seller already stated certain appliances aren’t staying, and you are asking for personal items, that will also make your offer a no go. Put yourself in the seller’s shoes…are you being unrealistic about your terms and conditions?! And adding insult to injury by including a low price?
LOW EARNEST MONEY DEPOSIT
What is typical for a deposit (EMD) will vary by the market, but a low deposit is certainly not going to demonstrate to the seller you are a serious buyer. This is even more critical when there are multiple offers and others are submitting substantial deposits. If your deposit is lower that what is typical for the marketplace, or not competitive with others, you can be sure the seller will not be impressed, and the listing agent will be advising them on this as well. Don’t be cheap and sabotage your offer!
SUBMIT A SLOPPY INCOMPLETE OFFER
This may not be totally in your control since you are working with a buyer agent (you are, aren’t you?) but any offer submitted should be complete, without errors, contain all the appropriate signatures, and include all the necessary paperwork (that will vary from state to state, and even by market).
Before you sign you should review the offer in its entirety, whether you do this in person with your agent or online, and make sure it represents your wishes correctly.
Sloppy paperwork and errors are a big red flag and will sabotage your offer, even a good one. You want to start off on the right foot, don’t you? A sloppy offer could suggest you and your agent are going to be sloppy about other things as well during the transaction…this will not pave a smooth path to closing.
MOVING TOO SLOWLY
They say “when you snooze you lose” and that’s certainly a strong possibility in a busy seller’s market. Waiting to make an offer because you need to think about your decision will certainly sabotage your offer pretty quickly in many cases.
This is not to say you should decide hastily…that can be a huge mistake, too. But being prepared to move forward, by being pre-approved, understanding the local market conditions, and creating a strong offer and clean terms and conditions, will maximize your chances and avoid sabotaging all the efforts made in creating an offer in the first place.
NOT KNOWING THE LOCAL MARKET CONDITIONS, OR IGNORING THEM
This is key, and it covers a lot of issues. The local market conditions – such as buyer demand and available inventory – play a big role in pricing, whether there are multiple offers, the types of terms and conditions included in offers, how quickly you need to move, and more.
Your agent will presumably explain these conditions to you and help you understand what they mean for your offer strategy. If your aget doesn’t you have a more serious problem!!.
Not knowing the local market conditions, or worse ignoring them and just going down your own path, despite the best advice, will surely sabotage your offer. Yes, you have the right to make decisions when offering on a property, but ignoring good advice will have consequences.
It’s your choice!
If you want the house, listen up and put your best foot forward!