This year, many people in the real estate industry are anticipating that the spring market will be especially robust. Many buyers want to take advantage of the current rates before further increases are announced. The stock market has been very volatile and that encourages people to move their money to hard assets such as real estate. Rents have been rising, giving tenants pause to consider their long-term options. That all leads us to believe that thereâ€™s going to be a lot of competition for homes.
How do you write a contract so that yours is the one that gets accepted? The goal is to find out whatâ€™s important to the seller and accommodate as much of what they want as possible, so that on the places that youâ€™re not aligned, they have fewer terms to object to. If you ask for too many concessions on too many fronts, the seller is likely to throw up their hands and say no. So try to keep it simple.
Price is obviously a key part of any offer, but itâ€™s not the only term to consider. Here are some other things to keep in mind:
â€˘ Settlement date: Whether youâ€™re asking to close in a short period of time or further in the future makes no substantive difference. When negotiating it only matters which is more desirable for the seller. If they are building a new house and need several months before they can vacate, keep that in mind. Or they may have a pressing need to get out quickly, and a faster closing may be more desirable to them. Your agent can ask their agent what their preferred time frame is before you draft your offer.
â€˘ Closing help: You may need help covering the costs of things like transfer taxes, title insurance and lenderâ€™s fees. If youâ€™re low on cash, go ahead and ask for the seller to cover some or all of these costs, but then be prepared to pay asking price or close to it. Your offer is not as strong if youâ€™re asking for help with closing costs and a price reduction. Remember: Pigs get fat, but hogs get slaughtered. Donâ€™t be so greedy that you put yourself out of the running.
â€˘ Inclusions: Letâ€™s say the home has a beautiful heirloom light fixture in the dining room thatâ€™s specifically been excluded from the sale. As much as you may want that specific chandelier, itâ€™s best to let those sorts of things go rather than upsetting the seller. Be careful not to rock the boat by asking for too much.
â€˘ A personal letter: You might consider writing the sellers a letter telling them how much you want their home and how much it would mean to raise your family there. There is an undeniable emotional factor in a home sale that sometimes defies being quantified. Iâ€™ve seen offers accepted for less than competing bids because the sellers simply feel good about the buyers, and a letter can help. On the flip side, Iâ€™ve seen letters trying to justify a low asking price by ticking off all the maintenance that needs to be done and how much it will cost. That strategy almost always backfires. No one wants to be told their house is a dump and that youâ€™re doing them a favor taking it off their hands.