If you're like most buyers in today's housing market, you've lost a few bidding wars in your search for your dream home. You're definitely not alone. Homes in the Atlanta area are selling, on average, for over list price for the first time since this data was tracked. With inventory in such short supply, there are many more buyers than there are houses available. While your offer price matters, there are many other ways to make your offer more attractive to a seller. Here are 4 that won't cost you an extra dime:
*Full disclosure before we begin* I am a real estate agent in Atlanta and am speaking to the current market and contract terms in my specific area. These suggestions may not be relevant or apply in all states so I would absolutely recommend consulting a local real estate professional for regional specific advice.
1. Tailor Your Offer - Every home seller is different. Some sellers may want a quick closing while others may want a little more time in their home. Make sure your agent does their homework so that the offer you submit hits the seller's highest priorities. You'd be surprised how often that doesn't happen.
2. Up Your Earnest Money - Deals are falling through right and left for many reasons. While earnest money totaling 1% of your offer price may have cut it in the past, a higher percentage shows you're serious and less likely to walk away from the contract. The good news is that unless you back out outside of your due diligence, all of this money goes towards your closing expenses.
3. Get Fully Approved for a Mortgage - The truth is, fewer contingencies win. Getting fully approved for a mortgage will allow you to remove the financing contingency from your offer, which is a big deal. Plus, it comes with very little risk.
4. Consider "Right to Request Repairs" - A typical offer includes a defined number of due diligence days in which you can decide not to buy the house for just about any reason under the sun. This period is a high-risk time for the seller, especially with a much higher percentage of offers falling through compared to previous years. A great compromise is the "right to request repairs." This compromise protects you by still allowing you to do an inspection and negotiate accordingly if something serious comes back, but it is also more attractive to the seller because the only reason you can terminate the contract is if you cannot come to an agreement on the repairs needed.
The current housing market is ultra-competitive. While money talks, these four suggestions are (relatively) easy ways to make your offer more competitive without spending an extra dime. Good luck in your house hunt!
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