|Buyer beware--of other buyers|
Julie Garton-Good, GRI, DREI
You've found your dream house, so there's no
doubt in your mind that you'll make a sound offer, have it accepted and live
happily ever after--unless another buyer beats you to the punch.
In a competitive marketplace, not only can
this happen, but also it may cause a far greater impact than any negotiating
curve the seller could throw at you. Erroneously, more buyers fear the seller
than they do competing buyers.
So let's evaluate why you should be alert to
other prospective buyers. These tips will arm you with the best ammunition
possible to clinch the sale.
Why beware of other buyers? In a competitive
market with relatively few quality properties available, it stands to reason
that the "dream home" category of homes will become truly hot
properties--often the minute the Realtor's sign goes up in the yard.
- Buyers today, for the most part, want to
purchase a home that requires very little fixing up. "I want to bring in my
toothbrush and immediately set up housekeeping" is the mindset of many
buyers in the marketplace. And to obtain this turnkey benefit, buyers are
willing to pay a premium. That can translate not only into a full-price offer,
but also to one that exceeds the seller's listed price.
- Secondly, in an active market, timing is
everything. In the good old days, you might have had the luxury of viewing a
home several times--even dragging your relatives to see it--before you actually
made an offer. Today, the phrase "he who hesitates is lost" aptly
explains the buyer who delays making a decision.
- And don't forget that being preapproved for
a loan has leveled the playing field for a majority of buyers. If they're all
equally qualified financially, the best offer (as interpreted by the seller),
gets the property.
So what can you do to arm yourself to the
teeth with "added value" to attract a seller?
- First, make sure you are financially
preapproved/prequalified to purchase. Be prepared to document this to the
seller. In fact, many lenders actually provide certificates to buyers, a copy of
which can be attached to any offer you make to a seller.
- Be honest with the seller about your
interest in purchasing the property. This doesn't necessarily mean that you
won't negotiate a fair purchase; but it also doesn't mean that you'll act
nonchalant and non-committal either. Sellers often "choose" one
buyer's offer over another based on the level of personal interest and
commitment the buyer appears to have to the seller's home.
- Finally, make sure you fully communicate
the desired outcome to your Realtor. If he/she is a buyers' agent, negotiating
on your behalf, outline to the Realtor just how much you want this house and
what you're willing to do to get it. As a trained professional, he/she will then
evaluate the best approach to take (in price, terms and negotiating tactics) to
help you realize your goal.
The next time you're inclined to wonder what
evil trick the seller might be up to, better look behind you first--to see if
other buyers are actually pulling the rug out from under your dream home.