We spoke with two of our own Central Texas REALTOR®s, Charlsie Barfield and Kirbi Barbosa to dive into the best way to make an offer on a property in a seller’s market – thus landing you in a home you love and can afford. Once your pre-approval is ready and you’ve decided which mortgage type fits you, you’re ready to make an offer.
Follow these 5 best practices to get into the home you’ll love.
You see a property that checks all your boxes. You can afford the asking price and you’re all set to make an offer on the house.
But in the tight Central Texas home market, sellers have the upper hand—once a property is listed, potential buyers race to compete for attention. The seller will probably have 10 offers on the table by the end of the week!
In a nutshell:
In the Central Texas real estate market, a buyer who hesitates is lost.
But how far overboard should you go to stand out? What if you lose out on your dream house if your offer is ignored or rejected? Even worse, what if you get into a deal you can’t afford?
At Sojourn Real Estate, our REALTORS® know how to cut through the confusion. This list of best practices will help you make an offer that’ll be noticed—without losing your shirt.
Make Yours the Most Attractive Offer on the Table
#1: Keep escrow short
During escrow, buyers must jump through several hoops, including proving up their financing. Your offer will be more attractive if you can close escrow in as short a time as possible. Be careful what you promise, though—even if you’re an “all cash” buyer, title companies might need extra time to process paperwork. Ditto for lenders. Doublecheck that the financing you seek matches the type of property you want to purchase to avoid delays. Make sure you know how much time will be needed to finish.
#2: Offer to pay closing costs
In a normal market, sellers usually pay closing costs. As you could guess, that’s not the case right now. If you’re buying in hot markets like Belton and Temple, Texas, expect to cover closing costs (if your budget allows).
#3: Know when to waive the inspection
Crazy as it sounds, many buyers offer to forgo a physical inspection to entice a seller to give them the nod. An inspection is always a good idea, but it’s time-consuming, which means a seller might pass over your offer if you insist on having one.
Charlsie Barfield, a Sojourn Real Estate REALTOR®, says it’s all a matter of assessing your risk. “If you’re exhausting all your resources to buy this house,” she counsels, “don’t waive the inspection. If it ends up needing an expensive fix, you’ll be sorry you did.” Kirbi Barbosa, also with Sojourn Real Estate, agrees: “If it’s a super-competitive situation and you feel strongly there aren’t structural issues with the property (the most expensive kind of problems), you could waive the option period where you’d normally schedule an inspection. But you’re definitely taking a risk.”
#4: Write (or phone in) a love letter
Attach a personal note with your offer describing what the house means to you. Sellers can be sentimental about who takes over their beloved home—and reassurance that you’ll love it like they do can sway their vote. Barbosa adds, “I personally call the seller’s agent. Sometimes when they’re in a multiple-offer situation, they get tons of emails from people. It helps them to have a personal connection by phone—and to have reassurance that you’re a strong buyer.”
#5: Avoid making multiple offers at once
Tempting as it might be, it’s a very risky strategy to make offers on multiple homes at once. If two offers are accepted at the same time, you’re on the hook for both. One strategy to protect yourself if you must make two offers at once is to give the seller a short option period—offer to pay a fee upfront that you’ll lose if you have to terminate your offer.
Barbosa reassures her clients that while they will probably face stiff competition for a great home, they shouldn’t be discouraged. “That’s where having a good local real estate agent is the key to making a strong offer that gets accepted. At Sojourn, we personally know who our buyers will be dealing with during negotiations and we can bring valuable insight into how to make an offer that will set you apart.”
A knowledgeable REALTOR® has the tools to guide you through the home-buying (or selling!) process in our fast-paced Central Texas housing market. If you’re ready to buy a home, our Sojourn Real Estate team will be by your side every step of the way. Find your Sojourn Real Estate today.