Even in today’s market with the COVID-19 pandemic, homes are going like hotcakes, and buyers’ agents must make sure their buyers are ready. When it comes to writing your clients’ offer for the home of their dreams, here are a few tips to ensure you get the call that their offer is accepted.
#1: Explain the Buying Process
Many of your clients may have experience in real estate transactions; however, there may be a few first-time homebuyers. Regardless of which one you’re working with, it’s a good idea to go over the buying process, so they are informed and don’t have any surprises. When you initially meet for the first time, here are a few topics that should be gone over, as they are pertinent to the transaction flow: buyers consultation, credit approval, shopping for homes, preparing an offer, negotiation, due diligence on home, appraisals, homeowner insurance, loan process, closing costs, and closing on the house. As you can see, there are a lot of pieces to this puzzle, and addressing them, in the beginning, will ensure that the transaction goes as smoothly as possible.
#2: Complete a Buyer Needs Analysis
Don’t be a pop-tart agent and spring out of the office as soon as you get that phone call; instead, schedule a buyer’s needs analysis with your clients. Creating a file with a few standard questions can help you save time and ensure you don’t miss any important aspects that will refine your search for your clients. A few essential items to ask are: neighborhoods they like, school district, lot size, bedrooms and baths needed, level of seclusion, floor plan, must-haves, absolutely don’t want. Many of these items are right in the MLS search criteria, and others can be selected in the marketing remarks. This will help you show your clients that you’re listening to them and are not wasting their time by showing them homes that don’t match their needs.
#3: Get a Credit Approval Letter Before your Start Looking
Obtaining an approval letter is such a necessary step to ensure your clients complete before looking at homes for a few reasons. A credit approval ensures that your client is ready to look at homes based on income, credit, debt to income, etc., but it will also tell you what type of home they can view. Some homes on the market need repairs, have older utilities or well/septic systems, or other reasons that the house will not qualify for certain loan types.
Often, sellers are not willing to market their home to buyers approved for an FHA, VA or USDA loan due to a certain number of factors, and this is what a credit approval will tell you for your buyer. When you’re conducting your search, you can weed out any homes that don’t apply to your client’s financing method and prevent them from seeing the home of their dreams, but then finding out that they can’t get funding for it. Many lenders will even prepare multiple credit approval letters; that way, your client can pick which type of financing they want to go with based on the home that they find. That is a great tool to have when it comes to setting your offer apart from others.
#4: Help Your Client Understand Today’s Home Sales Market
There once was a time when you could put in an offer on a home that was thousands below asking price, but today is not that market. Homes are selling just as quickly as they are placed on the market, at or above asking price. Preparing your buyer with this information will allow them to truly understand how to put in a great offer, eliminate the negotiation step, and instead get the acceptance. If your buyer loves a home and has that butterfly feeling in their stomach, they have to go in strong.
Using the MLS system, print off some detail sheets for houses that have recently sold in the area that they are looking in. Highlight the days on the market, original list price, sales price, terms, and seller concessions. This information will help your clients understand current trends and how important it is to go in with that firm offer if they want the house.
#5: Writing the Offer
The offer is the most intricate and exciting piece of the puzzle in a real estate transaction and should be discussed in detail with your clients. The offer is like your buyers’ resume for the seller to review and needs to be submitted the best that it can. Things like earnest deposits, seller concessions, type of financing, possession at close, and contingencies are all different aspects of the purchase agreement that will set your offer apart from other offers received. Along with the items in the purchase agreement, the way you present it can make a difference. Utilizing an electric submission system like Dotloop will allow your offer to be submitted in a clean and organized manner, and often much quicker than meeting in-person to write the offer.
There are many intricacies in real estate transactions, and in the end, the satisfaction of sitting at the closing table with clients that are getting ready to embark on their new journey in life makes all of this work worth it. Your clients will appreciate the knowledge you provide to them and refer you to their friends and family because of it!
About the Author: Brooke Tanner is a Real Estate Express alum and real estate agent at Coldwell Banker Schmidt in West Michigan with over 20 years of customer service experience. She strives to be the best resource and trusted advisor for all buyers and sellers by staying on top of industry changes and trends.