Guest Post by Verl Workman
Working with buyers in a growing market can be challenging but if you study and follow proven negotiation strategies you will put your buyers in a competitive situation and have a much better chance of closing the transaction.
1. Offer an increased amount of earnest money
Don’t be afraid to really put your money where your mouth is. Don’t just say “my buyer is really a great qualified buyer.” Put $10,000 or $20,000 in earnest money when others only have $5,000. This alone will bring your offer to the attention of the seller. Remember the earnest money goes toward the down payment anyway so put your best foot forward and make your offer stand out.
2. Send in verification of your buyer's funds
Send in verification of your buyer’s funds with cash offers or a very strong pre-approval letter when financing is needed. An underwriting approval carries more weight than a simple letter from the lender stating the client is approved. With an underwriting approval your financed buyer becomes competitive with the cash buyer.
3. Give the seller a chance to move
By allowing a few days after closing for the seller to pack and move shows that your clients are reasonable and want to work with the seller to make the transition much easier. This is a nice gesture and will stand out to the seller.
4. Go in strong
We always suggest going in with your best offer first. In a competitive situation, getting the house is where you as an agent shine, not on beating up the seller and showing your negotiation expertise. If you go in with your best offer first, then your buyer won’t beat you up if the home sells above your ability and desire. It becomes simple mathematics.
5. You must be the market expert
Understand home values in the area. Sometimes the seller prices a home below market price in an effort to attract multiple offers. In these cases, you can offer above the list price and still be comfortable that you are not over paying for the home.
6. Don't include contingencies
Don’t include contingencies for the sale or lease of another property unless absolutely necessary. Sometimes including a financing contingency protects you just as well even when you have another home to sell.
7. Don't ask for the world
Building unnecessary requests for home warranties, termite bonds, and personal property complicates the offer and moves it to a different pile. Keep it simple and easy for the seller to understand your entire offer.
8. Don't ask the seller to pay part of your closing costs
Don’t ask the seller to pay part of your closing costs unless absolutely necessary. Sometimes we ask for this even though it’s not needed. When competing for the property with other buyers, offers quickly get reduced to the bottom line net to the seller. Closing costs could be the reason your client loses.
9. Find out what the seller really wants
What is truly important to them? Once you know this information you can include it in the offer. I learned from the great Zig Ziglar that if you give enough people exactly what they want you will find that you almost always get exactly what you want, and in this case it’s the home.
10. Communicate clearly
Communicate clearly to the seller what it is that your buyers really love about their home and why it is perfect for your buyers and their family. It’s ok to include a brief letter from the buyer along with a short video.
11.There most likely will be a counter offer
A good listing agent will advise a seller to counter all offers even good ones. If you and your buyers are prepared for this it will move the process along a lot faster.
12. Respond quickly and comply with dates
Your ability to get a deal done might come down to how fast you can respond to counters and your ability to do things in the time requested by the seller. Pay special attention to the small things that the seller may want and make it easy for them to choose your offer.
Dealing with multiple offers is not easy, but it is very much a part of what we do as buyer’s agents. Don’t get discouraged, follow the outline provided and you will win more than you lose.