Making an Offer

When considering an offering price I like to begin by referencing your idea of the perfect property.

We consider your preferences as established in earlier conversations, and then consider the probability of finding a superior alternative, while taking into account your budget, your ‘really-wants’ and your ‘must-haves’. Are you willing to forgo any of these to make this property work? What might it cost you to add any ‘must-have’ missing elements and how does the resulting cost compare with what you would be willing to spend on a home already in move-in condition? What is it worth to you?

Unless purchasing with cash, having you loan preapproval in place is of foremost importance…

…to be certain that you qualify for the offer price you’re considering. It can be very disheartening (as well as a terribly wasteful, of both our efforts) to find the perfect home and then be unable to make a convincing and competitive offer because you don’t have the documentation in hand to verify that you are approved for the funds required. A savvy seller will typically not even consider an offer without a lender’s pre-approval letter accompanying it. Getting such an approval can take anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks – depending on the complexity of your finances and your speed at delivering the documentation required. So, it is best to get this process started sooner rather than later.

I work with several local lenders in whom I have great confidence and can refer you to if needed.

Or, if you already have an established relationship with a lender, I will want to confer with them as soon as possible to begin building the rapport needed for a smooth transaction. I will support you during the application process with whomever you chose. But I must be confident in your ability to deliver on the loan details outlined in your offer — as I don’t want to misrepresent you when writing a letter in support of your offer and I would not want you to lose your deposit over a failure to perform.

My mission is to get your offer accepted on terms that work best for you.

When you first find a property that you might like to purchase, we’ll do a generalized preliminary assessment of the home’s condition. I will bring to your attention any conditions I note that could affect its value or that might increase the cost of ownership. Then I’ll prepare a comparative market analysis (CMA) for you, in which we look at the property in comparison to similar properties that have recently sold or are currently available, in order to structure your offer. Keeping in mind that price is not always the single most important factor for a seller. Many other factors may effect the appeal of your offer, such as the time allowed for the seller to vacate, the intended use of the property (home or investment), or even sentimental factors (such as a buyer’s appreciation of the landscaping that the seller has lovingly tended for many years). Many other such issues may come into play for a seller when weighing the merits of your offer. It is my job to ASK, to find out what these may be and then identify the points at which your interests and theirs intersect and emphasis then that commonality in your offer’s presentation.

Before writing an offer I always contact the seller’s agent…

to learn as much as possible about the seller’s wants and needs – so that we can structure your offer to be as attractive as possible in every way. For example, owners who feel no urgency to move quickly or those who require time to find a replacement home may appreciate a more leisurely escrow time period. Whereas a lender who has foreclosed on a property and only wants to get rid of it as quickly as possible could care less about how much you love the gorgeous landscaping. Depending on circumstances, there are a variety of ways, besides price, to make an offer attractive. I will make sure that those aspects of your offer are brought to the seller’s attention in the offer cover letter – and not leave it up to the seller’s agent suss these out.

Actively promoting your offer to the seller is my responsibility.

I typically compose a letter to the seller highlighting the strengths of my client’s offer and/or a letter to the seller’s agent explaining any unusual terms, while simultaneously advocating for the price offered and expressing my willingness to work collaboratively to bring this transaction smoothly to closing. For your benefit, if the seller hasn’t indicated a willingness to pay for a home warranty, I may offer to do so — as a goodwill gesture to the seller and to assure their agent that when accepting your offer they can look forward to working with a dedicated professional, who is committed to making this transaction work out well for all involved.

Advocating for a buyer in this way has become rather unusual but is still vitally significant.

When I first became an agent, offers were almost always presented in person and the art of presentation was considered a crucial skill and an essential service to the buyer client. Buyer’s agents typically made an appointment with the seller via the listing agent and then all three sat down together — providing an opportunity for the buyer’s agent to advocate for the buyer’s offer, for the seller to ask questions, and for each side to learn more about the objectives and character of the other.

But now that email is a preferred method of communication.

In-person presentations are seldom expected, or even possible. And many newer agents, who have never presented an offer in person, either fail to understand the importance of this step or lack the composition skills to create a comprehensive robust presentation in writing. When I am working as a listing agent, I am repeatedly amazed by the number of agents who simply email in an offer to me without ever even inquiring about the motives or temperament of the seller or including a letter to introduce themselves or to extoll the benefits of their client’s offer. Unfortunately for their buyers, that bit of outreach and advocacy can make all the difference, particularly when a seller is reviewing multiple offers.

Direct person-to-person communication is typically at the heart of every win-win transaction.

And I am confident that my communication skills, both written and in person, make a crucial difference, especially when my client’s offer is in competition with others. I am committed to professional conduct and thoughtful interactions from first contact with a listing agent and their client and throughout the entire transaction. Successful communication begins with thoughtful inquiry – ASKing — and listening.

Once your offer is accepted my job becomes keeping the transaction on track.

I’ll assist you with scheduling inspections, reviewing disclosure documents and the preliminary title and inspection reports, and any other information provided. I will make sure that you stay on schedule with inspections and contingency releases to assure that you have the time needed to make well-informed decisions, while meeting the deadlines specified in your offer. For concerns about issues such as building permits, land use, zoning, neighborhood activities and school availability, I’ll direct you to appropriate agencies or other resources and go with you to visit them if you’d like – supporting you in getting relevant and comprehensive information.

If any report, inspection, or investigation yields less than satisfactory results…

…I will assist you in determining your most appropriate response: getting more information from the seller, asking for an extension of time to perform further investigations, requesting a concession or some other form of compensation, or perhaps a complete cancellation of the transaction. Whatever course of action you desire, I’ll work with you to craft a written response to be submitted to the seller along with a letter to the agent containing a practical rational for why your proposal makes sense and warrants acceptance.

Once contingencies are removed, my focus shifts to shepherding the efforts of the lender and the title and escrow agents…

…to conclude the transaction in an efficient and timely manner. And I will assure that you receive an estimate of closing costs in advance of signing — so that you have an opportunity to review and make any corrections needed before sitting down to sign final paperwork.
On the day of signing, I will accompany you to the escrow office to make sure you are allowed whatever time you need for reviewing the documents you’re about to sign, to confirm that the information corresponds with what you and your lender previously agreed to and that any credits, home warranty coverage, or seller concessions agreed to have been properly itemized.

Once the sale has been recorded at the county offices…

…typically the next business day after the meeting at the title company for the signing of closing documents – the escrow is closed. Then I deliver to you the keys to your new home. The end of a perfect day for me, and Day One of a brand-new life adventure for you.