When a buyer finds "the one" and is ready to make an offer, there are some sure fire ways to get the seller to reject the offer, sending you and your buyer's agent back to a search in the Multiple Listing Service. No matter the real estate climate in your neighborhood: if you're in a "buyer's market", a "seller's market", or a "flat" market, there are a couple of constants in a home sale. As the buyer bringing the cash to the closing table it matters not-so-much what the house is being sold for, but rather what the buying market is willing to pay for that home, that will initiate an offer in the first place. The other half of the equation is what the seller is willing to accept that will consummate a sale.
Ready to have your offer thrown in the trash? Send in a lowball offer. Price is the first thing that a seller will look at when an offer comes in. Depending on the neighborhood that you're buying in, the average list-to-sales price of a home is running anywhere from 96%-98%. (So, if a home was listed for $100.000, the actual sales price of a home may be about $96,000-$98,000). While most buyers are looking for a "deal", most sellers aren't looking to "give their house away", They'll balk at a low ball offer. And while your agent would be able to send in comparable sales to justify a low offer, if the seller's themselves haven't taken action and decided to reduce the price, you may have just insulted them and your offer won't get a second glance.
What else will send you packing (and not to a new address)? Don't get prequalified before sending an offer in. You've got a steady paycheck, and decent credit, so you should be able to buy, so why not send the offer in and see what happens. Then, when they accept the offer, you'll go through the business of getting preapproved. Right? Wrong. Just because you think you can buy, doesn't mean your bank will approve you, and with no guarantee that you have the creditworthiness and wherewithal to buy. Put yourself in the seller's shoes. Would a seller accept your offer? In the time that it takes for you to get preapproved, they could keep the house on the market and find another buyer, who does have the preapproval and have the movers scheduled already.
You don't like the color of the paint in the living room. The linoleum in the corner of the kitchen is lifting a bit. The light in the refrigerator isn't working. Ready to have your offer tossed? Be a nit-pick. While you will have an opportunity for inspections and repairs with your home purchase, this isn't the time to nit-pick the seller. You're looking for major mechanical repairs: roof, electrical, plumbing, etc. and should inspections note any issues with those items, and they haven't been reflected in the sales price already, repairs could be negotiated for those major repairs.
A typical seller is ready to sell and ready to close quickly. When a buyer submits an offer with a closing date months away, it's not usually an attractive detail for the seller. Many sellers feel like they're living in limbo waiting to get the house sold, and are ready to move on.
When you're motivated to buy, ensure that you're ready to write an offer that is in the running to be accepted. Put yourself in a position to get your offer accepted, and get to the closing table.
Melissa Rolland is a licensed Connecticut realtor. She lives in Tolland, along with her husband Todd, a licensed broker. Together they manage the Rolland Realty Group at Keller Williams Realty. You can connect with them at www.RollandRealtyGroup.com.