It’s tough to be a buyer’s agent these days! You’ll spend a lot of time showing every house that comes on the market as soon as it lists and writing offer after offer only to lose out to the competition. But there are some things you can do to get your offer noticed in the stack.
Network in Your Area
Get to know listing agents in your area. Give them a call and see if they have anything coming to market that meets your client’s needs. Join social media platforms that discuss properties coming to market (a simple search for “Coming Soon” and your town on Facebook will likely reveal a few groups in existence. If not, start one and invite all of the agents you know to join). They’re a great way to get a heads up on properties that will be listed, so you can see them as soon as they are active.
Call the Listing Agent
If the house looks good on paper, call the agent before you see the property. Ask what the seller’s circumstances are. Do they need a leaseback or a longer close? Are they planning on painting or changing carpet while the house is listed? Are there any special features that might not be apparent at a glance? Or, have they had a recent appraisal or inspection? Develop a relationship with the listing agent before you show the property. That way, when your buyers have questions, you’re better prepared.
Check for Documents on the MLS
Take the time to check for additional information in the MLS – things like average utility bills, seller’s disclosure, or a list of upgrades are great tools and shouldn’t be overlooked in your rush to get to a property first. The more information you have, the better.
Have Financing in Place
Make sure your buyers go through the pre-approval process and that their lender has a reliable history of closing on time. Remember that a pre-approval is much stronger than a pre-qualification letter because it demonstrates that all of the necessary documents have already been reviewed and closing won’t be held up because of things like missing tax returns or paystubs. Also, having a really good lender that understands the new closing documents and timelines is crucial. If you’ve got a good relationship with your lender and you’ve got pre-approval in place, you should be able to close reliably within 30 days even with the new lending procedures.
Call the Listing Agent Before You Write the Offer
When your clients are interested in making an offer, call the listing agent first. Ask if the sellers have a preferred closing date, if they need a lease back, and whether there are other offers. Let the agent know when to expect your offer – and meet or beat that deadline. And – tell the agent a bit about your clients – how much they love the home, how they have been looking in the neighborhood for some time, or how important it is to them to send their kids to that school. The listing agent wants to know that your buyers are motivated and serious. Make sure you have the correct email address to submit the offer. Express to your buyers that time is of the essence in this stage of the game.
Use Care When Writing an Offer
Nothing turns a seller or a listing agent away from your offer faster than an offer with mistakes. If you check a box that an addendum is attached, it had better be included the first time. Make sure all fields are addressed and that the math is right. Pay attention to the third party lender addendum, dates and conditions. Sellers want to work with an agent who will the most likely to ensure a smooth and drama-free transaction. And a big red flag is raised when a contract comes with little errors or inconsistencies.
Think hard how your structure the offer: Things like a larger earnest deposit and a larger down payment signal to the buyer that your buyers are serious and are more likely to be able to close the loan. Cash offers are great, but they won’t necessarily win the day if the other terms aren’t as good. If you’re putting in an offer that is well over list and you don’t have comps to justify that high of a sales price, make sure that it is clear that the buyer is willing to pay over appraisal value and has funds to cover the portion that the lender won’t.
Don't Request Favors.
If there are items specifically listed as included with the house, then by all means, put them in the contract offer. But don’t ask the seller to leave non-realty items without compensation, or to perform cosmetic fixes that weren’t part of the listing. If your buyers insist on some of these items, at least float it past the listing agent first to see what kind of reception that type of condition would receive. It could be that the sellers were planning on selling items before the move and it would be beneficial to them to negotiate them. Just verify before you write it.
CE Classes Can Help
Classes like Write it Right (coming up on July 10) and Secrets of Top Buyers Agents (Aug. 23) are a great way to really hone your skills and offer a chance to network with fellow agents. Register online