You’ve been searching and searching for the perfect home for your family. You’ve scoured listings and gone on tours and open houses. And finally you’ve found “the one.”!
Now it’s time to make an offer on the house that will get accepted. And that is what this guide will help you do.
Below you’ll learn how to make an offer on a house that gets accepted. We cover when to go under market value and when to go higher even at the risk of no other offers. You’ll also find some tips on how to make your offer stand out if multiple people sent similar ones.
To ensure you’re taken seriously as a buyer, start with the following:
- Get preapproved financially – Not only will a seller be much more willing to work with a buyer who has guaranteed funds, but you’ll also be able to make an offer as soon as you find that perfect property.
- Let your agent work for you – Your real estate agent is the expert in negotiating prices and feeling out the situation. Let your agent do their job and close the deal.
- Evaluate and Compare – You are likely excited about the house you’re buying, but if there are other similar homes and all are in the same price range, the seller is likely nervous you could walk. If this is the case then you may be able to go lower in your asking price.
- Write a personal note to the seller – If all of the offers on the house are similar, go the extra step and write a personal note to the seller. Look at their social media accounts to see if they have a pet, kids or what matters to them. By incorporating how their house is going to help you provide a good home for something they also feel connected to, your offer letter may stand out and get accepted.
- Make a donation to a charity – If you really want to stand out, look for charities they support on their social media accounts. Facebook for example lets people fundraise for a charity for their birthday. Make a donation to that charity in their name and include the receipt on your offer letter saying you’re excited for the chance to be the next owner of their house.
Now that you have some tips on making an offer on a house that gets accepted, lets look at a couple of scenarios and when to make a higher offer than the asking price and when to make a lower offer on a house.
When to Make a Higher or Lower Offer on a House
If you find a buyer’s market (supply exceeds demand), you may be able to make an offer that gets accepted for much less than a seller’s asking price. This is because, in this situation, there are many homes on the market but not enough prospective buyers. If a seller wants to make a sale, they’re most likely already aware that they’ll have to accept the best offer, with some potential negotiating.
On the other hand, in a seller’s market (demand exceeds supply) you may have to come up substantially in your offer to be considered. There are many interested buyers, but not enough homes on the market, so you’ll most likely be competing with many buyers on a given property.
By keeping an eye on the market and working with a professional, you’ll be able to make the best offer you can, given the circumstances, and get to the closing table on your dream home.
Scenarios for Making an Offer on a House That Gets Accepted
Not every home-buying scenario is the same. Is the home bank-owned? For sale by owner? Closing before auction? Here’s what to look for in each of these and how to navigate your way through them.
How to Make an Offer on a Bank-Owned House
To make an offer that gets accepted on a bank-owned house, you’ll need to get together your “highest and best” offer. These properties can be highly competitive, especially if they’re in good shape in an ideal neighborhood. The bank will accept the “highest and best” offer because their goal is to not have overhead by leaving it on the market and to make as much money as possible. Friendly notes and charitable donations will not work here.
Usually, when a bank forecloses on a house, they’ll try to sell it at auction. If a home doesn’t sell, it stays under the bank’s ownership as an REO property (real estate owned). These homes will generally be priced well below market value.
Do your research, market analysis, and review the history of these properties before you submit your own highest and best offer to the bank.
How to Make an Offer on an FSBO House
In order to make an offer that gets accepted on a for sale by owner house, you’ll need to contact the owner directly with a reasonable offer. Then, be prepared to back up that offer and explain why you think it’s a good deal. The owner is not using an agent, and if you are then you may have an upper hand in that your agent will be familiar with this and can negotiate on things the seller won’t be as in tune with. At the same time the owner might not trust real estate agents, so feel the situation out and see if your gut tells you to let your agent be your voice, or be your sounding board.
Your agent gets paid the same either way, and if this house is the one you want, let your gut and your agent’s experience work for you, not against you.
How to Make an Offer on a House Before Auction
If the house you want to buy is going up for auction, you can still take it off the block and get it first. You have two options.
- Approach the current owner and make a cash offer to pay off their debt.
- If the owner is already removed and the bank, county, etc… own the property, buy the debt outright from the current mortgage holder.
In both situations you’ll be able to remove the risk of a bidding war during the auction and get the house you want.
How to Make an Offer on a House in Pre-Foreclosure or Foreclosure
To buy a foreclosed house or to make an offer that gets accepted on a house in pre-foreclosure, you will need to be savvy and tread very lightly. You can walk away with some absolute steals here, but it is generally agreed that this is the most challenging time to purchase a home. Pre-foreclosure does not equal “for sale.”
Do some research, maybe drive by the property, and get a feel for its curb appeal. Learn the home’s market value and history and crunch some numbers. When you are certain you’d like to purchase, reach out to the homeowner and explain your interest.
The homeowner is most likely already stressed out, so be delicate but be honest. Selling the home may be in their best interest, and they just haven’t seen the light yet. Once they’ve warmed up to the idea, schedule a walk-through and start negotiations. You can help them get out of a bad situation by leaving them with cash in their pocket if they sell now, vs. being removed and having nothing.
And that is how you can make an offer on a house that gets accepted. Subscribe to our newsletter by using the box below to get more real estate tips, and once you buy your house, we’d love to be your title company for insurance, closing and escrow. Call us when you’re ready.