Buying A House in 2023? Tips To Get Your Offer Accepted!

May 28, 2023

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So you’ve decided to make a real estate move in 2023 – congratulations!  But you know people who keep making offers that end up getting rejected!  Or maybe you are one of those people who is making offers that keep getting rejected!  Should you give up and go into a rental?  Are there tips that buyers can use in this real estate market that can put them in a position to compete with the cash offers out there?

There are lots of tips and tricks to getting an offer accepted – however, not everyone will be comfortable with some of these.  So you need to discuss with your Buyer Agent the pros and cons of doing some of these things – and then do those things that you are comfortable with doing!

Here is my list!

  1. Bump up the price!  In the 2023 Richmond Virginia real estate market, almost no homes are being sold at a price under the asking price – unless the house has been sitting on the market for some time, and it is overpriced to begin with!
  2. Use a local lender!  If you are competing with other offers, then using a local lender who is reputable will go a long way to making sure your offer is competitive!
  3. Have the lender call the listing agent when the offer is submitted!  Having the lender call the listing agent when your offer is submitted will allow the seller’s agent to ask questions about your qualifications to make sure that you can close without any problems!
  4. Have your lender submit your paperwork to the underwriter for approval before finding a house!  Why not provide the lender with the bank statements, pay stubs, etc. before you even begin to look for a house so that it can be submitted to the underwriter!  In this way, your lender letter will say that you are underwriting approved!  And it can allow you to close much quicker since the only thing that the lender will now need is a ratified contract, acceptable appraisal and updated pay stubs and bank statements!
  5. Give the seller their preferred closing date!  Some sellers want a quick close, some sellers want a quick close with a possession after closing for a period of time, some sellers want a longer closing!  Your Buyer Agent should call the listing agent to make sure you put in the closing date that they want!
  6. Provide a strong earnest money deposit!  When you write your offer, you will need to put down an earnest money deposit – most buyers in the Richmond area will do a 1% deposit.  But why not bump that up to 2% or more?
  7. Make some or all of the deposit non refundable!  This is one that you need to be comfortable with it!  This means that if you end up not closing on the house for whatever reason, the seller will keep that portion of the deposit you have stated is non refundable!
  8. Provide the deposit quickly!  In our area, it is not unusual to have the contracts read that the deposit will be received in a certain period of time (ex: 3 days or 5 days after contract ratification).  To make your offer stronger, why not provide that within 1 day of contract ratification?  Or better yet, submit it with your offer!
  9. Consider the appraisal contingency in your offer!  If you are financing your purchase, the lender will most likely require an appraisal.  Many buyers are offering to make up the appraisal gap should the appraisal come in under the purchase price.  Some buyers are even waiving the appraisal altogether!
  10. Consider if you should do a cash offer!  If you have the funds available to pay cash for a house, even if you decide to get a mortgage, you should consider making your offer a cash one instead, as cash is almost always king in the eyes of a seller!
  11. Do not make your offer contingent on the sale of a home!  If you have a home to sell in order to purchase another one, putting in a home sale contingency will make your offer weaker when compared to others.  Instead, check with the lender to see if they have some financing options such as a recast that could help you purchase another home!
  12. Consider the inspection contingency in your offer!  It is very hard to tell buyers they should not do an inspection on the house they are going to purchase!  But there are ways to sweeten this contingency for the seller – of course, you could waive the inspection.  But you could also limit your inspection types (ex: structural, radon, roof).  You could limit the dollar amount of the repairs you could ask the seller to repair!  You could also take the house as is & do your inspection for informational purposes only!
  13. Don’t ask the seller to provide a home warranty!  The cost of a home warranty runs between $700 and $800.  If you do decide you want a home warranty, consider paying for that yourself rather than having the seller pay for it!
  14. Shorten your contingency timelines!  In our contracts, the lender has 15 days to order an appraisal – why not let the seller know that you will have the lender order the appraisal within 1 business day of contract ratification and that you will ask them to put a rush on it!  In our area, inspections are usually done within 10 to 14 calendar days of ratification – why not get these done within 5 days of contract ratification!
  15. Write the offer “sight unseen”!  This can be a dangerous tactic, but it is one that many buyers are using in this market!  If you are going to write a sight unseen offer, however, you will need to make sure that it a strong offer that has very few or no contingencies in it!
  16. Allow the seller to rent back the property after closing!  In many cases, it is a benefit to the seller to retain possession after closing – giving them time to close on their new place and to move into it!  The maximum time a lender will allow the rent back to be is 60 days.  In many cases, buyers are allowing the seller to retain possession after closing at no charge!
  17. Use an escalation clause!  An escalation clause is used to automatically amend your offer in the event of a multiple offer situation!  In this case you are telling the seller that if there are other offers on the property, you are automatically amending your offer to a dollar amount over the highest verifiable offer up to a pre determined maximum price!
  18. Consider paying the seller a bonus for considering your offer!  In our area, it is not unusual for a house to come on the market on Thursday, showings starting on Friday, offers being reviewed on Monday and sellers agent responding on Tuesday.  But I have had buyers offer the seller a bonus of an increased purchase price if the offer they submitted on Friday evening were accepted on Friday night.
  19. Accept the house in it’s current condition!  In this area, our contracts say that the seller is to leave the house in “broom clean condition”, which usually means there is no trash or items left behind and the house has been swept.  For some sellers, not having to call in the junk guy or hire in a cleaning company just before closing is a big plus to them.
  20. Write a letter to the seller!  This can be a bit dangerous as you certainly do not want to violate any fair housing laws.  But a good letter can help you stand out from other offers the seller may be looking at.  Some tips:  attention grabbing fonts, make an emotional connection to the sellers by telling them why you love their house (make sure you focus your letter on the features and amenities of the house to avoid fair housing issues).

For many buyers, this market has been a very tough and emotional roller coaster.  I have worked with so many buyers who have lost out on the homes they loved – only to later be able to get a house that ended up being the perfect house for them!  So the advice that I give to all my buyers is:  if you find a house you love, make your best offer!  If it is the house for you, you will get the house!  But if you don’t, be sad for 24 hours and then let’s get back out and look for a house!  The house that you ultimately get will be the one that is perfect for you and your family!

If you have questions, or are thinking of buying a house, let’s talk!  No obligation – no pressure!  As a full time Realtor since 1996 in the Richmond area, I am familiar with all areas and have worked with hundreds of buyers to find them their dream homes!  Let me know how I can help!