April 19th, 2016
Usually, the lower the purchase price, the smaller the mortgage a buyer must borrow. We’re not suggesting that buyers buy less or resort to trickery or pressure to arrive at an attractive lower purchase price. Nor, are we suggesting a price chopped by tens of thousands. Instead, by adding value to the components of an offer, a lower purchase price may be acceptable to the seller.
While market value is talked about the most, we need to realize it is represented by a range of prices instead of a single price. This means a property can sell at market value at any price across this range, especially when the offer is taken as a sum total of value for the seller, not just at its stated price.
By thinking ahead and being prepared, buyers can significantly improve their bargaining position with sellers. Here are five smart value strategies to ensure the entire offer to purchase has value to the seller beyond the purchase price.
#1 Match the Sellers Closing Date
Prepare for home buying by becoming as flexible as possible about when the transaction closes. If you offer to match the seller’s best closing date, you may be saving them from incurring significant cost. Even the difference between popular moving dates and lower-fee moving dates can represent value for sellers. This savings may be reflected in a lower selling price.
Check out your lease options if you’re a tenant, so you know exactly how much it will cost you to close in 30 days, 6 months, or whenever suits seller needs. If you have a home to sell, consult your real estate salesperson to determine whether to sell or buy first. If the latter makes more sense in your market, get numbers on bridge financing, that is, the cost of owning two homes at once, so you know, in advance, exactly how much closing-date flexibility you have and what’s at risk. Obviously, if family or friends can help with temporary housing, furniture storage, and/or financing, you may have an advantage over other buyers.
#2 Don’t Have Any Conditions
When faced with the immediate equivalent to cash--a firm, no-conditions offer to purchase – a seller may be tempted to accept a lower purchase price than if the offer is full of “ifs” and “maybes.” Conditions for financing, home inspection, and other significant concerns beyond buyer’s control cannot always prudently be removed, but when they can, buyers benefit. Paying for a home inspection before making an offer or arranging lender commitment in advance can provide a buyer with bargaining leverage.
#3 Don’t Ask for Additional Items
Avoid including appliances, light fixtures, furniture, or other items not automatically and legally considered part of the house, townhome, or condominium. Since appliances no longer last the decades they used to, its crazy to purchase them, or any other furnishings, second-hand through your offer. By including them in the purchase price, buyers may end up paying mortgage interest on these furnishings for decades. On the other hand, selling used appliances and furnishings online is easy for sellers who end up with cash in hand.
#4 Personalize Your Offer
Sellers who love their home see value in buyers who “get” the property and who may even plan to realize a dream sellers had, but did not complete. Providing details in a letter, short video, or photos about why purchasing the seller’s home is important can also add weight to your offer. Personalize the offer and emphasize why buyers can and will close as promised. Sometimes, sellers can be won over by offering something of value to them that is uniquely available to the buyer. For instance, one experienced restauranteur/buyer offered to cook and serve at a dinner party hosted by the seller. Your real estate professional may have suggestions about what would sway sellers and add value without overly complicating the real estate transaction. Which service, experience, or convenience do you have access to that would represent value and savings to a seller?
Market value is represented by a price range, which means a property can sell at market value, and be sold at any price across this range. Further, when the offer is taken as a sum total of value for the seller, emphasis is taken off the purchase price. Explaining these concepts, calculating full offer value, and convincing the seller of the unique opportunity provided by the buyer employs the skills of the real estate professional representing the buyer. Take time to engage a strong professional negotiator who can convince sellers how the buyer’s lower purchase price represents full value to the seller.
Prepare, in advance, to present multi-pronged value in your offer to purchase, and you may benefit with an accepted offer and perhaps a smaller mortgage which carries lower overall mortgage interest cost.
Written by PJ Wade