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A Note to Buyers

How to Build Your Best Offer

By Thomas C. Schultheis
2019 President
Santa Barbara Association of REALTORS® 

Recently, I wrote about what sellers can do when preparing a property for sale to maximize the sales price.  This week I’d like to offer buyers some insight on how to ensure that your offer is seriously considered by a seller — especially in a multiple-offer scenario.

First, let me be clear that you should consult with your Realtor about how to build an offer that will be appealing to a seller.  He or she should be able to look at your goals and best advise you.

There are four main elements that help make a complete offer package:

Proof of Funds and/or Pre-Approval Letter: Believe it or not, sometimes offers are written by unqualified buyers.  Because of this, it is important to calm a seller’s concerns about your ability to complete the purchase.  One way to do this is to show proof that you have sufficient funds for a down payment and sufficient income to support your loan.  While you have the right to use any lender you wish, local and reputable lenders are recommended, as sellers and listing agents will generally be more comfortable working with a lender whom they know and trust as opposed to one whom they don’t know and who presents a degree of uncertainty.

Cover Letter: On countless occasions I have found that when buyers write a genuine cover letter to the seller, introducing themselves and communicating their appreciation for the property, it helps to establish a connection and increases the chances of being selected.  Please remember that even if your offer is not the best offeroverall, if the seller likes you the best, he or she may give you a chance to make your offer more competitive.

Offer Terms: It is no surprise that price is usually the primary determining factor for a seller, but there are often other factors as well.  It is always a good idea to have your Realtor look into the seller’s specific needs so that you can attempt to accommodate these needs in your initial offer. 

Reputation & First Impressions: Sellers do not want to find themselves in a situation in which they accept an offer only have it fall apart in escrow.  It causes extra stress and effort, and it can be a costly experience for all parties involved.  Because of this, sellers and Realtors will do their best to identify the strongest and most reliable offer in hopes of a successful transaction.  If you are able to demonstrate reliable behavior and a good rapport with the seller and their Realtor, they will likely favor you as a buyer and also consequently your offer.

The Santa Barbara Association of REALTORSⓇ urges you to “Call your Realtor and Affiliate Lenders” to learn more about how to build a winning offer when the time is right. Visit www.sbaor.org to find a Realtor and to see our affiliate members.

Thomas C. Schultheis is a Santa Barbara native and a Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties. In addition to his work on the Board of Directors of the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors, Thomas holds a Broker’s license and additional designations. Thomas lives in Santa Barbara with his wife and their two-year old son. He can be reached at 729-2802 or SBRealtorTom@gmail.com.     

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