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Culture » Take Me Home

Buyers: Stay Competitive in a Seller's Market

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For most of the last year in Bend, the real estate market has favored sellers because the number of homes for sale has been low, with good homes often receiving multiple offers within a short time after being listed. And, while multiple offers are great for the sellers, this environment can put buyers in the predicament of trying to figure out how to make their offer more attractive than all the others.

A survey by the California Association of Realtors confirms what you might expect. The highest priced is the most compelling to home sellers, more so than any other factor. It is easy to see why price would be most attractive to sellers, but the good news is there are other factors that can convince a buyer to take a slightly lower price than the highest offer.

One of those factors is how well-qualified a buyer is to borrow the money needed to buy the house. A buyer who is pre-approved has provided their lender with a complete loan application and usually some supporting documents, their credit has been checked, and the lender has run the application through the desktop underwriting system.

Another way to sweeten an offer for a seller is limit or even waive any contingencies.   The most common contingencies buyers place in a purchase contract include the inspection, financing, and appraisal.  

Waiving the inspection contingency can be dangerous, and is not recommended for buyers who are using all of their cash to purchase the home. If the buyer finds something wrong with the house after the offer has been accepted then it's tough luck. The seller has no obligation to negotiate repairs or price, and the buyer has little choice but to proceed with the purchase.

The ability to close the fastest is a factor that buyers will consider in determining who wins a multiple-offer situation but it doesn't carry a whole lot of weight. Cash buyers have some flexibility when it comes to how fast they can close, but buyers who are borrowing money to buy a home are at the mercy of their lender.

The bottom line for home buyers in a multiple offer situation is to make your best offer your first one. Happy house hunting!

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