6 Tips for Choosing the Best Offer for Your Home

6 Tips for Choosing the Best Offer for Your Home

  • By: G. M. Filisko

    Have a plan for reviewing purchase offers so you don’t let the best slip through your fingers.

    You’ve worked hard to get your home ready for sale and to price it properly. With any luck, offers will come quickly. You’ll need to review each carefully to determine its strengths and drawbacks and pick one to accept. Here’s a plan for evaluating offers.

    1. Understand the process.

    All offers are negotiable, as your agent will tell you. When you receive an offer, you can accept it, reject it, or respond by asking that terms be modified, which is called making a counteroffer.

    2. Set baselines.

    Decide in advance what terms are most important to you. For instance, if price is most important, you may need to be flexible on your closing date. Or if you want certainty that the transaction won’t fall apart because the buyer can’t get a mortgage, require a prequalified or cash buyer.

    3. Create an offer review process.

    If you think your home will receive multiple offers, work with your agent to establish a time frame during which buyers must submit offers. That gives your agent time to market your home to as many potential buyers as possible, and you time to review all the offers you receive.

    4. Don’t take offers personally.

    Selling your home can be emotional. But it’s simply a business transaction, and you should treat it that way. If your agent tells you a buyer complained that your kitchen is horribly outdated, justifying a lowball offer, don’t be offended. Consider it a sign the buyer is interested and understand that those comments are a negotiating tactic. Negotiate in kind.

    5. Review every term.

    Carefully evaluate all the terms of each offer. Price is important, but so are other terms. Is the buyer asking for property or fixtures — such as appliances, furniture, or window treatments — to be included in the sale that you plan to take with you?

    Is the amount of earnest money the buyer proposes to deposit toward the downpayment sufficient? The lower the earnest money, the less painful it will be for the buyer to forfeit those funds by walking away from the purchase if problems arise.

    Have the buyers attach a prequalification or pre-approval letter, which means they’ve already been approved for financing? Or does the offer include a financing or other contingency? If so, the buyers can walk away from the deal if they can’t get a mortgage, and they’ll take their earnest money back, too. Are you comfortable with that uncertainty?

    Is the buyer asking you to make concessions, like covering some closing costs? Are you willing, and can you afford to do that? Does the buyer’s proposed closing date mesh with your timeline?

    With each factor, ask yourself: Is this a deal breaker, or can I compromise to achieve my ultimate goal of closing the sale?

    6. Be creative.

    If you’ve received an unacceptable offer through your agent, ask questions to determine what’s most important to the buyer and see if you can meet that need. You may learn the buyer has to move quickly. That may allow you to stand firm on price but offer to close quickly. The key to successfully negotiating the sale is to remain flexible.

    G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer who has survived several closings. A frequent contributor to many national publications including Bankrate.com, REALTOR® Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics.

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Copyright 2017 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

Find the Best Agent to Sell Your House

Find the Best Agent to Sell Your House

  • Find the Best Agent to Sell Your House

    By: G. M. Filisko

    Published: March 11, 2010

    Ask detailed questions about their experience and skills to help you find the right agent for your home sale.

    Working with the right real estate agent can mean the difference between getting prompt, expert representation and feeling like you’re going it alone when selling your home. Here are 10 questions to ask when you’re interviewing agents.

    1. How long have you been selling homes?

    Mastering real estate requires on-the-job experience. The more experience agents have, the more likely they’ll be able to handle any curveballs thrown during your home sale.

    2. What designations do you hold?

    Designations like GRI (Graduate REALTOR® Institute) and CRS® (Certified Residential Specialist), which require that agents complete additional real estate training, show they’re constantly learning. Ask if agents have designations and, if not, why not?

    3. How many homes did you sell last year?

    Agents may tout their company’s success. An equally important question is how many homes they’ve personally sold in the past year; it’s an indicator of how active and aggressive they are.

    4. How many days on average did it take you to sell homes?

    Ask agents to show you this data along with stats from their local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) so you can see how many days, on average, their listings were on the market compared to the average for all properties in the MLS.

    5. How close were the asking and sales prices of the homes you sold?

    Sometimes sellers choose their agent because the agent’s suggested listing price is higher than those suggested by other agents. A better factor is the difference between listing prices and the amount homes actually sold for. That can help you judge agents’ skill at accurately pricing homes and marketing to the right buyers. It can also help you weed out agents trying to dazzle you with a lofty sales price just to get your listing.

    6. How will you market my home?

    The days of agents putting a For Sale sign in the yard and hoping for the best are long gone. Look for an agent who does aggressive and innovative marketing, especially on the Internet.

    7. Will you represent me exclusively?

    In most states, agents can represent the seller, the buyer, or both in a home sale. If your agent will also represent buyers, understand and consent to that dual representation.

    8. How will you keep me informed?

    If you want weekly updates by email, don’t choose an agent who plans to contact you only if there’s an offer.

    9. Can you provide references?

    Ask to talk to the last three customers the agent assisted. Call and ask if they’d work with the agent again and if the agent did anything that didn’t sit well with them.

    10. Are you a REALTOR®?

    Ask whether agents are REALTORS®, which means they’re members of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (NAR). NAR has been an advocate of agent professionalism and a champion of homeownership rights for more than a century.

    G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer who’s worked with many real estate agents in the past 20 years. A frequent contributor to many national publications including Bankrate.com, REALTOR® Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics.

Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.

Copyright 2017 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

“Sticky Notes” Why I Hired a Realtor®

“Sticky Notes” Why I Hired a Realtor®

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