When the housing market booms and turns to the favour of sellers, trying to buy a home can be challenging and highly competitive, especially in areas of high demand where any offer you make might be one of a dozen the seller receives. How can you make sure that it’s your offer they accept?
Make your offer clean
The best thing you can do to ensure your offer is accepted is to make it as clean and string-free as possible. There are two ways to do this. First, make sure that your ability to complete the purchase is not dependent on the sale of your current home. Sellers want to avoid getting stuck in a chain wherever possible so are reluctant to accept offers which might take a long time to come to fruition.
Second, try and get your finances in order before you place your offer. If your offer is dependent on a mortgage, for example, which you have yet to fully secure, the seller might be reluctant to accept, especially if there are other offers on the table.
If you are able to make a cash offer, you will stand head and shoulders above anyone making a mortgage-dependent offer. Sellers are always attracted to ease and efficiency and a cash purchase fulfills both of these wishes.
While very few of us are in a position to make a cash offer, it’s worth considering if you can get yourself into such a position. For example, if you already own a home, if someone offers you cash for it, it could be worth selling it even before you’ve found a new home you love because, once you do find that dream home, you will be in a position to offer cash and jump to the top of the seller’s list.
Bond with the seller
Don’t be creepy, don’t be a nuisance, but do make some effort to bond with the seller on a personal level. People often feel very protective and proud of homes they have lived in for years, and they want to know that the new owner is going to take care of it in the same way.
You can make it clear that you are the sort of new owner they’re looking for by writing them a polite and friendly letter in which you talk about your love for the property and how much you hope to make a future for yourself within those four walls. Tell them exactly what it is you love about their home – the light, the character, the warmth, etc – because the chances are that the things you love about it are things they love, too, and have worked hard to cultivate.
This approach might seem over-friendly or unnecessary, but sellers will value the effort you are going to and if you can establish a friendly relationship, trust will grow.
Go in high
It’s almost too obvious to mention, but if you go in with an offer above the asking price, the chances of it being accepted rise significantly.
You don’t have to go crazy and offer £10,000 over the asking price. Something as low as one or two grand over the asking price should do the trick. It’s all about making the seller feel like they’re getting a good deal and that you are a serious buyer, not a time-waster.
When you’re buying a £200,000 home, an extra two grand on top isn’t usually a big deal, but for the seller it can be a real psychological boost, increasing the chances that they accept your offer than someone else’s. It’s like shops pricing items at 99p instead of £1. Financially, the difference is negligible, but psychologically, shoppers think they’re getting a much better deal.
How did you make sure your offer was accepted? We’d love to hear your experience, especially if it can help our readers. Let us know in the comments section below. And do the same if you have an offer-related question for our property expert, Russell Quirk.