Tips on Writing Your Offer So a Seller Listens

There are all types of sellers, all types of buyers and all types of properties. Each scenario is going to be different. But if you are a buyer who has found a nice home you really like, and it is listed by a seller who takes some pride in their property, here are a few things to think about and take into consideration if you want the seller to take you and your offer seriously.

  • It all starts with the first showing of the property. If you want to make a good impression on a seller, show up on time, leave the home the way you found it, and follow any specific showing instructions.
  • If the seller is present, take your lead from the seller. If they are staying in the background, don’t bother them. If they seem like they want to show you their property, allow them to do so. Try not to ask any personal or financial questions and keep the comments positive and brief.
  • Let your agent speak to the seller’s agent to try and determine any special circumstance or motivation of the seller. See if the seller’s agent will disclose to your agent any deal-breakers for the seller in terms of length of escrow, etc. Perhaps you can make them very happy with special terms if they will budge more on price.  How, other than price, can you make things easier on the seller? Think: give and take.

The last thing you want to do to a seller who has a lovely home is insult them or get them upset with you or any offer you write.

  • Sellers are just like you, and need to make a move, and the stress is no fun.  If you can’t meet their price, or it is obvious their price is too high, submit your best or almost best offer in terms of price in hopes of starting a back and forth conversation with them.
  • The offer itself and the manner it is presented should also reflect respect and professionalism to the seller. It should be complete and neat. The buyer’s agent should communicate honestly and courteously with the seller’s agent. The seller doesn’t want to open escrow with someone who may seem “flaky.”
  • If the offer price is low compared to list price, the buyer and their agent should respectfully submit recent sales to validate the price offered.
  • It may help to write a very short letter of introduction to the seller. Discuss this with your agent who may have insight into whether or not it may be a good idea in your particular instance.
  • Be prepared to wait for the seller to get back to you, especially if the price offered may appear low to the seller.  Sometimes sellers take things personally; the last thing you want to do is to get a seller upset so that they just don’t want to work with you or even respond to your offer.

Bottom line is you want to put your best face forward on any offer you present and with any initial dealings with the seller; especially if it is a seller’s market. Often, your initial offer will stick with the seller; they will form an opinion of you as a buyer and may not budge from it even if you sweeten the offer later. First impressions matter! Show them you are serious, you are motivated, willing to work with them and be flexible where you can.

Best of luck!

This Home is Juuust Right

a home just right for youWhen you are ready to go out and buy a home, I am sure you have done your research, asked for advice and perhaps visited open houses so you could make the best buy for you. Well, I did, too. My own father gave me advice many years ago. He advised me to try and buy the most home I could afford. While this advice worked for me, it may not work everyone.

If you stretch your budget to buy a home, this may work great if you don’t have a lot of other obligations and/or are planning to stay in the home for many years. Seven to ten years after you stretch your budget, sacrifice and purchase that home, you may be well ahead of the game here in Orange County. For instance, if you purchased just about anything back in 2009-2011, you have probably realized at least $100,000 and more in equity gain. Even since last year, values have gone up anywhere from 2%-7% depending on the area where you bought. However, if you purchased in 2005 -2007, you may just be breaking even right now or perhaps slightly under depending on where you live in the County. Another 4-5 years from now, though, the value of your home will most likely be more than what you paid back then.

couple making an offerThe longer you plan to stay in a home, the less you need to try and time the market. In many instances, I think this practice of timing the market can be self-defeating. I may blog about that at some other time, but as a quick example, in 2010, I had a client who wanted to buy an investment home, had ample funds to do so, but was scared that he was overpaying and was listening to those who said the market was poised to go down again. So he did not buy. He basically threw away about $100,000 in equity he would have realized in the next 2-3 years. But the decision as ultimately his.

Keep in mind it is not just your principal and interest payments you will be paying monthly, it will be taxes, insurance, HOA payments, etc. Either you or your lender needs to factor these in to your monthly payment so you have as few surprises as possible once you close escrow.

So do what you have to do to help you make good home-buying choices, close escrow on the home that is just right for you and enjoy!

Should I Buy a Condo or a House?

Should I Buy a Condo?You know you need to make a home purchase, but you are unsure of a house or a condo. There are compelling reasons to buy for both as well as detracting factors. Give them all some thought beforehand.

Condo living can be more carefree since much of the maintenance is taken care of by the governing homeowner’s association. If you don’t want to take care of a yard but still want some gardening space, you can usually find that with a condo. Condos come in all sizes, so whether you are a single or a small family, you should be able to find something. You will usually pay less for a condo, too, so if you are on a budget, a condo will seem very attractive. If you outgrow your condo, it would be fairly easy to keep the condo and lease it out, turning it into a great investment property. On the downside, since these are multi-family homes, your neighbors are in closer proximity to you, so noise and odors that you may find objectionable will be hard to escape. The Homeowner’s Association may have rules that might not fit your lifestyle or that you find too restrictive. And storage space can be tight.

huntington beach condoSingle family homes usually have much more space in general. You are usually freer to customize your home if you desire. You may find more privacy with a single family home. Lower or fewer association fees and rules are attached to your property. When going to purchase, you usually have more choices with single family homes. However, usually all the maintenance is up to you, the homeowner. It may be harder to keep as an investment if you need to move.

So consider your budget, how you live and where you want to live if yo are lucky enough to be able to choose between house or condo. And call me so I can help you with the process!

Buyers Are Taking Their Time Shopping

Buyers can now afford to take more time shopping for a home here in Orange County. Naturally there are some exceptions, but for the most part, due to the increased inventory and a more balanced real estate market, buyers can afford to slow down and shop.

There is a pretty good mix of home types currently on the market: from a beautifully remodeled turnkey view home in Laguna Niguel to a fixer in a transitional neighborhood and everything in between. I have noticed there are more and more of these “in between” types coming on the market from Fountain Valley to Mission Viejo. Many in decent shape with some updates or with key features buyers are looking for. It is important that these types of “in between” sellers price their home in line with fair market value and not think they can get the same price the more updated property around the corner got just a short time ago. Buyers are definitely taking their time to get the most for their money and know what they want and what its value is. A savvy seller should know this, too, if they want to sell for best price in a reasonable amount of time.