Here is a really important question: What do sellers want in today’s housing market?
Low inventory and low interest rates mean there aren’t a lot of homes for sale, but there are lots of buyers looking to make a move. Sellers are receiving multiple offers above list price, but what do sellers want beyond escalated sales dollars?
1. High earnest money deposits and large down payments
The earnest money deposit shows the seller you’re serious about purchasing. This money is sent to the title company as part of the offer and held in an escrow account before closing. It’s also known as a “good faith deposit” and protects the seller if you back out of the contract. Typically, it’s about 1-3% of the sales price, but if you want to win a contract these days, consider offering more, even as much as 10-15%.
A large down payment also shows the seller you’re serious and have the funds to back up your offer. Sellers worry about buyers’ financing falling through, and these two strategies can help ease their minds.
2. A “clean contract”
This means no contingencies — home inspection, appraisal and finance contingencies all waived. Sellers don’t want to have to negotiate for repairs from a home inspection report and deal with the hassle of having minor problems repaired. Consider waiving the home inspection and purchasing a home warranty to cover the cost of repairs that may arise once you own the home.
Additionally, waiving the appraisal means you’re willing to bring additional funds to the closing table if an appraiser deems the home is worth less than your offer amount. You can shift dollars from your down payment to cover this gap.
Lastly, waiving the financing contingency means you’re confident in your ability to obtain a loan. If you feel secure in your job/financial situation, this may be a good option, but please talk to your lender first.
And don’t forget: Listing agents and sellers do not want to see any mistakes on the sales contract. Be sure your agent is detail-oriented and, of course, read the contract yourself before signing!
3. A quick close
Sellers want their money and to move on! Most transactions can close in as little as 30 to 45 days depending on title work and lender procedures. Check with your lender about pre-underwriting your loan to close quicker — this can be a huge plus!
Lynn Cooper is a licensed REALTOR in Virginia with McEnearney Associates in McLean. Whether buying or selling, Lynn is 100% committed to her clients before, during, and after the transaction. Connect with Lynn at 202-489-7894, [email protected] or @lynncooperrealestate.