5 Strategies that help buyers stand out in a competitive market
by Sara Ifert
on Tuesday, July 14th, 2020 at 4:02pm.
The real estate market continues to be competitive for buyers in Dane County. With low inventory and low interest rates, there are plenty of buyers looking to buy their dream home. Our full time Real Estate Agents have time-tested strategies to help their clients stand out from the competition. Mad City Dream Homes REALTORs Ann Raschein and Maureen Moran share a few of their favorite tips and tricks to get their buyer clients into a new home.
Strategy 1: Personalized Outreach
Sometimes a well-crafted letter to the right potential seller can lead to a perfect real estate match. Maureen and Ann have both used this strategy, either to find a yet-to-be-listed property or to augment an offer.
Maureen: I have had buyers know exactly which condo community they wanted to live in, but there weren't any available listings. When that happens, I help the buyers draft a letter to homeowners in the association, create a mailing list from tax records, and send it off. Sometimes it takes awhile to hear from the residents, but oftentimes there is a seller that has been considering putting their unit on the market. And voila! We’re able to make a match.
Ann: Personalized letters can help seal the deal with an offer. My client was considering a home that the sellers have lived in for 54 years. My client wrote a letter that we submitted with their offer in order to make a personal connection with the sellers. They also wrote a very competitive offer and beat out 12 other offers!
Strategy 2: Look for “hidden gem” properties
It can pay off to be creative when trying to find listings that might be an ideal property for a particular buyer. It can take persistence and time, but these strategies can uncover the perfect property.
Maureen: If I’m not finding the properties that check all the boxes for a buyer, I’ll look for homes that have been on the market for longer periods of time. Sometimes a home is actually pretty nice, but the photos are lackluster - so the property has been ignored. I helped a buyer purchase a hidden gem like this in March. The condo was beautiful, but the pictures weren’t doing it any favors.
Ann: I had been working with a client that needed to sell her home before buying a home in Dane County. She was having a hard time competing against other offers with a home sale contingency. I happened to meet a condo owner that was planning to sell her condo in Sun Prairie to move out of the area. She was concerned how she would accommodate showings with her two dogs, a busy work schedule, and suddenly having to work from home. We had an opportunity to connect this buyer and seller and do a one-party listing. The seller was thrilled that she didn't need to go through the entire listing process and have potential buyers tour her home during a pandemic. The buyer was so excited to find a home that was closer to their work and family, and backs up to a conservancy!
Strategy 3: Present a winning offer
A winning offer requires a lot of planning and clear communication between the buyers and agents. Things like the buyer’s financing and multiple offers can make or break a client's offer.
Maureen: When preparing an offer, we do the homework up front. That way we know if the buyers present an offer above asking price without an appraisal contingency, their financing will still be ok. At a recent closing, the listing agent told me that's how my client’s offer was the winner. My clients didn't have the highest offer, but it didn't include an appraisal contingency which streamlined the process. The condo ended up appraising higher than their contract price anyway, so the buyers were excited.
Ann: Talking to listing agents before an offer is submitted is an important step. We articulate to the seller’s agents that we will help to ensure a smooth transaction.
Strategy 4: Leverage relationships
Maintaining positive working relationships with other agents in the area can help an offer get to the finish line.
Ann: I always call the listing agent before submitting an offer to learn the seller's preferred closing date or anything else that might be important to the seller. We are doing things like giving sellers post-closing occupancy to ease their moving process. This flexibility can help a buyer’s offer stand out from others by making it easier for sellers during a sometimes stressful transition.
Maureen: Recently, I had buyers who were really motivated to buy a property. It had multiple competing offers, so the buyers wanted to include a “right of first refusal” in their offer. I didn’t know how to accommodate that language in an offer, so a fellow RE/MAX associate shared his language for an escalation clause. My buyer clients asked for no upper limit for their "escalator,” and their offer was accepted by the seller since it exceeded the terms in a competing escalating offer.
Strategy 5: Be willing to stay the course
In a seller’s market, it can be tough to find the right property to buy. Staying the course and working with a REALTOR that can help you stand out is important, but so is your mindset!
Maureen: In my opinion, no amount of agent prodding or creative offer writing will get a buyers' offer accepted until the buyers are really ready to go for it. This is an extraordinary sellers' market, and buyers are getting beat out at every step of the way. Sometimes the answer is to pay more or sweeten other terms of the offer. Buyers should work with their agent to become educated on the market so they can put their best foot forward when they find their dream home. There's no stopping buyers who've lost out on a few homes. When they find a place they love and can afford, they go out of their way to make it happen.
Ann: Be patient! Your home is out there. If an offer doesn't get accepted it is likely because your house is still waiting for you.
Are you ready to make your home buying dreams a reality? Contact us and we'll set you up with a consultation with one of our knowledgeable and professional agents on our team. We can help you make sense of the market and work with you to develop a winning strategy for your home search.