Bidding Wars: Top 5 Ways to Deliver a Winning Offer on Your Dream Home

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You finally found the home of your dreams. Trouble is, you’re probably not the only one vying for that property. Low inventory + appealing mortgage rates = a sizzling hot market. If you want your offer to rise to the top, you’re going to have to bring your A-game. Here’s how:

1. Get Pre-Approved

Now. (Seriously!) A mortgage pre-approval means you know how much home you can afford and allows you to make an immediate offer when you find “the one.”

“It shows the homeowner that you’re serious, which is what they are looking for,” says Amy Jurek, a real estate professional with RE/MAX Advantage Plus in Minneapolis/St. Paul.

2. Don’t Lowball

Don’t be “that guy” who wants to make a deal. “In a bidding situation, you will likely only have one chance to get it right, so make your first offer the very best offer that can work within your budget,” Jurek advises.

3. Flaunt Your Stuff

Adding a cover letter—or “love letter”—to your bid can allow the buyers to picture you (and only you!) in their cherished home. Tell the seller what you love about their home, whether it’s the kitchen where you’ll be entertaining or the amazing garden you will carefully tend. “The seller wants the home to go to someone who will love it as much as they do, so help them picture you making your own happy memories there,” says David Feldberg, broker/owner of Coastal Real Estate Group in Newport Beach, Calif.

Feldberg suggest you even take it a (selfie) step further. “Include a photo of yourself and your family—pets, too.”

4. Have Your People Call Their People

Sound old-fashioned? Here’s why it works. Talking with the listing agent will allow your agent to get the real scoop on the property, most notably if there are other offers and if they’re above asking price, says Realtor Victor Quiroz, sales manager for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties in Covina, California.

The more your agent knows, the better insight he or she can give you into writing a winning bid. “It’s easy to forget our smartphones have the ability to make calls too, but a call provides immediacy that texting or emailing lack,” he says. That’s key so you can get that offer in, stat.

It also helps to work with a local agent who has strong connections to the area where you are buying. An out-of-area agent won’t have the relationships you need in a multiple officer situation.

5. Make It Easy to Choose You

If the seller has multiple offers, they’ll likely dismiss one that’s not complete, says Feldberg. They want a quick, easy sale; so double-check that your offer includes loan approval, proof of funds, that love letter, and any other documentation that will show the seller you are willing and able to buy the home. Finally, offer to work within the seller’s time frame, whether that means being willing to work around a quick closing, or offering flexibility to accommodate a seller’s desired move-out day, suggests Jurek.

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