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Making an Offer That Gets You in the Door and Won't Leave You Out on the Street When Negotiating

Once you find a property that conforms to your criteria, and is within your acceptable price range, you will need to make an offer to the seller, or have one presented for you by your chosen agent or attorney. Your offer will need to be comprehensive and must include your expected parameters for the sale, and the terms that are in your favor. Each locale tends to have its own unique set of rules and must haves, be sure that you supply all of the possible information and forms that a seller will need to consider your offer.

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The amount you offer must be realistic and relative to the comparative values in the neighborhood you have chosen to invest in. Knowing what local availability is relative to the demand for similar properties, any extenuating circumstances if they exist and what terms the seller wants, will help you to prepare your offer to buy. The initial offer is very important. If you are not properly presented you may be perceived as unrealistic, un-prepared to commit, or just a time waster. These are all things that sellers try to steer clear of.

Once an offer has been tendered, make certain the lines of communication between all parties concerned remain open and unfettered. If the seller wants to counter your offer, you will need to be able to review it quickly and reply with your answer, and thus remain in the running amongst what may be many other prospective buyers.

Make certain your offer contains contingencies that allow for the time needed to inspect the premises thoroughly and to secure the final loan terms and commitments needed to purchase this specific piece of realty. Do not rush this process and skip the inspections or fail to get a loan approval. If rushed to commit, think twice, and consider why the rush may be on.

Good Investing Is Not Only About a Good Sticker Price

Points to Be Considered Are:

  1. The cost of buying is not cheap, and the price of the property is only one of the costs. Legal and escrow fees, commissions, inspections and taxes must all be discussed and agreed upon as to who will assume each responsibility. All of these points must be a part of the negotiation.

  2. What you are able to put into escrow for deposit and raise towards the down payment are serious mitigating factors. What you place into escrow shows your level of intent as a buyer, and the size of the down payment affects all of your future payments throughout the life of the loan.
  3. Unless you plan on skipping the mortgage process all together and pay cash, a mortgage contingency clause is another must have for buyers to be fully protected while engaging in the purchase process. If for any reason the financing falls through, or is not available on the terms you desire, you will need to have an escape clause to rely on for assurance. If you do not have an escape clause written into the agreement, whether you get the proper financing or not, you can be held liable to purchase the property. In addition, avoid open-ended statements in any agreement you enter into. Be specific about the terms you need to get, and the interest rates and points that need to apply. If these very specific criteria are not met, you can ‘escape’ unscathed and continue your search for a better deal.

  4. Knowing what does and does not come with the property purchased, must also be discussed and written into any agreement. Some sellers want to sell their house and all its major contents; others will be offering only the property itself. Any appliances, furniture or fixtures that are to be included, need to be listed before signing.

  5. Once an agreement is met and signed by both parties, they should both avoid any breaches of contract. You, as the buyer, can lose your hard earned deposit money if you fail to comply, and a seller who reneges or tries to back away form a commitment, can be forced to sell under the laws of specific performance. These kinds of disputes can be arbitrated, litigated or mediated depending on what the original commitment agreement states.

  6. If the laws of supply and demand are not in your favor, and you wish to have the best chance at winning a bidding war, being prepared and organized can make the difference between a property being sold to you or to another bidder. It is important to get pre-approved and have a document that validates that fact. Offer as large of a down payment as you can muster, and prove that the funds are available and liquid. If the home you currently own is in escrow, be prepared to provide that documentation as well.

  7. Do not make or accept verbal offers, write it all down accurately and concisely. Unless they are in writing, the agreements are not binding. Purchase offers are different and specific to each state or locale. Make certain that if you are not using an accepted form, or your agent is not handling this part of the process, that all points discussed during negotiations are clearly mentioned in the final agreement.

This purchase agreement, if accepted, will later be used as the binding agreement for the sale. Double-check and make certain that the following, if pertinient to your deal, are all included in the document.

  • The complete and legal address of the property in question.

  • A thorough description of the property and contents included in the sale.

  • What the final cost of the property will be.

  • The seller’s agreement to establish a clear and unencumbered title for the property.

  • A date for the closing meeting to seal the deal.

  • What the down payment is and how it is to be paid and when, and what happens to this money if the offer is either rejected by the seller or you default on your obligations without good reason.

  • How will the taxes and other bills incurred during the sale will be assigned and pro-rated.

  • The costs of all inspections, title searches and surveys must all also be listed and assigned to either you or the seller.

  • What kind of deed will you receive should be noted.

  • You may possibly want to reserve the right to a last minute review of the agreement, the premises or the inspections. For example, if an environmental inspection is not in your favor you need to know that you are able to step back from the deal, recoup your deposit and be free of the commitment to purchase.

  • Time limits must be set for both parties to comply with all agreements.

  • Be certain that all contingencies are covered. If you do not get the specific financing and terms you need, or if any of the inspections are found to be unsatisfactory, again, you will want the option of backing away form the purchase unscathed.

Note: Backing out of an offer can be tricky. Once it has been accepted, if you see a need to rescind the offer you made, consult a legal expert. You want to be sure you will not be in such a serious breach of the contract that you lose your deposit, or end up in litigation with the seller over perceived damages

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