Writing A Clean Offer
Writing a clean offer is important. The more acceptable your offer is the more likely you will get the home you want. What is a clean offer? It varies according to the property/people-specific circumstances, but here are some general guidelines that you can use to make sure your offer is as acceptable as possible.
Make the terms clear and easily understood. A good standard to use - "would a layman in the jury understand what was written and why?" If you don't understand what was written for you do you think a Seller would understand it? The terms should be simple and appropriate to the transaction. Don't let your Agent put in a lot of clutter clauses to protect himself if he doesn't do his job right, or to appease his corporate superiors with liability minimizers.
Be strong with your loan prep and follow up. Don't work with a lender that nobody has heard of and say that you are having trouble getting a prequalification letter from the Lender. If you are having trouble with a prequal letter what will happen when it comes time to underwrite and fund it? If the loan officer can't get a prequal out in a timely manner what has he missed in his preliminary analysis of the borrower that may ultimately kill the loan process, but should have been identified early? Major red flag to the Sellers and their Agent. Good Lenders are a critical component of the transaction - don't experiment with Lenders.
Every community has customary closing cost split practices. They vary in Northern Nevada, but every region has them. Don't try to slide something by the Seller. If you are at full price and trying to get a small benefit, okay, but if you are lowballing this is injury to insult, and can seal the doom of your offer being accepted.
If you ask for a seller contribution then play the allocation of expenses straight. Don't try to slide something by like asking a Seller to pay for is customarily a Buyers' cost. Is it a hook, or part of the negotiations? Even if hidden in the details it will be picked up by good Agents. This doesn't bode well for what to expect in the rest of the escrow process. Where else will they fudge on something is the usual reaction? The burden of such concern is not ideal in an emotion charged environment like selling the family home and the many details involved, i.e.- packing, moving, turning off utilities, coordinating new home details, cleaning, good byes, etc.
Keep extra conditions to a minimum. There are those that are needed for the protection of one or both parties, i.e.- pest and physical inspections, but some simply serve as weasel clauses and weaken the offer. A weasel clause is real estate lingo for a clause that lets somebody out of a contract without ramifications. Is every clause necessary for the integrity of the transaction and protection of the parties, or are there self-serving exit mechanisms built in? Some such clauses are appropriate, but only in the right circumstance.
Price. If the property is priced right, don't offer 20% below that if you really want the property. We recently received an offer less than 50% of list price on a lot that was priced 10% below the next lowest priced lot in the subdivision. The Buyer ended up paying full price after two weeks of negotiation recognizing that a good deal is a good deal. Even a steal seeking investor recognizes a great deal and pays full price when it is appropriate.
Our Advice: Don't get hung up on principles or rhetoric when buying what you really want. Both can create emotion that can have an adverse effect on your ability to achieve your objective. If you prioritize, assess, evaluate, and make a worthy plan the right thing will happen for you and the Seller.
Your offer is for the benefit of both parties. If it is written so both parties recognize that you will find yourself successful more often than not.
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