The Ultimate Home Seller Guide
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The Ultimate Home Seller Guide

✍ BY MIKE URBAN  / PUBLISHED ONFeb 2, 2021

Prepping For The Market

Pre Under-Written Approval 

The lender/broker has already verified your credit/assets/debts to income. Get all your documents there. Also, make sure it’s a reputable lender/bank/broker for your area. I can’t stress this enough. Us realtors doing 70+ deals a year have worked with every lender under the sun. If the lender is a red flag, you will have a severe disadvantage.

Research Who To Hire -

There's a small portion of Realtors & Loan officers doing most of the deals in the area. In a competitive market, get someone with experience. If you think you're going to piss off a friend/family member with a license here's some advice. I've personally partnered with new agents that were a friend/family member of a client and they learned a ton about the process and I mentored them through the deal. This way, we both had communication with the client.

Analyze Your Competition 

Have your Realtor call the last pended home you love. They ask two questions - how many offers the LA received / how far % over ask are similar homes selling for. This will let you know two huge factors. How many buyers you MIGHT encounter on the next house, and how far over ask people are paying.

List Price Does NOT = “Market Value” 

This might be the number one take away from this thread. Too many buyers right now are looking at the top of their budget when many homes are priced slightly below market value. Yes, you’re getting outbid because your 20k over ask offer might be market value for the home. That’s why you see 50-70k above ask. Look 5-6% below your top of the budget and start there.

Choosing A Loan

FHA / VA  

Even though these are different, for the sake of reading a lot of what I'm going to say is going to apply here. FHA is the default for a lot of first-time buyers VA for veteran first-time buyers. The issue with these types of loans, arent the loans themselves and the repairs. It's if they are being presented in a market, to an agent that does no FHA/VA they will have issues explaining it to the seller. The more uncertainty you introduce into a deal the harder it is to get accepted.

For VA Loans - Do this 

Put money DOWN and get it back as a credit if the amount satisfies the closing costs. Yes, people use VA as a 0% down loan, you can still do that - but you can still put a lump sum into escrow, and it will be used toward closing costs. Any excess will be credited back to you at closing.

FHA + VA Repairs

Address this on the offer to eliminate issues. Include paying up to $15,000 toward repairs on the home (if any). This will quell any issues with the agent telling the seller about repairs.

Conventional Loans

This is the #1 loan type we see in Boston. A lot of people putting 5% into escrow and 20% down (you don't have to do this, but this is how you make it desirable). This is your default starting point to writing a good offer without the humps of FHA/VA.

Rehab/203k

If everything on the market is selling instantly, consider talking to your Loan Officer about rehab loan options. I've done so many of these in the past and they are always so awesome to see come together. If your budget is 700k, you're getting outbid, consider looking at 500k houses of similar size. Then use 200k as renovation repairs. Pro Tip - Don't make the mistake of looking at 'contractor specials' and think you will get these. They are underpriced and a good opportunity for an investor, you will get outbid. Think of homes that need work but are somewhat livable condition. This will option up more options for you.

The Offer

  1. Escrow - Make sure you're putting a competitive amount down into escrow. If you're a two-step state like us here in Boston, MA - make sure the 2nd deposit is at least 5% of the sale price. but the higher the better. In my career and hundreds of transactions, I've seen 2 people lose their deposits. One was the fault of the buyer's agent on my listing, the 2nd was my buyer that just didn't want the house 2 days prior to closing. (just be careful)
  2. How To Waive Inspections SAFELY - Have your Realtor use their preferred Inspector to perform pre-offer inspections. In short, spend an hour + with the inspector. No report, just going over everything and take notes. If there’s something catastrophic - move on. If not, waive the inspections on your offer and proceed.
  3. Buyer Knowledge Only Inspection - This means you want to do inspections, and if you're satisfied with them you will proceed and not ask for any repairs. Literally, write on the top of the page of the inspection "Inspections for buyer knowledge only." This is done in 'lighter' markets like ours in Scranton, PA. Not all deals are getting pre-offer inspections because there aren't 50+ offers.
  4. Use & Occupancy For Seller TOP Strategy - The best thing about this is that sellers don’t see it coming. Imagine as a seller, closing on your home and stay in your own home, stress-free with money in the bank for 7-10 days, and leisurely move-out. This is what use and occupancy means. Cash is tight for some sellers. Repairs/moving expenses etc. this allows them to occupy the home for a few days/week after closing. It takes a lot of moving everything out the night before closing out of the picture. The other thing this does is it shows compassion for the seller, and you end up having some level of pre-negotiation because it’s something the agent will remember. The key is to stick out and be different.
  5. Escalation Clause - This works in some states and not others. Here in Boston, we rarely see this but our team in Scranton does. This basically means you're willing to beat any offer by X amount of dollars UP TO a certain amount. This could save you a couple of bucks if they are used in your market. A rough example is as follows: 500k offer escalation up to 520k beat any competing offer by 5k. If a similar offer comes in at 510k, you will automatically beat that offer by 5k. So your offer would be 515k. SIDE NOTE: This does not mean you will get the house. If the other offer has better terms, 5k might not do it to beat the terms.
  6. Got Cash? ** Danger Zone ⚠️ ** - Offer to pay X amount over the appraised value, or if you’re really crazy waive the contingency altogether. This is if you have a lot in the bank and the house has some sort of ultimate value to YOU. Next to parents / in-laws / friends / work. Or totally unique one of a kind. Only do this if you plan on dying in that house

Bonus

Tips For The Realtor
  • Write a compelling subject line in the email The BEST offer for 123 Main St
  • Attach a cover page to the offer with easily identifiable terms.
  • Combine ENTIRE offer into ONE PDF and Name the PDF AmazingOffer_123MainSt
Tips For The Loan Officer
  • Call the listing agent and talk up your buyer.
  • Reassure that your buyer is good to go and is excited to do a deal
  • Mention you will do your best to close early

Conclusion

—- Remember guys, real estate is a relationship based business. People want to do deals with people they like and deals with people that make it easy and the MOST accommodating. Offer things the seller might not see on the other offer. As for getting outbid, I know it sucks, but don't focus on what has happened, focus on what you get to do. A lot of people out there don't even have the opportunity to own their own home. Think of each offer as a privilege you have the opportunity to do.

In closing, I know this will not apply in every market and some suggestions may seem downright crazy. I work in two markets, Boston, MA and Scranton, PA — two totally separate markets but a lot of these we apply daily. But if this post helps 1 person find their dream home that will make my day so let me know and reach out! Till the next one. 👋

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✍ BY MIKE URBAN  / PUBLISHED ONFeb 2, 2021