The Time to Get the Best Deal When Buying a House

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The time to get the best deal when buying a house is - drumroll please - NOW! And by now, I mean the late Fall market into the holidays. If you’re scratching your head and wondering why this is true, here are the three primary reasons that sellers are extra motivated to sell at this time of the year:

  1. The real estate market virtually goes on hiatus for three months. In early-mid November when Thanksgiving comes onto the horizon, buyers tend to get into holiday mode - not only for Turkey Day but also for Hanukkah, Christmas and the start of the New Year. And then once the New Year has begun, it takes a bit for buyers to focus on real estate again especially if the weather is cold, snowy, icy and yucky. This translates to a very slow market for most of November, December, most or all of January and sometimes even into February*. There is no other time in the year when the real estate market activity slows for this amount of time. And for those who are anxious to sell and can’t afford to wait at least another three months to potentially do so, they will accept the price that allows them to move on and sell now. 

  2. Many sellers don’t want to carry their homes through the winter. They don’t want to deal with some of the damaging and costly issues that can come up during the winter months, i.e. pipes freezing, ice dams, heating problems, shoveling/plowing snow time and time again, etc. I have found that this can be especially true if the sellers are elderly as home care-taking in the winter can be quite taxing for them. I also see this with sellers who no longer live in the house and can’t monitor the housing issues/situations that tend to arise in the winter months. Therefore these sellers are especially motivated to get the deal done before the harsh weather comes and potential ensuing issues emerge.

  3. Sellers know that they will be competing with fresh, new-to-the-market inventory in the Spring. During the Fall market, the sellers’ homes have accrued days on the market (DOM) - often significant DOM. In addition, their homes have been on the market and haven’t sold which often leads buyers to wonder what’s wrong with the properties. So not only are these sellers stuck with homes that have a prolonged market time** but also that need an explanation for why they haven’t sold. The bottom line is that these properties often have a hard time competing with the fresh, new-to-the market inventory in the Spring. And knowing this can make sellers more motivated to accept offers that allow them to sell now instead of waiting to do so in the Spring market.

There are two caveats to getting a deal at the end of the Fall market. First, not all sellers are motivated to sell their homes despite the reality of the three issues outlined above. And if you end up negotiating with one of these un-motivated sellers, you probably won’t end up with a great deal. Second, the downside to buying at this time is that the inventory is sparse. And so you may be able to get a great price on a house, but you might have problems finding a property that fits your needs and desires.

Have you ever found yourself in this situation - looking for a deal on a house at the end of the Fall market? Were you able to find it? If not, what prevented you from getting a great deal? I can’t wait to hear….

For more information on this or about the real estate market in Weston, Wellesley, Wayland and the surrounding towns or if you are considering selling your home, please contact me, Lisa Curlett (www.lisacurlett.com, 781-267-2844 or lisa.curlett@compass.com), to answer any questions or for a complimentary home appraisal.

* The start of the Spring market varies depending on the town or city in which you live.

** Although there are tricks to making market time less apparent, there is no way to erase it.

Is There Such a Thing as a Dream House?

I ponder this question all the time….  And I can tell you from my experience as a real estate professional, whether a house is priced at $500,000 or $5,000,000, buyers seldom view a house as their “dream house.”  A testament to this is a newly-constructed home that sold in Weston, MA a few years ago for more than $6 million.   At this price, you would think that the house would have been perfect – a real dream house.  But the week after it sold, there were a multitude of contractors’ trucks parked on the street. They were doing work on the house, and they were there for months.  Wow…..

I share this story with my clients because I think it is important information for them to have. The truth is, for the most part, a home is not going to satisfy everything you want in a house – no matter what the price point.  For example, the street may be busier than you like, the house may need more updating than you want or can afford to do, and/or there may not be a garage.  So it’s really about prioritizing and potentially compromising.  It’s about understanding what you can and can’t live with.  And also realizing that if you are waiting for your perfect, dream house, you could be waiting a long, long time.

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I know that sounds a little negative – especially from someone who aspires to sell clients their perfect, dream houses over and over again.  But I have a different perspective when I think of my own life.  In the early 1990s, my father bought a Sea Captain’s house built in the early 1800s in Nantucket.  This was the house of my dreams – and still is, in fact.  It was filled with charm and personality (a fireplace in every room on the first two floors), it had six well-sized bedrooms and could comfortably sleep 13 people. It was located a stone’s throw from the center of town, and it had a private, gorgeous backyard which is almost impossible to find in the heart of Nantucket town.  We all loved the house and shared so many happy times there – countless birthday celebrations, wedding events, Thanksgiving dinners, family croquet tournaments.  We filled the house with such joyful memories.  Did it matter that the bathrooms were not updated, that the laundry room was in the basement or that the garage was detached?  Not a bit.  We looked past those imperfections because the home held a special place in each of our hearts – we truly loved the house.  It was our dream home!  So when I think of this, then my answer is YES; of course there is such thing as a dream house.  It really just comes down to your state of mind…looking past some of the home’s features that perhaps may not be ideal and focusing on the broader picture – the memories and joyous times that the house provides for you when sharing life with family and friends.

And so ultimately what I’ve decided is that yes, there is such thing as a dream house. But is it perfect in every way?  Not at all…which is completely okay and to be expected!  With all of this said, I wanted to share with you a few pictures of my dream house*, 6 Darling Street, Nantucket, MA lovingly owned by the Jack Curlett family from 1991 – 2011…..  Cheers!

For more information on this or about the real estate market in Weston, Wellesley, Wayland and the surrounding towns or if you are considering selling your home, please contact me, Lisa Curlett (www.lisacurlett.com, 781-267-2844 or lisa.curlett@compass.com), to answer any questions or for a complimentary home appraisal.

* P.S. These photos don’t do my dream house justice….😉

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The Top 5 Tell Tale Signs that You Are a Home Buyer

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As many of you know, the home-buying process can be fun, exciting and ultimately quite rewarding, but it can also be time-consuming, intense and stressful too, especially if you are under a deadline to purchase a home. During my years in the business, my buyer clients have shared their behaviors and experiences with the process, and from their feedback, I’ve come up with the top 5 tell tale signs that you are a true, bonafide home buyer who is 100% committed to purchasing your next home:

  • 1. You find yourself spending hours upon hours and significantly more time on MLSRealtor.comTrulia and Zillow searching for information on properties for sale than on GoogleCNN.comTwitterand Facebook searching for information on breaking news, financial results, consumer trends and personal updates.

  • 2. You schedule all of your free time to see houses. This means the hours before work, during lunch and after work, not to mention weekends when you now plan your Sundays around open house times instead of around the PatriotsBruinsCeltics  or Red Sox games.

  • 3. You take calls from your Realtor before those from your significant other, boss, children or anyone else for that matter.

  • 4. You spend double the money on gasoline given all of the drive-by viewings of the properties, neighborhoods, schools and more – at a variety of times during the day.

  • 5. You wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat after a terrible nightmare in which a multiple offer situation went awry and you lost your dream home.

The good news about all of this is that the often stressful and intense home-buying process is usually short-term and the net gain is that you end up with a home that you love. In other words, a little pain for a lot of gain….

What are your thoughts on this subject, and can you relate? When you were a home buyer and trying to find the right home, did you experience some of these tell tale signs? And were there other, relevant tell tale signs that you experienced as a home buyer? I can’t wait to hear….

For more information on this or about the real estate market in Weston, Wellesley, Wayland and the surrounding towns or if you are considering selling your home, please contact me, Lisa Curlett (www.lisacurlett.com, 781-267-2844 or lisa.curlett@compass.com), to answer any questions or for a complimentary home appraisal.

The Post Offer Timeline for Buyers

The other night, I was going over the process from offer to closing with one of my buyer clients in terms of the standard dates and typical timeline, and as I was doing so, I realized that I hadn’t put this pertinent information in a document and go-to place for easy access.  Although we as Realtors know the standard timeline by heart, this can often be a new process for buyers – one that they might not have gone through in years.  And so I hope that putting all of this in writing will help my buyer clients as well as other buyers in need.

As you may know, when you put in an offer on a property, you commit to a variety of dates to get you from the accepted offer to the closing.  Here is a standard timeline and the events to which they are attached:

  • Inspection contingency (including pest and radon inspections) –  7-10 days from accepted offer. This part of the process actually has two dates.  The first is the date within which you as the buyer must have the inspection, and this is usually within 7 days of the accepted offer.  The second is the date within which you need to come back to the seller with any inspection issues to be addressed, and this is usually within 10 days of the accepted offer.  So let’s say, the seller has just accepted your offer today on Friday, May 12.   This means that you would have the inspection by Friday, May 19 and get back to the seller with any issues by Monday, May 22.  And more times than not, this will result in a back and forth – a.k.a. another negotiation – between you and the seller concerning the inspection issues.

  • On another note, during the days from the accepted offer through the inspection contingency, you also need to do two other things.  First, you need to talk to a few mortgage brokers about getting the best rate possible.  The mortgage commitment date is coming soon (see below), and so you need to start working on securing your options for getting a loan. Second, you need to hire an attorney.  Then once the inspection issues are resolved, your attorney and the seller’s attorney will work together to develop the Purchase and Sale Agreement (P&S), which is our next date/event.

  • Purchase & Sale Agreement – usually 2 weeks from accepted offer. So using our example above, the P&S would be signed on Friday, May 26.  This is also when you would put down the remaining 5% of the deposit (a deposit of $1,000 was put down at the time of the offer).  And once the P&S has been signed, you would formally apply for a mortgage if you haven’t done so already thus fulfilling the mortgage application date, which is part of the mortgage contingency. 

  • Mortgage contingency/commitment – usually 3-4 weeks after the signing of the P&S (or 5-6 weeks from accepted offer). Most buyers want the date of the mortgage contingency/commitment to be four weeks after the signing of the P&S (or Friday, June 23 in this example) to have more time to make sure all of the mortgage paperwork is complete.  And most sellers want the date to be three weeks after the signing of the P&S (or Friday, June 16) because it lessens the time that their house has been red flagged with an accepted offer and basically not shown by the brokerage community, which is generally what happens.  So if the deal falls through because you can’t get a mortgage, the seller has only lost five weeks of active market time instead of six.

  • Closing – usually 60 days from accepted offer. And so the closing in this case would be Wednesday, July 12 (or thereabouts).  The theory behind this is that you can lock in a mortgage rate in 60 days, and it generally provides adequate time for the lender to provide the loan to the buyer and the seller to vacate the property.

I think that’s about it from a timeline perspective.  I hope this information helps, but keep in mind that the time frame from an accepted offer to closing can vary immensely based on the particular circumstances of the buyer and the seller.  Closings can happen within 30 days and can also take four to six months.  I’m hoping that laying out the typical timeline will give you a guideline from which to start to formulate a plan of action that works for you…. Good luck!

What are your thoughts on the subject? Did you experience a similar timeline when you were buying a home? Were there any surprises on the timing that you didn’t expect? I can’t wait to hear….

For more information on this or about the real estate market in Weston, Wellesley, Wayland and the surrounding towns or if you are considering selling your home, please contact me, Lisa Curlett (www.lisacurlett.com, 781-267-2844 or lisa.curlett@compass.com), to answer any questions or for a complimentary home appraisal.

The Buyer Offer Process: The Documents

Recently I wrote a post on The Post Offer Timeline for Buyers, and now, I am continuing that line of analysis of the buyer offer process by overviewing the documents that are usually submitted at the time of the offer:

1. Offer to Purchase Form – this details the purchase price, dates for the purchase and sale agreement (P&S) and closing, special provisions, exclusions and inclusions, additional provisions, escrow information, etc.  As the name suggests, this form is basically the nuts and bolts of what you as the buyer are offering the seller.  Click offer to purchase to see the GBREB standard offer to purchase form.

2. Offer to Purchase Contingency Addendum Form – this includes dates and information regarding your mortgage, inspection, pest, radon and lead paint contingencies. Click contingency form to see the standard GBREB contingency form.

3. Agency Disclosure Form – this is to inform the seller that your agent is working as your buyer’s agent or facilitator. Click agency disclosure to see the standard GBREB agency disclosure form.

4. Check – a copy of the check, usually for $1,000, made out to the listing firm is included to bind the offer.  Once the offer is accepted, the check is given to the listing agent and usually “held” by the listing firm (in other words, deposited into the listing firm’s bank account).

5. Pre-Approval Letter and/or Letter of Funds – this gives the seller the confidence that you have been pre-approved to borrow and/or have the funds to buy the house.  This sometimes comes just after the offer is submitted, but these days, most sellers won’t accept an offer until they see the pre-approval letter.

6. Lead Paint Form – this is provided by the listing agent and discloses whether the seller knows of any lead paint within the home and/or has any lead paint reports.  It also gives you as the buyer a choice of whether you would like to test for lead paint or waive the inspection. Because the buyer needs to complete the form that the seller has already completed, this form is not always submitted at the time of the offer as the buyer doesn’t always have access to it.  But the submission of the lead paint form usually follows quickly thereafter. Click lead paint form to see the standard GBREB lead paint form.

So that’s about it….  Are these the documents that you submitted when you put in an offer on your house?  There can be other forms to sign with the offer (i.e., notice and consent to dual agency if this applies) or after the initial offer (i.e., seller’s statement of property condition, statement of seller’s preferences), but the above six documents are usually those that are submitted with the initial offer.  Then the negotiations begin, and once the offer is accepted (fingers crossed), the offer and addendum documents will need to be revised to reflect the agreed-upon terms, conditions and dates.  This is fabulous, and most importantly – Congratulations to all!

For more information on this or about the real estate market in Weston, Wellesley, Wayland and the surrounding towns or if you are considering selling your home, please contact me, Lisa Curlett (www.lisacurlett.com, 781-267-2844 or lisa.curlett@compass.com), to answer any questions or for a complimentary home appraisal.

The Pre-Moving Day Checklist for Buyers

Moving Day is such an exciting time when buying a new home, but it can be stressful too. I have put together this list in an effort to help you focus on what needs to get done in the event that things become crazy leading up to the big day. Here are some things* to remember to do to make your move a bit less stressful and worry-free (I hope):

  • Contact the utility companies – make sure that the gas/oil, electricity, cable and any other utility services have all been transferred into your name at the new house. At the same time, make sure you cut off service for those utilities at the home you are leaving.

  • Complete a change of address form at your post office – this is a crucial step so that you can rest assured that your mail will be forwarded to your new home.

  • Confirm school enrollment/information for your children – if you are moving to a new town, and your kids will be attending the public school in your new town, make sure that they are properly enrolled and that the school(s) have all of your up-to-date information.  Even if you are moving within your town/area, make sure that the schools have your new contact information.

  • Take final measurements – take any last minute measurements of spaces in your new home to confirm that your furniture fits in just the right spot.

  • Reserve a safe place for important documents and items – this is especially important during a move when things have a tendency to get rather chaotic.  Put your passports, birth certificates, medications, etc., in a designated place so they don’t get lost in the move.  In fact, I might put them in my purse or briefcase so they are “on my person,” as they say, rather than on a moving truck.

  • Confirm your moving logistics with the moving company – by this time, you will have hired a mover so check in with the company to confirm the arrival time on moving day and any other logistics.

  • Find a babysitter or family member to watch your children – if you have younger kids, you may want to do this and/or schedule play dates so that the children are cared for during the closing and first hours of the move.  This will help you focus on the task at hand.

  • Schedule your walk through – ask your buyer’s agent to schedule a walk through of your new home the day before or morning of your closing. During the walk through, you want to make sure that everything has been removed from the property and that any inspection items have been repaired or resolved.

  • Review the HUD-1 Settlement Statement with your real estate attorney – the HUD-1 Settlement Statement is usually available to review with your attorney the day before the closing. You can also wait to review it with your attorney at the closing, but many like to go over it in advance of the big day.

  • Send out  change of address cards – make sure all of your friends and family know about your move and your new address and phone number. It’s a fun way to reach out to and connect with your loved ones and share the exciting news.  Congratulations on your new home!

I think that pretty well covers it….  Are there any other things you did just prior to moving day that you would add to the checklist? I can’t wait to hear….

For more information on this or about the real estate market in Weston, Wellesley, Wayland and the surrounding towns or if you are considering selling your home, please contact me, Lisa Curlett (www.lisacurlett.com, 781-267-2844 or lisa.curlett@compass.com), to answer any questions or for a complimentary home appraisal.

* This list does not include the packing of items and furniture and the determination of what is being given to goodwill or other family members, thrown away, potentially sold at a yard sale or to a consignment shop and/or moved to the new house as these efforts are part of the overall and ongoing moving out process.

Home Buying: Love for the House or Financial Security?

During your most recent home buying process, you most likely found yourself in one of two scenarios: (1) you fell in love with a house and bought it before having sold your existing home or (2) you sold your current house before buying, and then either bought another home or rented a home if you couldn’t find a home that was right for you. Buy and then sell OR sell and then buy – very different approaches to home buying with a variety of pros and cons….

The first scenario is really about falling in love with a particular house. You have to have it – no matter what. It’s irrelevant that you haven’t sold your existing home and that you may not sell it for months to come. The good news about this approach is that you have the home you love when you want it. The bad news is that you may very well find yourself in a precarious financial situation. What if it takes months and months for your home to sell, which means that you are carrying two homes instead of one? This can be a stressful, financial burden and can keep you up fretting a night or two to say the least. You can try to negotiate an extended closing to try to give yourself more time to sell before you ultimately buy. But there are some drawbacks to an extended closing too (i.e., mortgage commitment timeline, locking in a rate, etc.). And yet sometimes luck is on your side – you price your home competitively, and it sells relatively quickly. When you are in this kind of situation, more times than not, you are a “motivated” seller intent on doing what it takes to sell your existing property and move on with your life in your new home.

The second scenario is about financial security – making sure you have sold your home, and the money is in the bank before contemplating a home purchase. There are several advantages to following this path. First, having sold your home and knowing the price for which it sold, you know how much you can spend on your next property. You also don’t have the added stress of carrying two properties and the uncertainty about the final price and timing of your existing home sale. As referenced earlier, these kinds of unknowns can go round and round in your head night after night while you’re trying to sleep. As with everything, however, there are also cons to this approach. Once your house is sold, the inventory may not cooperate, and you may not be able to find the right home for you and your family. In fact, it could take months upon months until you do. And so it’s important that if you opt for the financial security route, you feel comfortable with the prospect of living in a rental or temporary housing. This generally means having to move twice and can cause some logistical issues, but on the bright side, your stress level will be lower and you will be having restful nights of sleep.

Where do you find yourself on this spectrum of home buying? Are you one who acts for the love a particular house or do you wait to act until the selling of your home is not a question mark but an exclamation point? When I bought my house in Weston, MA almost 12 years ago, I was a home buyer who acted for the love of a house. Luckily my current home at the time sold within a day, and so I was able to close on both homes on the same day. Phew…. Honestly, though, if I had to do it all over again, I would still act for the love of a house. And I see it happen with a majority of my clients too. The bottom line is that whichever path you choose, it all works out – one way or another, sooner or later. What are your thoughts and experiences on this aspect of the home buying process? I can’t wait to hear….

For more information on this or about the real estate market in Weston, Wellesley, Wayland and the surrounding towns or if you are considering selling your home, please contact me, Lisa Curlett (www.lisacurlett.com, 781-267-2844 or lisa.curlett@compass.com), to answer any questions or for a complimentary home appraisal.

How to Win in a Multiple Bid Situation

This is the question of the day particularly when there is low inventory and high demand especially with homes priced under $1 million – and even up to $1.5 million. Multiple offers can be quite frustrating for all involved, but mostly for you. You are blindly bidding without any information about what your competitors are offering. You want the house, and yet you don’t want to overpay for the house. Overpaying could be an issue when it comes to the house appraising (if you are getting a mortgage) not to mention resale. On the other hand, you want to submit an offer that is so appealing to the seller that he chooses yours. It’s stressful to say the least. To help with this scenario, I am sharing a few tips and thoughts to help guide you when you find yourself about to dive into a multiple bid situation.

But a quick segue first outlining the general timing of the offer process. After your offer has been accepted, you have 7-10 days to have the home inspected and come back to the seller with any issues you would like addressed, which usually results in another negotiation. This is the time when most deals fall apart. Assuming you get through this hurdle, you’re on to the P&S, which is signed 14 days after the accepted offer. When signing the P&S, you put a hefty deposit down as well – in our towns of Weston, Wellesley and Wayland, it’s generally 5% of the purchase price. The last hurdle is the satisfaction of the mortgage contingency – in other words, when you receive your mortgage commitment from your lender – and this generally happens 5 weeks after the accepted offer. So in essence, with a mortgage contingency in the offer, a seller won’t be able to rest assured that his house has sold until 5 weeks from the accepted offer.

Now back to the tips and thoughts about how to win a multiple bid situation (note that I’ve evaluated these tips in terms of effectiveness and frequency with which they occur):

  • Exclude your mortgage contingency – Very effective, and happens often – This is the first contingency that buyers tend to remove in a multiple bid situation. From the seller’s perspective, this is very appealing because now he knows his house has “sold” after the inspection issues have been resolved and you’ve signed the P&S and put down your deposit. In this scenario, he has peace of mind that the deal is done just two weeks after the accepted offer. Phew…. From your perspective, if you are paying cash there is no need for a mortgage contingency so this is a no brainer. But if you still need to get a mortgage in order to purchase the home, excluding the mortgage contingency is a bit risky. You would only do this if you are extremely confident about getting the mortgage – based on the counsel of your mortgage broker – and if you feel strongly that the house will appraise. The repercussions are as follows…. If you don’t ultimately get approved for the mortgage, you forfeit your deposit money – not good. And/or if your new potential home appraises at a lower price than the agreed-upon purchase price, you must come up with the extra money necessary for the loan to be approved or you can try to renegotiate the price of the house with the seller. Both are less than ideal scenarios. So think seriously about this tactic before you commit to it.

  • Increase the purchase price significantly – Very effective, and happens occasionally – You can also decide to inflate the price and “blow it out of the water” as they say. This is not always financially prudent from a resale perspective, but almost always, price is the most important thing to the seller. Therefore by paying a high price for the house, your odds are better that the seller will choose your offer. In reality, though, most people don’t want to overpay for a house, and so buyers don’t often go crazy when it comes to the “best and final” price.

  • Remove the inspection contingency – Very effective, and happens rarely – Sometimes in a competitive bid situation, buyers will waive their home inspection contingency though it’s not often done. We only advocate removing the inspection contingency if you are tearing down the house. Sometimes a seller will have his own home inspection prior to putting his home on the market, and then share the inspection report with you. The seller’s reasoning is that this way you might be less likely to do your own home inspection – after all the seller has had an inspection and repaired the items that were found in the report, right? Well, not exactly…. The problem with this is two-fold. First, two home inspections of the same house usually result in different issues arising. It may sound hard to believe, but I have seen this happen time and again. This brings me to my next point. What happens if you decide not to do your own home inspection and just accept the seller’s inspection report. And then five months later when you own the home, you find that there is significant termite damage – something that the seller’s inspector missed. Unfortunately at this point, this is your problem and you are stuck with remedying the damage without any recourse from the seller. Despite the fact that removing your inspection contingency significantly strengthens your offer, it puts you at significant risk and so most home buyers do not follow this path.

  • Conduct a pre-offer home inspection – Very effective, and happens rarely – This is a great option, and my buyer clients and I just followed this strategy in a recent multiple bid situation. There are several advantages to this approach. First, since you’ve had your own home inspection prior to submitting the offer, you don’t need to include an inspection contingency in the offer making it much stronger. Not to mention that most of the deals fall apart because of inspection issues and the ensuing negotiation, and so this gives the seller complete peace of mind from that perspective. The seller knows that you have accepted the house and its condition, and you don’t run the risk of walking away because of something discovered during the inspection. Furthermore, you can make a better informed pricing decision when you’re in the “best and final”phase of the multiple bid situation. You will know the work that needs to be done to the house and the price tag attached, and this will enable you to make a more informed pricing decision. The disadvantage to this is that you’ve paid for a home inspection, which isn’t inexpensive, and you are not guaranteed that the seller will choose your offer. Yikes…hundreds of dollars potentially down the drain.

  • Remove all contingencies – Very effective, and happens rarely – This, of course, is the best case scenario for the seller from a security standpoint so it’s quite effective, but it’s also a rarity. The seller will love your offer if it doesn’t have an inspection or mortgage contingency because technically and for the most part, as soon as he signs the offer, the deal is done…. You are not protected, however, at least from an inspection and financing perspective. It’s like a complete leap of faith, and most buyers are not willing to throw such caution to the wind, especially when it comes to their most expensive asset. That being said, if you’ve had a pre-offer home inspection and can pay cash for the property, then this is certainly the path to follow, and the offer will be quite compelling to the seller.

  • Include an escalation clause – Can be effective, and doesn’t happen often – Let’s assume a list price for the home of $1,000,000. In this scenario, an escalation clause would go something like this….”I will pay $5,000 more than the best offer up to a maximum of $1,030,000.” So if the best offer is $1,020,000, then you would be paying $1,025,000 for the house. If another buyer is willing to pay $1,035,000 for the house, then you are out of the running. Some agents don’t like escalation clauses because they feel that it gives that party an unfair advantage. They feel that a buyer should come up with a price – and not a moving target – at which they feel comfortable buying, or not buying, the house. This has an element of gamesmanship which some agents don’t like. Other agents are fine with it…. Something to consider.

  • Find out what is most important to the seller – Always important, but not very effective – On rare occasions, price is not the most important thing to the seller. Sometimes it’s the closing date. Sometimes it’s the buyer’s profile. Some sellers might want to sell their home to a family and not to a builder, who is planning to tear down their beloved house where they spent years building happy memories.  In these cases, you’ll want to give the seller some information about you and your family. Find out from the listing agent, the seller’s priorities and then work to put together an offer that mirrors what he wants as much as possible.

Hand’s down, price is generally the most important thing to the seller. But so is the security of his house ultimately selling. And so sometimes, a seller may accept an offer with a slightly lower price if there aren’t any contingencies. And if you can meet their ideal closing date, that can go a long way too. The bottom line is to put your best offer forward in terms of price, contingencies – or lack thereof – closing date, etc. In other words, submit the strongest offer with which you feel comfortable – both financially and emotionally. And then keep your fingers crossed and do a lucky dance too!

Have you ever found yourself in a multiple bid situation when purchasing a home? What was your strategy, and did it work? Did some approaches work better than others? I can’t wait to hear….

For more information on this or about the real estate market in Weston, Wellesley, Wayland and the surrounding towns or if you are considering selling your home, please contact me, Lisa Curlett (www.lisacurlett.com, 781-267-2844 or lisa.curlett@compass.com), to answer any questions or for a complimentary home appraisal.