How to Make an Offer (In a Seller's Market)

If you're at all interested in real estate in Buffalo, you've probably heard the phrase "seller's market" tossed around a few times in the last year or so. As a buyer, that phrase probably doesn't thrill you. And it's true, the market right now favors sellers. However, that doesn't mean that buying your first home is out of reach. It just means that you need to carefully use strategy when making an offer on a home. Below are a few tips and tricks for making an offer in a seller's market. 

1. Come in with your "highest and best": If you are bidding on a house that has multiple offers, you will most likely not get a chance to negotiate with the seller. That means you have one shot at getting your offer accepted. When you draw up your offer with your agent, come in with your highest and best - that is, the highest price you'd be willing to pay before walking away from the house. 

2. Keep in mind that there are other factors besides the price: Believe it or not, there are other things that matter to sellers besides the dollar value of the price. For example, sellers are concerned with the type of offer you're making - cash, conventional mortgage or FHA mortgage? To sellers, cash is king, followed by a preference for conventional over FHA. They may choose an offer that is lower in value but is all-cash, because of the hassle free nature of a cash transaction. 

3. Present your offer with as few contingencies as possible: Are you willing to waive the home inspection or at least have it done in a minimal amount of time? Can you demonstrate that you don't need to sell any existing property or to receive any gift funds to go forward with the transaction? 

4. Be flexible & dependable: Show the seller that you are going to be easy to work with. For example, let them know that you are flexible on the closing date, and are willing to move quickly. Show them that you have an attorney and home inspector already lined up. Be the type of person you'd want to work with!


As a final note, keep in mind that while Buffalo as a whole is a seller's market, not every neighborhood is! You can find houses off of Hertel getting 20 offers, while houses in Hamlin Park might go for under asking. If you're willing to expand your neighborhood parameters, you might find yourself in a position of more strength - just something to think about! 

Margaret Healy