Andy Weiser Fort Lauderdale Realtor Blog

6 Ways to Win a Bidding War

It can definitely be discouraging to hear there are other offers on the property that you want to buy. Sometimes this can even happen if a home has been on the market for a little while when just at the same time two or more parties decide to submit an offer. In the interest in coming out on top, here are 6 strategies to assist you with your winning quest.

Avoid the war

Sometimes it can be as simple as asking. Find out what the seller is looking for. Perhaps it is a particular time frame for closing or maybe they will let you know if they have a price in mind that would persuade them to call off the bidding war. You don’t know if you don’t ask. 

Get your pre-approval letter ready

If you must play the game, make sure you are well armed. A pre-approval letter is a must so that the sellers know you are financially secure enough to buy their home. Make sure you have this ready and include it with your offer.

More cash

Not everyone has the luxury of paying cash for a home. However, in a bidding war you may want to consider your options for strengthening the deal. You could offer more for the escrow deposit, more for the down payment or finally more for the purchase price. These options either show the seller more security or of course, more money if a higher price is paid.

Contingencies

During a contingency period a buyer can back out of the deal for a variety of reasons. However, you could reduce your timeline and omit some contingencies to appeal to sellers. For example, removing a home inspection contingency is something buyers do in these types of situations. 

Experienced agent

As much as you prepare, you will also want to have an experienced agent such as myself to represent you. With my numerous years of experience and expertise, I am well prepared and well versed in all types of situations to assist you. 

Emotional appeal

Some opinions differ on whether this can help or not. However, you really don’t know what will strike a chord with the sellers so it can’t hurt to submit a personal letter with your offer. Drafting a brief, but sincere note on what you love about the house and how you and your family would enjoy it may just appeal to the sellers in a way that a plain offer may not. 

5 Tips for a Successful Home Search

No matter what market you are looking in to find your next home, the search can take some time. Inventory levels are still on the slim side and home prices continue to rise which can make things more challenging. The best thing to do is to tighten up your search and be as best prepared and focused as possible. Here are 5 tips for beginning your home search. 

Mortgage Pre-Approval

This is essential, even if you purchased in the recent past. Your financial situation, credit or the rates may have changed since then and you will need to have a mortgage lender give you a pre-approval letter. This will only strengthen your offer as we will submit a copy along with it.

Needs and Wants

At the end of the day, there is no perfect house. Whatever you buy and customize will make it ultimately your home, but decide what things are “must haves” versus “would like to haves.” Chances are a great home will become available that hits your wish list items, but perhaps it may have a carport versus the garage you really wanted and you need to decide on what things you can budge on.

The Right Neighborhood

Every area is unique in its own way and offers different things. There are the obvious things that make sense like ease of commute to work or school district, but also see which area offers things that cater to your lifestyle for spare time activities. Finally, see what homes cost in each area of consideration as that can really dictate your options. 

The Right Home Style

Once you have evaluated your needs for simple things like bed and bath count, you may want to consider your lifestyle and needs in terms of type of home. For some, condo living with the ease of maintenance and social setting is ideal, where others prefer having their own yard and privacy that comes with a single family. Decide on what works best for you and focus on that for your search. 

Make Notes

Once you begin touring homes they can sometimes blend together. It can be a helpful tip to not only make notes about them in general so you remember, but also list out what you like and don’t like about them. This can sometimes help you figure out just what you are willing to compromise on. 

6 Home Features That Sell It

While every home is different, they all cater to the same common needs of buyers in today’s marketplace. Every home is going to have a kitchen, one or several bathrooms and the essentials, but there are some specifics in design today that bring your home from “let me think about it” to “I must have it.” Here is a closer look at what is ranking high among home buyers these days to see if your home can be sold as-is or if you should do some adjustments. 

Gourmet Kitchen

This should not be news to anyone that kitchens remain as one of the top focal points of the home. However, a kitchen that is updated, spacious and has plenty of counter and cupboard space is sure to help sell your home faster and increase its value. Common amenities that will also bring your kitchen to gourmet level include double ovens, a microwave drawer, stone or stainless counterparts, an island or bar counter and some form of a pantry. 

Open Floor Plan

In some cases this is more challenging to obtain than others. However, an open floor plan allows for a larger feel, makes the home brighter and can be more accommodating when hosting larger groups. If your home doesn’t inherently have an open floor plan, check with a reputable contractor for ideas on how you can achieve this. Sometimes walls can come down or doorways can be enlarged for simple solutions. 

Backyard Patio/Deck

Where South Florida living is so conducive to the outdoors for most of the year, creating a true backyard oasis is surely going to be an extension of your living space. Materials like pavers or composite decking can be good options for their look and care. 

Crown Molding

This is a relatively easy and inexpensive way to add character and warmth to your home. Bring your simple rooms to elegance and a higher level of craftsmanship with some interesting crown molding.

Vegetable Garden/Fruiting Plants

Aside from having a beautifully landscaped yard, having a designated vegetable garden or fruiting trees can be a value add. Everyone today is becoming more health conscious and home grown fruits and vegetables are a winner for anyone at any age. 

Mother Nature Preparedness

Especially in South Florida, tropical storms are a fact of life. There are many ways to add protection to your home to weather the elements. From high impact doors and windows to roof strapping to built in home generators, any of these additions will be sought after by today’s buyers. 

Top Tips for Competing in a Hot Real Estate Market

Although some of the real estate market has cooled compared to the recent past, select markets still remain hot. Regardless of the market you may be looking in, some properties will be “hot buys” and are still receiving multiple offers at the same time. So the big question is how do you position yourself as being most competitive when you are submitting an offer on your next home? Here are some helpful tips to follow.

Prepare Yourself and Your Finances

Getting all of your ducks in a row for finances and aligning yourself with a strong team are good places to start. Here is a closer look at a checklist of action items. 

Finances – Make sure you have saved for both your down payment as well as your closing costs. Check your credit score as well to see how it fairs as this will impact your borrowing power. 

Records – Collect all of your supporting documents that will be required for your home loan. This includes things like pay stubs, bank statements, savings account information, proof of additional income as well as any alimony or child support you may have to pay.

Research areas – Check out some areas of interest for what they offer you and your lifestyle, but also how much homes with your criteria cost. This will help you narrow down your official search and act quickly on a property that arises and is a good fit.

Choose the Right Lender – Working with a local and reputable lender can sometimes be helpful in a competitive deal. Local agents know local lenders and those with good reputations and are known for smooth transactions may give you a leg up in a deal. 

Strengthen Your Offer

There are some other ways to craft your actual offer to make it as competitive as possible and stand out from the rest. Here are just a few things to consider.

Pre approval – All offers should be accompanied with a pre approval letter, but some lenders will go further with underwriting ahead of time to make your offer even stronger.

Down payment – Another idea of how to sweeten the deal is to increase your down payment. This will show good faith to sellers that your deal is more secure with more cash down towards the transaction. 

Strong first offer – If you aren’t offering full price or over asking, make your first offer as strong as possible. Show the sellers what level of serious that you really are with the amount you offer.

Be accommodating – The sales price is only one part of what makes an offer ideal. Being accommodating on other things like the seller’s time frame to close, where and when to close and even limiting contingencies all will be attractive to most sellers. 

Write a letter – Last but not least, consider writing a letter. This can help appeal to the emotional side of the seller by telling them in a short, but sweet note why you love the home and why it is a perfect fit for you. Most homes have great memories for sellers and there can be value in the sellers knowing that it will be enjoyed and that they will be a courteous new neighbor. 

6 Tips for Buyers to Avoid Closing Delays

Once you have found the home that you want, you have made an offer and have had a satisfactory home inspection, then you need to focus on finishing up all paperwork and work towards getting to your closing date. In most cases your closing date will be met, however, there are some cases where things can get delayed. In fact, the National Association of Realtors has reported that 32% of buyers face delays at closing. Here are 6 tips to pay attention to so that you can avoid delays with your deal.

Downpayment and closing costs

Most everyone is well aware these days that you need to have a downpayment when you buy a home. Having 20% down is great as you can avoid paying PMI, but many people are getting away with 5 or 10% too. However, closing costs are a whole other thing. These are all of your prepaid expenses and associated loan costs. The best thing to do is to consult with your mortgage broker to get a good idea of what you need to have on hand for funds. 

Pre-approval

Loan snags are a common delay for closings. Even if this is your second home and even if you have the same job as when you bought your first home, you still need to get pre-approved. Rates change, your credit can change and the only way you can safely enter contract is if a mortgage agent checks everything out and provides you with a pre-approval letter.

Divorce decree

Yes. If you have gotten a divorce, you will need to have the supporting paperwork to show it along with any child support or alimony. All of this plays a role in your financial status. 

Mortgage application

First, you should get pre-approved. Second, once you have made your offer on a home then you need to proceed with the mortgage application immediately. The average application takes 30 days, but can take longer during busier markets. Begin this as soon as possible so you have ample time for processing. 

Home appraisals

Another common issue is the home appraisal. Sometimes the home gets listed for more than it will appraise for which is troublesome for financing. According to the National Association of Realtors, this accounts for 20% of closing delays. When you are submitting your offer, check the local and recent comps with your agent and make sure the price is aligned with the market. 

Patience

Sometimes there are delays but for good reason. Perhaps at the inspection some damage was discovered and the seller is going to remedy it and needs more time. While this can be disappointing, it will be less of a headache down the road and well worth pushing the closing date out a bit. It is best to have everything the way you want it before you take possession. 

Your 10 Last Minute “To Do’s” When Selling

When it comes time to move most sellers are thinking about all of the big picture things like packing up your belongings in time, scheduling a moving truck and forwarding their address. However, there are a lot of little things to do and with some helpful tips they can help make your move more smooth. Here is a list of 10 things to check off when you prepare your move.

Lock all windows

This can very easily be overlooked. Most people focus on making sure all doors are shut and locked, but don’t forget about the windows! There could be a gap of time that the home is left vacant and you don’t want any uninvited visitors. 

Check secondary areas

Do one final sweep of all closets and even your attic space. You may have left some holiday decorations or the like hidden away that were “out of sight, out of mind.” One final look in all cabinets and drawers is a good idea too.

Keys and codes

A nice thing to do is to gather all keys, garage remotes, mailbox keys and have them all together for the buyer. Also, record any pass codes for alarms or gates so that the buyer has all they need when they move in.

Smart devices

If you represented your home with these items, then you will need to leave them if you didn’t explicitly exclude them. For any that remain in the home, clear them and untether them from your control so that things are reset for the new owners. 

Purchase home protection items

Even if you are hiring professional movers, chances are you will be doing some preparation yourself. Make sure you have some essential things like padding or blankets so that when you move things around you aren’t damaging floors or walls. Any significant damage that occurs will be seen by buyers in the final walk through. 

Utilities

Don’t pay for what you don’t have to or be left without service at your new home. Make sure you communicate to utility companies what your closing dates are for both the home you are selling and the one you are buying so that things go smoothly for you.

Photos

It is a wise idea to take photos of the home when you are leaving it. After all items are moved and it has been cleaned it is smart to document how you left it. You never know what can transpire after with the buyers movers, etc. and this can help cover you.

Set aside closing paperwork/docs

Most of your things will be packed away for your closing day, but keep some of the essentials handy in a folder or binder. Things including closing paperwork, your driver’s license, all remotes, keys and pass codes, information on any home devices or warranties, as well as your checkbook in case any last minute costs arise. 

Basic cleaning supplies

Keep just some cleaning essentials handy until the last minute. Things like rags, sponges, a bucket, the vacuum, all purpose cleaner, glass cleaner, mop and trash bags should cover the basics. 

Move date coordination

Keep your agent and the buyer in the know about your moving plans. You should be out by the time of closing, but keeping everyone on the same page will help avoid any potential snags.