St. Louis Real Estate Tip of the Week: How Buyers Get Their Real Estate Offer Accepted in Today's Market

Multiple listing reports show that inventory levels in St. Louis City and St. Louis County are low and when inventory is low, it contributes to the current market trends, namely rising real estate values. For many listings, there is strong competition between home buyers who are struggling to get their offers accepted and sellers who appear to have their pick!

There are strategies to help buyers navigate the crowded market.  The prime goal is to make an offer stand out in a crowd of offers.  From experience, the days of simply writing an offer and emailing to the listing agent are OVER.  More dedication and effort is now required to seal the deal.  It is now necessary to romance the seller and their agent too!! It is proven - the hotter the market, the more creative the buyer must be.

Keller Williams has two wonderful resources to share.  The 2013 Buyers Guide and the 2013 Sellers Guide.  Both of these resources will offer tips, techniques and strategies to secure real estate success in this specific market.

A.    Updated Proof of Funds

If you want to be successful in today’s market, you need to be clearly show the seller you are a ready, willing, and able buyer with the means and commitment to close the deal.  The first step is demonstrating proof of funds in excess of your down payment and projected closing costs.  This proof of funds should be in a PDF file and should include your most recent bank statements, investment accounts, or other liquid cash accounts.  Please do not send a screen shot of your computer screen, rather it’s important to offer a full bank statement, including any blank pages within your statement.

B.    Get a Pre-Approval Letter

When competing against cash buyers, it is important to make yourself as much of a sure thing as possible in the eyes of the seller.  A way to demonstrate your strength is to obtain a pre-qualification letter from your lender. Better yet is an actual pre-approval, which is a conditional letter from your lender based on a successful appraisal and other conditions that need to be met for the home you are looking to purchase.

C.    Don’t Overestimate the Power of Cash

Cash is and always has been, king!!  However, it’s best, NOT to think that your cash will always be king with the sellers.  If you are a cash buyer, you need to realize that there are other homebuyers looking at the same home. It’s common that properties receive multiple offers from cash buyers to.  Cash does bring privilege in the market, but don’t bank on your cash attracting the seller and automatically granting your contract with the acceptance.

D.    Earnest Money

It’s recommended that a buyer offer the largest earnest money possible.  Sellers will see this down payment as a positive.  The larger amount that the buyer can put down in the offer the better, as it demonstrates that the buyer is more interested and committed to the property.

E.     Include a Cover Letter

Your agent should prepare a detailed cover letter that clearly and thoroughly defines the main points of your offer. It’s so important to make it easy to be identified as a strong buyer with an organized and professional real estate agent.  Your personal letter to the seller should assure the seller that you love the property and have the ability to close.  I also suggest that you make an emotional connection to the seller; you never know what will break a tie between you and your offer and another offer. I always ask my buyers to write a letter to the sellers introducing themselves and their family.  I often suggest sending a photo of the happy family to create the emotional appeal to the sellers.

F.     Hand-Deliver the Offer

The art of hand-delivering real estate offers has largely been lost. To go the extra mile, have your real estate agent actually make a face-to-face visit when presenting your offer.  It could be a strategy that makes your offer stand out among the crowd of offers.  The seller has an agent. The seller is picking a buyer to work with a buyer who has an agent they believe s professional and will guide the offer from contract to close. The more professional you and your agent appear, the greater the chance of success. It’s a teamwork approach that will make a difference.

G.   Write a Clean Offer

This is all about focusing on the big picture.  Obviously as the buyer, you know you are about to make a huge long-range purchase. Don’t lose the deal by clouding the waters with things like home warranties, requesting small repairs or other annoying small fees for the seller to pay. Adding numerous contingencies, especially the sale of another or your existing property is not recommended.  Muddling the offer will not lead to a successful acceptance in today’s 2013 market.

H.    Follow Up

This is the final area that so many agents fail to execute on behalf of their clients.  If your agent has done a great job presenting your offer, then, follow up is the next key to success. This is not the time to sit back and relax.  Rather, as a buyer, you need to encourage your agent to follow up on the status of your offer.  I suggest that agents make calls over emails and text messages. A phone call is a more personal touch and demonstrates a greater commitment to the deal.  It’s the personal touch that will make or break a deal when there are several buyers bidding for the same property.

I hope this helps you buy or sell in today’s St. Louis Real Estate Market.  Check us out for next week’s Tip of the Week.  And find me below.

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Beverly Taki is a Missouri-licensed real estate broker who has successfully represented clients for 25 years.  She is a broker salesperson at Keller Williams Realty St Louis. 10936 Manchester Road, St. Louis, MO   63122. Beverly has earned a certificate in dispute resolution from Pepperdine University, specializing in negotiation and mediation. Taki can be reached at beverlytaki@kw.com or 314.677.6366.  Visit me at my website or on my blog.

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