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Making an Offer on a House: 5 Ways to Make Your Offer Stand Out

June 5, 2014

This is a guest post from Paul Curtis, broker at Red Door Realty and the host of Michigan Real Talk Radio.

In today’s competitive housing market, good listings always seem to get multiple offers. And, after you’ve spent countless hours searching for your dream home, it can be heartbreaking to have your offer beat out.

I get asked all the time, “Paul, how do I get my offer to stand out? What can I do to increase the chances of having my offer accepted?”

When it comes time to make an offer on a house, here are five ways to make your offer stand out:

  1. Get pre-approved for a mortgage loan before you search for homes. There are many benefits that come along with getting pre-approved for a mortgage, including the ability to increase your bargaining and negotiating power. Getting pre-approved is a fairly simple process. My advice would be to prepare all of your documentation beforehand so your lender can call the listing agent on your behalf with complete confidence that your mortgage is ready to rock! It will also allow you to shorten the closing period. Sellers love that!
  2. Shorten the inspection period. It’s not uncommon for sellers to review several different offers in addition to yours. For this reason, it’s best to act quickly and move swiftly. Don’t have a ten-day inspection contingency. Have an inspector ready to go within three days. If you need to back out for some reason, the seller would rather have it happen sooner than later so they can call the other buyers back in a timely manner.
  3. Increase earnest money deposit. An earnest money deposit is made to show that your offer is in good faith. In other words, it shows the seller that you are a committed buyer. Sellers feel more comfortable when a buyer has more “skin in the game.” A higher deposit will garner more attention. Since your earnest money deposit will go toward paying your down payment and closing costs, it’s already part of the money you plan on spending and no additional cost to you in the long run. But, if something happens to stall the transaction, you could have your cash tied up for a while, so be aware of that.
  4. Write a letter to the sellers. Sellers are, after all, human and can be emotional about the sale of their home. Tell them why you love their house and give them a warm feeling about you. We recently got such a letter when we were representing a seller. A retired couple wanted the home because it was close to where their three children lived, so it was perfect for getting to see their grandchildren more often. Long story short, the seller accepted their offer over a higher one!
  5. Work with professionals with great reputations. Working with a reputable mortgage lender and real estate agent can make a world of difference in your home buying experience. When it comes to finding a lender or realtor, you want to make sure you have some chemistry and that they have your best interest at heart.

If you’re in the process of buying a home, put as many of these tips as you can to work on your behalf. They will increase the odds of your offer being accepted and improve your chances of moving into the home of your dreams. That’s Michigan Real Talk!

For more real estate tips and advice, follow Paul on Twitter or Facebook, and be sure to tune into his Michigan Real Talk radio show Sundays at noon on WDTK.

paul-curtisPaul Curtis is the broker of Red Door Realty and the host of Michigan Real Talk Radio, where Michigan comes to talk real estate, business and finance. You can hear Michigan Real Talk on Sundays at Noon on 92.7FM and 1400AM WDTK. Like the Michigan Real Talk Facebook Page for more powerful resources to help you #OwnYourDream or contact Paul through