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Presenting Offers
Tips for Triumph/Users/adamp/Desktop/Stuff for FAR/Magazine Assets/NOV08/images/TipsTriumph

From lowball offers to multiple offers on foreclosure properties, presenting one that gets accepted by the seller takes skill.

Even in the best real estate market, it’s tough to present a perfect offer to sellers—one with the right price and conditions that match the homeowners’ needs. Here are some tips for arming yourself with some surefire methods for getting your offer accepted whether it’s lowball or top dollar.

Tip 1: Have Specific Market Research
“We keep our sellers posted every month with a comparative market analysis so they’re not surprised by market changes,” says Martha Thorn, a sales associate with Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate in Belleair Bluffs. “When we present the offer, we run the numbers for their neighborhood for the last three quarters to compare the average price per square foot. In one particular area, that number dropped by 9 percent over the last three quarters. So we show sellers what that drop represents off their asking price, and then the offer may look more reasonable.”

Tip 2: Focus on Conditions
“I always present offers in person, and I focus on the positive aspects of every offer,” says Soryl Cohen, a sales associate with Prudential Florida 1st in Weston. “If you’re not positive, the sellers won’t be either.”

Cohen suggests that you should concentrate on the conditions rather than the price, along with the down payment amount and the buyer qualification letter.

Tip 3: Prepare Sellers with a Worst-Case Scenario
“You need to prepare sellers from the very beginning that chances are high they will get a low offer,” says Andy Tolbert, a sales associate with H.D. Realty in Longwood. “Most of the offers I see are 8 to 10 percent lower than the asking price. I emphasize that even if they lose $30,000 on this home, they may be able to buy their next home for $60,000 less than expected. They need to see that as a [possible] net gain of $30,000.”

Tip 4: Focus on the Sellers’ Goals
Amine Berrada, a sales associate with Century 21 Professional Group in Orlando, says, “You need to find out what the sellers’ motivation is for selling their home. When an offer comes in, you focus on their goals.”

Berrada says sellers who want to upgrade into another home need to be reminded of the money they’ll save on the next home. Sellers who want to move closer to their grandchildren should be asked about whether they want to move on with their lives or wait for the market to shift.

Tip 5: Justify the Buyers’ Offer
“When an offer comes in, I try to find out how the buyers arrived at that number, and then I check the MLS and canvass the neighborhood to see if perhaps there are hardship sales that may be affecting the offer,” says Jimmy Parker, a sales associate with Resort Quest Real Estate in Perdido Key.

Parker says he tries to understand the mentality of the buyer so he can explain it to the sellers.

Tip 6: Keep the Emotion Out
“[Sales associates] need to control their own emotions along with the sellers’ emotions,” says Tommy Swanson, a sales associate with Watson Realty Group in Middleburg. “We’ve lost offers we submitted because the agents were more bent out of shape than the sellers. Some agents start out saying, ‘I have an offer but you won’t like it; it’s low.’ They’ve forgotten that it’s really up to the seller to decide whether to accept it or not.”

Michele Lerner is a Washington, D.C.–based freelance writer.