To say the housing market in Greater Boston is competitive right now is a huge understatement. While this can spell opportunity for sellers, buyers are frustrated by limited options and multiple offer situations on the houses they love. Luckily there are a few strategies that can help those offers win the property.
Besides price - which is of course going to be the biggest factor - the most common reason for an offer to be rejected is that it includes contingencies where competing offers don't. In a multiple offer situation, sellers are going to choose not just the highest price, but the offer that has the best chance of a smooth closing with no surprises along the way.
If one buyer has a home sale contingency and the others don't, that offer will be less appealing since the sellers would face the uncertainty of waiting to see if the buyers' current home sells before they can complete the transaction. Financing and inspection contingencies are important in minimizing risk for buyers but can also make an offer less desirable in comparison with offers that are non-contingent.
What buyers can do is try to meet the sellers' preferences however they're able. A good buyers' agent will always find out which variables are most important to the sellers besides price and sometimes something as simple as adjusting the closing date by a few weeks in either direction to accommodate the sellers' needs can make a substantial difference.
Buyers should always sell their current house before shopping, or confirm with their lender that they can carry both properties temporarily to avoid a home sale contingency. Having a proof of funds letter or strong pre-approval in place before house hunting is essential. Increasing earnest money and/or deposit amounts is another way to give the sellers added confidence.
While waiving an inspection entirely carries added risk, buyers can include an inspection threshold where they would only attempt to negotiate issues with the sellers if repairs exceed a certain amount. This tells the sellers that buyers won't nitpick or use the inspection as an excuse to walk away unless there are major problems.
Buyers should be prepared to move very quickly on properties they're interested in and usually that means looking at quite a few homes prior to making an offer so they're going in with a solid frame of reference, increasing their confidence when they do move forward on something. It also helps to be prepared to write offers on a few properties before one is accepted.
We encourage buyers to shop a bit under budget to allow room both for improvements needed on a property that needs work and to make over-asking price offers that have a higher chance of acceptance.
In a market with tight inventory, having a good buyers' agent is key. We know how things are changing in the local market, have relationships with other agents and can often introduce off-market properties that offer our clients additional options that they may not otherwise have access to.
There may be some challenges in this market but buyers are closing on new homes with the right strategies and a little bit of patience.