It was only a few years ago that the last thing a prospective St. Cloud home buyer had to worry about was being outbid. Those were the days when the bottom seemed to be falling out of the St. Cloud real estate market. Anyone brave enough to be looking to buy at a time when the real estate market was frightening most folks away was not only plucky—they were also alone. Sellers who had to move no matter what found themselves forced to accept offers that they knew were well below their property’s true utilitarian value. The only saving grace was that those same sellers could turn around and buy in their new community at the same kind of crazy discount.
That, as they say, was then—and this is now. As the real estate market in St. Cloud continues to revive, sellers’ mindsets have returned to normal. Knowing that their St. Cloud home is a valuable commodity, they demand offers that are respectable. One national survey found that that buyers are acting quickly on the most sought-after homes, and that overall, median DoMs (Days on Market) fell to 32 in March from 40 just a month earlier.
As the spring selling season heats up, some buyers who find the home of their dreams may also suspect that they aren’t alone. It calls for definitive action—and if it looks as if just making an offer might not win the day, some additional action. For home buyers who have a good idea that they must act decisively or miss out, here are some options for increasing the odds that their offer will be accepted:
One tactic to prevent being outbid is to add an escalation clause to the offer. If allowed, such a provision states if the seller receives another offer, then the buyers are willing to increase their own offer to a set price. For instance, a home buyer who makes an offer of $310,000 might include an escalation clause in increments of $3,000 should a competing offer appears, up to a maximum of $360,000.
Since people have different reasons for selling their home, another tactic is to discover what's important to the seller. Perhaps they have a new job opportunity and need to vacate as quickly as possible. Or maybe they have plenty of time, and are holding out for the maximum price. Your agent may have a good idea what is motivating the sellers so that you can craft your offer around their requirements. If a normal schedule calls for an inspection period of 10 days, but the sellers want to move quickly, they may be motivated by a shorter inspection period.
Usually, home buyers find it prudent to keep the upfront earnest money pledged to a minimum, allowing them more leeway in limiting their loss if they decide to back away from the deal. Increasing the earnest money shows the sellers you are serious about completing the purchase. It also subtly affirms your financial stability. An even more substantial demonstration is to become pre-qualified with a mortgage lender. Unless an all-cash purchase is possible, it’s the best way to guarantee you will be able to act quickly. Even if competitive bidders appear, when you are a pre-qualified buyer, you increase your chances of winning out.
When I’m tapped to act as your buyer’s agent, I become your advance scout and strategic partner as you explore this spring’s exciting St. Cloud real estate market. I hope you’ll give me a call!