Ask A Realtor: How do I become the preferred buyer in a seller’s market?
On Real Estate
Dear Mary and Alida: I am looking to relocate to the Vail Valley and find myself constantly on the backside of offers and opportunities. It seems like every other buyer is one step ahead of me. Homes are either already under contract or with multiple offers by the time I find something I like. Any tips on how I can become a preferred buyer?
— Frustrated Buyer
Dear Frustrated Buyer: It can be absolutely heartbreaking when you’ve placed an offer on a new home to find out your offer was not accepted. The market in the Vail Valley has definitely picked up over the last couple of months. Many people are realizing they can work remotely and the appeal of “mountain life,” with more open space, less traffic, cleaner air, and all the other lifestyle benefits, have prompted a greater-than-anticipated interest in the region.
Following are some recommendations to assist you in staying informed about the real estate market in the Vail Valley as well as options to help improve getting your offer accepted:
Work with an experienced broker
While the internet is a fabulous tool and can be a starting point for initial market research, nothing compares to the inside track a good broker brings to clients. This is especially true in a seller’s market, such as the one we are currently experiencing in the Vail Valley.
A good way to qualify a broker is by asking about their market watch tools and services and the ability to find out about homes coming on to the market, which comes from living and working in the valley. In addition to their contacts, they should also offer to put you on a property market watch list for homes that come to market in your price range and also meet some of your other criteria, such as location, number of bedrooms, etc.
Once you find a home you like, consider some additional incentives when you make an offer. These can help give greater weight and consideration to your offer over others:
Increase earnest money
Sellers like to see that you have a little bit of skin in the game. Once a seller has accepted an offer, they traditionally lose other potential buyers and/or offers, leaving the seller at risk if something should happen with your offer. Remember the earnest money is part of your down payment, also known as your cash at closing. Offering more money prior to the day of closing helps demonstrate to the seller you are serious about the home.
Add some flexibility to move-in dates and deadlines
If you can, give sellers some flexibility on moving out. This can “sweeten the pot” and have them give higher consideration to your offer over another one. Again, a broker can help find out a seller’s interests and priorities. Finding out what their priorities and motivators are can be a key element in crafting your offer. If they are moving into a new home, having some wiggle room can mean a lot based on their needs and timing. Selling, closing and buying in one day or even a couple of days can be really stressful. If you can, consider offering for them to stay in the home for two to three days after closing. If they want to move out sooner, talk with your lender and broker to see if they think it’s possible, but be willing to pay for a rushed appraisal.
Avoid a bidding war
Write your best offer the first time. Avoid trying to negotiate to see what they “might” come back with. Make your offer say, “I want this house.” Instead of splitting the transfer tax (if applicable), offer to pay the tax as well as possibly the closing cost and/or the title insurance. Another option, and one that a good broker should be able to make a solid recommendation, is to look at current market value, neighborhood and general appreciation for homes in the area, and consider an offer a little above asking price.
Hopefully, some of these ideas will help secure your next new home here in the Vail Valley. Most importantly, write a solid offer and one that makes sense to you and helps you get the home you desire. Good luck!
Mary Gorski and Alida Zwaan are longtime Vail residents and award-winning broker associates with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Colorado Properties, a locally owned real estate firm with eight offices spanning from Vail to Gypsum. Their expertise ranges from mid-priced range homes in the lower valley (Mary), to Vail’s luxury market (Alida). Honors include a 2019 Presidential Circle Award for Mary and 20 years as a Legend Award recipient for Alida, placing her in the top two percent of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices realtors nationally. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 970-331-9619 and email@example.com or 970-471-0291.