WinThe story of our market during the last few years is one of few homes available for homebuyers to choose from and the best homes selling quickly, often at escalating prices. In markets like this it is more important than ever to make sure you can put your best foot forward when you find a house that fits your goals. Today’s buyers should consider the following 5 steps towards putting together their winning offer.

Be Prepared

Homebuyers must get pre-approved before beginning the home buying process. Not only will this ensure the buyer is shopping for the correct homes, but today’s seller is not interested in a buyer that cannot produce a solid pre-approval letter. Many lenders vary in their procedures so buyers should talk to their lender to see how far into the approval process they can get before they have selected a home. A more involved lending process will allow for a quicker closing time and will stand out among other buyers. Likewise ensuring you have a respected and trusted lender will benefit you if you end up competing against other offers. With many offers coming down to the little details a pre-approval from a reputable lender may be the tipping point for the sellers to favor your offer.

Be Fast

When you see a new listing that looks attractive you should make every effort to see the property as soon as you can. Other buyers are waiting for great new listings to hit the market just like you are. If you wait an extra day or two, or expect to visit at the open house, then you may find there are already offers on the table that you will need to compete with-or the home may be gone all together.

To stay on top of the newest listings sign up for our app available on iTunes and Google Play to access information more accurately and timely than national portals like Zillow and

You can also sign up for MyStarkHomes at Follow the “sign in” link in the upper right corner and select us as your preferred agent. You’ll receive accurate information about new properties faster than agents from other firms using the MLS. Yes…it’s that quick.

Be Aggressive

When you are submitting an offer on a property new to the market you may not want to see what you can get away with. Now is the time to go get the home you want before other buyers enter the mix. Remember, the longer you spend negotiating the deal the longer you are allowing the seller to market the home to your competition. Once you are competing with other buyers you are no longer in negotiations…you’re in a bidding war. Also keep in mind that what amounts to a few thousand dollars in purchase price may only cost you a few dollars each month. Look at the big picture and make sure you put your best foot forward.

While pricing is always a key factor, a good agent will help your get creative with other contract clauses that will help you remain protected but set you apart from other buyers. Ask your agent what else you can do beyond price to be aggressive in winning the bidding war.

Remove Contingencies

As your buyer’s agent we will almost always recommend you protect yourself with contingencies that are important for your situation. However, we must also consider all factors when putting together an offer. Are you able to carry two mortgages for a few months if you can’t sell your home on time? Would you be willing to test for radon after you’ve moved into the property? Did the seller have a pre-inspection completed that you feel good about? Do you want to set limits on contingencies by accepting certain levels while still protecting yourself against catastrophe? You may need to get creative in order to stand out amongst the crowd.

Appeal to Emotion

Write a letter to the seller explaining why you love the house. Remember, the seller has made memories and established in the home that you are interested in purchasing from them. For some sellers knowing that the next owner will love and care for the home as much as they did will be enough to elevate one offer over the competition.

Sometimes winning means scoring a great deal and buying a home for a discount. But often in today’s market winning simply means getting an accepted offer and closing on what you’ve decided is the best home on the market for you and your family. Keep this big picture in mind when you consider what it means to “win” as a homebuyer today.

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