How to Win a Home Offer – from Top Buyers Agent

win home offer buyers agent

Are you in the market for a home in Portland this summer? Whether it’s your first time buying a home or it’s just been a few years, let’s take a closer look at what goes into a successful home offer.  

First, Portland Real Estate Market News

If you’re entering the Portland home buying market this July or August, be prepared to compete with other buyers for in-demand homes in the below median price range. Homes in the lower price brackets are still in high demand, while the luxury market remains cool in most (not all) areas. Medium priced homes are selling quickly right now, but that market will cool a bit in July and August – our highest inventory months of the year.

On a budget? Successful buyers will look for homes that are approaching the 50- or 60-days-on-market threshold, which is when home sellers start to think about accepting lower offers.

Along with a number of new homes going on the market, the best thing you’ve got going for you as a buyer right now is low mortgage rates. Home loans are very affordable right now, and you could lock in that low rate for 30 years or whatever the life of your mortgage is.

Portland Home Offers: The Basics

An “offer” is defined by Merriam-Webster as “an expression of readiness”. In real estate, an offer is a document that states that you, the buyer, are ready to commit to buying the home. It includes the price you’re willing to pay and all other details relevant to that transaction. The offer becomes a legally binding contract as soon as the seller accepts it. Of course, the seller can reject or counter the offer instead — but we’ll get to that in a minute. 

An offer to purchase a home or other piece of real estate includes five crucial elements:

  1. The “who” and “what”. This part of the offer states who you are and who the sellers are. It also provides a legal definition of the home that the offer is for. 
  2. The money. The “meat” of the agreement! This part states the price being offered and the how that money will change hands, whether through cash, a mortgage, or some combination thereof. A key aspect of the “money” part of the offer is stating how much earnest money will be offered. This part of the offer also describes the expected closing costs and who will cover them. 
  3. The closing. Stating exactly when you want the home sale to be final and the keys to change hands is a required part of the home offer.
  4. Contingencies. As we stated above, the offer becomes a legal contract as soon as the seller accepts, so it’s important to have back-out clauses, or contingencies. Some are standard and expected in most real estate transactions: Contingent on inspection, contingent on appraisal, and contingent on financing. 
  5. Items included and excluded from the sale. This list of items can cover everything from sheds to window treatments (just to be safe), and whether they should go to the buyer or the seller. Typically speaking, whatever is physically attached to the home or property stays.

This list just highlights the elements of a home offer that are most relevant to buyers, but it’s important to note that there are many other aspects of this potential contract that your real estate agent should include. The “fine print” is just one reason to have a good buyers’ agent who can take care of these details. Pro tip: don’t work with the first buyer’s agent you meet! Interview one or two and take their credentials and experience into account. Our top 1% Portland buyer’s agent is taking on new clients.

When an Offer becomes a Negotiation

So, you found the home of your dreams, you submitted the offer, and now you’re done!

Just kidding. In most cases in Portland, the seller is going to want to negotiate with you. In fact, if this is the first offer they’ve received on the home, they’re most likely going to wait past your offer deadline to see if any other buyers will want to make an offer and create a competitive situation.

Of course, if it’s the home of your dreams, you’ve got to make an offer. So what do you do when you receive a counter? 

  1. Don’t panic. Sometimes a counter isn’t about the price; the seller may simply need a different closing date, or they need to keep an appliance. 
  2. Be timely. All offers have an expiration date. If there are other homes you want to see before you decide to accept or reject the counteroffer, get it done quickly. 
  3. Counteroffer with confidence. It’s not uncommon to have one or two counters go back and forth before buyer and seller agree.
  4. …but don’t get caught up in the game. If your personality leans toward the competitive side of life, be wary of making decisions in the heat of the moment that you’ll regret later. In other words, don’t pay too much for a home just to prove something, and don’t let a great home buy go just to save a few hundred dollars.
  5. Know the sweet spots for home sellers. You may not be able to offer a higher price for the home, but home sellers can be motivated to accept your offer in other ways as well. If you can offer more earnest money, this is a very effective way to improve the chances of your offer being accepted. Shortening inspection and appraisal windows and closing on the home sooner may be another way to sweeten the deal. 

Whether you need a home yesterday or you’re able to wait until the Portland housing market’s high inventory season (every July and August), our top 1% buyers’ agent specialist is here to help. Get the negotiations right with an expert on your side. Take advantage of low mortgage rates and find your Portland dream home.

July 1, 2019

Stephen FitzMaurice

Stephen FitzMaurice, Realtor is a top 5% real estate agent in the U.S. and a top 1% agent in the Portland Metro. Principal Broker in Oregon, Managing Broker in Washington he has been licensed since 2003 for residential real estate sales in the Portland Metro area. Call him direct: 503-714-1111.

Pay less (4.5% commission max.) and get more with his top 1% listing team or buy your next home with his excellent top 1% buyer’s team. We work from Salem, Oregon to Vancouver, Washington and beyond. Check out our full services areas on the top menu.