I think there is a lot to be said for standing out from the crowd. It’s as good in business as it is in life. My style as a realtor certainly sets me apart from others and I think that’s a good thing. It’s becoming especially important in this tight housing market and even more so for first time home buyers.
The problem is that first time home buyers are often in competition with prospectors, investors, and flippers, all of which usually look better on paper and want to close more quickly than the average first time buyer. Often times, first time home buyers are FHA buyers that aren’t flush with cash. You can understand why a seller might be very tempted to go with the cash and carry guy.
So let me make an argument for the first time home buyer. I have always believed that first time home buyers are the foundation of the real estate market. That’s why I do several different things to help those folks stand out in the crowd and win the day.
1. GET YOUR OFFER IN QUICKLY. This needs no explanation. In a tight market, the right house could get multiple offers. A good one might get snatched up in a few days. If you want it, make an offer.
2. MAKE SURE THE BUYER’S OFFER IS COMPLETE and leaves nothing for the seller’s agent to follow up with. This includes:
- A complete contract and offer to purchase. I repeat, completely filled out — no blanks!
- All disclosures completed and signed. Usually the disclosures are attached with the listing on MLS. If they are not, the buyer’s agent should call the listing agent to provide prior to placing offer.
- Copies of both Earnest Money and Due Diligence checks.
- VERY IMPORTANT!!!! Provide a Pre-Qualification letter. If the bank has already agreed to give you the money for the house, then we need to let the sellers know ASAP!
3. GET A TRUSTED AND CUSTOMER SERVICE ORIENTED LENDER/LENDING AGENT. This is huge for a couple of reasons
- Communication between lender and buyer. The buyer will be unfamiliar with the lending process they need to be able to communicate and ask questions of their lender.
- The lenders I recommend for my first time home buyers will call listing agents and affirm them of our buyer’s lendee health. Huge bonus!!!
4. MAKE THE OFFER CLEAN! What do I mean by that? Don’t ask for a lot of stuff. Focus on price and time.
5. SWEETEN THE DEAL WHERE YOU CAN. A huge and often overlooked point of leverage is the Due Diligence fee and/or time frame. The seller is very vulnerable and exposed during the Due Diligence period. The buyer can walk away for any reason or no reason at all during this period. A healthy Due Diligence fee or a shorter period of time will absolutely get the seller’s attention. If the buyer is courageous they can offer to take the house AS-IS and not ask for any repairs. This is also huge for sellers.
6. PUT YOUR BEST OFFER FORWARD. If the buyer can offer more and they are confident the property can appraise, go in as strong as possible on price.
7. BE NICE AND COMMUNICATE WITH LISTING AGENT. This one goes waaaay further than anyone gives it credit for. When I am representing a first time home buyer on a hot property, I make sure I begin a dialogue with the listing agent. I don’t want to waste their time and I don’t, but I do ensure that they have some idea of who the people are that are trying to buy and live in the house that they are selling.
For most people who they sell their house to holds some emotional weight. It is also great for neighbors and neighborhoods to know and like who is moving in. Some first time home buyers write letters to sellers this is great too.
I have always enjoyed working with first time home buyers. It’s so satisfying to secure a place at the home ownership table for buyers who will love, live in and ultimately sell a better home then they found onto the next buyer. I am happy to stand up for those buyers any day!