This year many states have been enjoying a housing boom, and Texas is no exception. While home prices are up, the inventory of available homes is down. According to Houston Area Realtor’s “Local Market Trends,” statistics taken in the month of June 2012 listed the average number of days a house was on the market at 104. In June 2013, the statistics showed the number of days on the market was 64.
Due to the lack of available homes, and increase in prices, many buyers feel frustrated and overwhelmed by the buying process. However, a little creativity and patience can go a long way in this market.
When the going gets tough, sometimes buyers have to think “outside the box.” When a seller is receiving multiple offers, the buyer needs to think of why the seller would choose his offer over another one. Here are some suggestions, to help get your contract considered.
1. Write the sellers a personal note, letting them know why you want their home.
As silly as it may seem, it does work. Most sellers have a personal attachment to their home. Letting go of the home is not always easy. In a note, share with the sellers why you want to buy their home, and be honest. Maybe you think the home reminds you of the house you grew up in, or you think one of the bedrooms would make a perfect nursery. By writing the note, you’re reassuring the seller that you are going to take care of his home. He will appreciate the fact that you took the time to write to him about it.
Last year I had a client who was temporarily confined to a wheelchair. She needed a home that had doorways wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair. When we found the right home, I suggested she write a note to the seller, explaining her situation. She did, and the seller took her offer. It was a very smooth transaction, because both sides respected the other. All it took was a note.
2. Consider paying more of an option fee.
The typical option fee in Texas is $100.00. That’s not much, when you consider what that hundred dollars does for you as the buyer. It allows you to take ten days (sometimes more, sometimes less) to inspect the home and decide whether or not you want to buy it. The option is part of a legal, binding contract. The seller cannot accept another offer while the home is under contract with you. However, the seller knows that in the option period you can back out for any reason you choose to.
By offering more option money, you are proving to the seller that you are serious about purchasing the house. But keep in mind that if you decide not to purchase the house, the option money is not returned to you. The option check is written to the seller, and the amount you choose to give is credited at closing, but forfeited if you do not buy the home.
3. Offer to pay the title fee.
Typically, in Texas the seller pays for the title fee, and the buyer pays for the survey. If the buyer offers to pay for the title and the survey, that might look more favorable to the seller.
4. Put as much down payment as you can.
The less you show as being financed, the more likely the seller is to be confident about your ability to get the loan approved without delays or rejections.
It is possible to present a good offer in a seller’s market with a little effort and creativity!