Coming off the frenzied Atlanta 2021 real estate market, it's hard to imagine things could get tougher for home buyers, but they are. Many factors are at play/still in play so it's not all real estate related, but buyers don't really care what's causing their consternation; the fact is that right now (late Feb '22), buyers are stumbling and bumbling wondering how to get offers selected. It's a beauty contest and the most appealing offers are getting selected.
The average mortgage rate is a good 1% higher than twelve months ago, with an expected 3-5 Fed rate bumps over '22. Home buyers are rushing to buy ahead of additional rate and/or rent increases, some will be trapped on the hamster wheel of renting. Inventory is even lower than last year and no one is expecting a major change any time soon. Add to the mix Wall Street and corporate investors circling like apex predators. How do home buyers get their offer selected? Here's a video with a ton of real world advice...
Most Likely to Succeed
Trigger alert - winning an offer is like a beauty contest. Home buyers that "win" tend to:
- Be very competitive on price. At or above list price may be required
- Know cash is king. Princes are conventional loans with as much down as possible
- Offer 3-4% in earnest money and deposit it within a day of contract
- Waive contingencies like inspection, appraisal, and financing
- Learn what is key to seller and try to accommodate them
- Keep things simple, no nonsense stipulations or asks
This is the market right now (late 2/22). Sellers are demanding - and getting - buyers to waive checks that are intended to provide a level of risk management. Is that smart? Depends on how motivated the buyers are and how well educated they are to the proclivities of the market. Many buyers are done; they've lost enough to know what it takes to win. Others come to Atlanta with pockets bulging with cash, they're fine running off the locals because in most cases, the value here is far better than where they come from.
"We appreciate your offer, the seller decided to move ahead with a different one". A hard no and not even a snack or participation trophy. Buyers must decide if they are serious buyers; that's not sarcasm, that's pragmatism. This market is unlike any prior one, there are buyers that must and will buy a home. These buyers are the successful ones, the majority take measured risks which they must to be successful. They determined the level of discomfort that they're willing to endure. Is it price? Contingencies? Closing date? A rent back? It's likely they will have to give on something. This market mandates evaluating all options and picking the best even if it's not perfect. Contract options which buyers might consider and sellers are likely to find appealing:
- Maximize down payment - work with the lender to provide the best case scenario
- Right to inspect - this allows for inspection but with narrow limitations, use very carefully
- Appraisal gap - offer to cover a portion of any shortfall
- Escalation clause - sharp opinions on these, use very carefully
- Shorten time frames as much as possible
- Rent back - allow the seller to remain in the home for a while, use very carefully
- Option money - offer additional money to allow due diligence, use very carefully
Most important, learn from the rejection. What can be done or done better next time? For some buyers, it's just going to be very hard; buyers with FHA, VA and similar loans will find it very difficult to compete. Many of these programs have requirements that cannot be waived. For these buyers, the max effort has to be given to finding a seller motivation that's not tied to the contract process.
The Agent Situation
As always, the benefit of working with seasoned, experienced professionals cannot be overstated. Contracts are legal binding documents; mistakes or poor decisions will be expensive, time consuming and emotionally draining. Experienced agents know what questions to ask and many listing agents prefer working with seasoned agents, that can be an advantage. It should be obvious as well, NEVER allow dual agency; where the listing agent is the only one in the process. ALWAYS have dedicated representation. Buyer agents are responsible for keeping buyers grounded and economically safe, it's easy for emotion to over run common sense.
The Hank Miller Team puts 30+ years of full time sales & appraisal experience to work for you. Act with complete confidence & make sound, decisive real estate decisions. 678-428-8276 and firstname.lastname@example.org
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