5 Buyer Strategies to get sellers to choose your offer

Touring prospective houses can feel like wandering through an infinite, imaginary desert: You’re tired, you’re cranky, and you’re not sure if the experience is EVER. GOING. TO. END.

So, when you’ve finally found “The One,” it’s an amazing feeling. You can already picture your first brunch in its adorable breakfast nook.

But wait. Before you summon the moving truck, your dream home’s seller has to pick you, too. Luckily, the key to locking down your ideal abode doesn’t always mean offering the most cash. Here are 5 Buyer Strategies to get sellers to choose your offer.

#1 Negotiate with a Smile

Unlike most commercial real estate transactions, the buying and selling of a home is complicated by all kinds of emotions, explains Robbyn Battles of Battles Real Estate at JohnHart in La Canada Flintridge. Often, how the seller feels about you can be more important than your money.

“People tend to do business with those they like and trust,” she says.

One of Robbyn’s favorite examples of this phenomenon occurred when one of her clients simply wanted their home in escrow fast. While there was an offer for more money the seller felt the laundry list of demands and concerns from the other buyer were a red flag which made the seller feel uncomfortable and the actions of the buyer were signs of unreasonable demands to come for the seller.

Lesson learned? “Don’t nitpick over items that are insubstantial, like a torn window screen or a $50 valve on a hot water heater,” says Battles. “This will anger a seller more than anything.” And that, she says, could be a deal breaker.

#2 Get Personal

Profit is not always the seller’s primary motivation. In a recent deal representing an older couple selling their long-time family home.

“We had two offers: one from an investor paying cash, the second from financed first-time buyers.”

Despite recommendations, the sellers chose the first-time buyers, even though the cash offer was higher and would have been a much simpler transaction. Ultimately, what mattered most for Robbyn Battles clients was to pass their beloved home on to a deserving young family.

#3 Figure Out the Seller’s Unique Motivation

Understanding why the sellers have put their home on the market is yet another powerful tool a buyer can bring to the negotiating table, says Battles.

“Some sellers want a quick sale; others need time to find a home. Some are focused on price, others on certainty,” she says. “There are so many intangibles. It takes a deep understanding to make a good deal for everyone.”

See what information you can glean about the seller — from your agent or the listing agent. Arm yourself with as much information as possible. Don’t assume dropping your agent and having the listing agent represent you will get you the house.

“The more flexible a buyer can be on closing and possession, the more likely they’ll be able to secure the property,” agrees Battles. “They’re giving the seller peace of mind and the comfort of not having to rush out.”

#4 Write a Love Letter

Sometimes, a heartfelt note from a potential buyer can make all the difference, even when the chances seem pretty slim.

Tell your story. Relate your story to the sellers home. One letter I received from a buyer on behalf of a seller I represented said this, “I grew up in an old house, and the sellers had done a really great job of maintaining and renovating this one,”.  In the letter, the buyer talked about growing up in a similar house, and how much she respected the owners’ efforts to preserve their home.

Although we had multiple offers, the sellers chose the buyer they had an emotional tie to. “It turns out the seller really wanted someone who would keep the house rather than tear it down,” she says.

Though it felt like a long shot, the note was successful because it was genuine. Robbyn’s advice? “Write a letter only if you’re really in love with the house, not because someone told you to.”

#5 Work With a Pro

It also helps to have a knowledgeable, well-respected pro on your side — someone who understands market realities and who will work well with the seller’s agent.

How do you find that seasoned pro with the sterling reputation? “Ask for referrals from your personal and professional network, and interview at least three different agents before you choose the one you feel most comfortable working with,” advises Battles. In addition, work with someone that is proactive, meaning your agent is aggressively looking to find you a home, they don’t simply rely on properties being emailed automatically to you. Lastly, if you are not comfortable and confident in your agents’ abilities find another agent. Your friend may sell real estate but if they work in a totally different area they may not be the best agent to represent you.

Residential real estate is a game of both head and heart. Smart buyers who employ both are the ones most likely to win the home of their dreams. If you are looking to buy or sell and want to start the process Robbyn Battles can be reached at 818-249-7492 or via email Robbyn@Thehouseagent.com.