Making a Competitive Offer in West Chester, Liberty’s Red Hot Real Estate Market
Anyone scouring real estate for sale in West Chester or Liberty Township, Ohio right now probably knows we’re in a sellers’ market. The economy has recovered. The job market is good. People are finally ready to buy houses again.
The problem is: there’s a huge lack of inventory here in the Cincinnati area. This is great news for people trying to sell their homes. But for homebuyers? Not so much. People looking for homes in West Chester and Liberty routinely find themselves in the throes of a bidding war. It’s never easy to watch the home of your dreams slip through your fingers.
It’s easy to feel defeated after losing out on a home time and time again. But that doesn’t need to be the case. You just need to be making more competitive offers.
So, what does it take for West Chester and Liberty homebuyers to make their offers stand out from the pack? Here’s what I’ve learned from my experience as a realtor over time:
Start by getting your financial ducks in a row.
Sellers are going to want to know that you have the financial wherewithal to move forward with the deal (and in a timely fashion). Not only should you submit a copy of your pre-approval letter with your offer, but you may also consider submitting copies of bank statements as proof of the down payment you’re committing to. This is especially important if you’re competing against all-cash offers.
Know the Cincinnati market. Really know the market.
If you’re looking at houses for sale in West Chester or Liberty Township, you should get to know these markets so well that you can spot bargain from a mile away. At a minimum, you should know the fair value of the property and be ready to make an offer accordingly. If you don’t know the market, you might be tempted to make a low-ball offer that will get tossed instantaneously. . (Shameless plug: this is why it’s so important to enlist the support of a real estate agent that is hyper-focused on your area.)
Be ready to jump.
Don’t think that you can go tour the property over the weekend. When a West Chester or Liberty Township home comes on the market that you’re interested in, have your agent get you in to see it ASAP. It doesn’t matter if there’s an Open House a few days later – see it now, and be ready to make an offer right away. Many Sellers will cancel scheduled showings for the right price!
Lead with your highest and best offer.
This is a good way to stand out from cash buyers. Many cash-buyers low ball with the hopes of enticing Sellers with an easy transaction. But some Sellers aren’t in a rush, and would rather reap the highest value even if the deal takes longer to close. So offer you highest and best offer up front. Keep in mind that many homes are selling for at or above the listing price, so an offer that looks for a significant discount off the listing price probably won’t be competitive.
Consider this: the median sale-to-list-price ratio in West Chester Township is 98.4%. It’s the same ratio in Liberty Township. Homes aren’t selling for a huge discount off of the purchase price. So if you love a home you see, come in with a strong offer right away. Throwing in a few thousand dollars extra will have barely any impact on your monthly mortgage payments when financed over a 30-year period.
Waive contingencies—like home inspection or appraisal.
While I really hate recommending this (contingencies are meant to protect buyers), the reality is that contingencies can put deals at risk. If you’re going to waive a home inspection, be sure to have someone who knows a thing or two about real estate join you on the tour of the property (or at least, have them do a visual inspection before you submit a final offer). Only waive the appraisal clause if you have enough cash on hand to cover the gap between a low appraisal and your offer.
Don’t ask for Seller concessions.
Pay your own closing costs and don’t fight with the Sellers about leaving the washer and dryer behind. If you want the house, skip the ticky-tack negotiations. In a hot market like West Chester or Liberty, those costs will prove a drop in the bucket if you’re able to avoid a bidding war.
Figure out the Sellers’ pain points.
There’s usually a specific reason people decide to sell their home. That reason can really influence the offer they ultimately decide to accept. If the Sellers attend the Open House (not recommended, but many do!), use this as an opportunity to build rapport. Learn why they are selling. Do they need to relocate for a new job (and close quickly)? Are they selling to buy another home (and perhaps could use to lease-back the property while looking for another)? Craft your offer based upon what you learn to make the sale more favorable given the Sellers’ circumstances.
Speak from the heart.
Some agents have mixed emotions (no pun intended!) about writing a personal letter to the Seller, but I’ve seen it work. Many Sellers are highly attached to their property—it’s where they raised their children, hosted parties and shared Sunday dinner with extended families. Tap into these feelings by submitting a letter to the Sellers with your offer that talks about how you hope to love and cherish their home similarly. A little good will can go a long way, especially when up against offers from investors and developers.
Buying a West Chester or Liberty Township house in today’s market is no easy task. Bidding wars have become more common and buyers are expected to pull out all the stops if they want their offer to be accepted.
If you’ve been stuck in a rut and your offers keep being declined, give me a shout. I’d love to hear the approach you’re using right now. Let’s see if we can’t make a few tweaks to make your offers shine!