Buying a House? How to Stand Out When the Competition is Tough

September 13, 2019

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We’re in the heart of prime homebuying season, and as a buyer, that means competition is stiff — especially in some of the nation’s more high-demand markets.

Fortunately, that doesn’t mean buying a home is impossible this time of year — it just requires a bit more creativity.

Are you looking to buy a house but are coming up against bidding war after bidding war? Here are six things you can do to stand out:

Write the sellers a letter.

Before submitting your bid, type up a letter to the sellers, detailing what you love about their home, why you want it, and maybe a bit about your family or your personal journey toward buying a home. In a process that can seem very cold and money-based, adding a personal touch like this can go a long way — especially if you’re the only buyer to do it.

Act fast.

When the market is hot, time is of the essence. Be sure to have alerts set up for homes within your price range and have your agent on speed dial to set up immediate showings. Once you’ve found a home you like, don’t dawdle. Submit an offer that day and let the seller know you’re interested. It doesn’t always guarantee you’ll get the house, but sometimes, simply being first is the best way to get the seller’s attention.

Enlist a great agent.

The right real estate agent can make all the difference. First and foremost, you want an agent who knows the local market and who’s responsive. They need to be available by phone, text or email when a potential property crops up, and they should be able to draw up an offer within a few hours when you find a place you love. You’ll also want an agent with solid negotiating chops and a good professional network. These traits can both give you a leg up when the market is booming.

Make it easy on the sellers.

Sellers don’t want to cover thousands in closing costs, home warranties and repairs before they offload their property. Like anyone, they want an easy, simple and affordable process — and buyers who are willing to give that to them? They’ll move to the top of the list. If you really want to stand out with a seller, minimize the requests you have of them. You can also waive contingencies, like the appraisal contingency or the inspection contingency. These both allow for a faster and more convenient sale for the seller.

Offer more earnest money.

Earnest money is what you pay a seller to show your interest in the home. The money is held in escrow until the transaction closes, and if you back out of the deal against your contract, the seller gets to pocket that deposit and keep it themselves. Because of this, the higher your earnest deposit is, the better. A large earnest money deposit shows that you’re confident in your ability to purchase the home — so much so that you’d put your hard-earned dollars on the line to prove it. It also provides the sellers with a financial safety net in case you back out (and they’re back to square one with a new buyer.)

Get preapproved.

Finally, your best bet is to simply get preapproved for your mortgage before submitting an offer on a home. This shows that you’re committed to buying a home, that you’re a safe bet for mortgage approval, and that the seller can be confident in any offers you submit. If you’re up against buyers who have not been preapproved, it can really make you stand out amongst the crowd.

More Ways to Stand Out

There are other ways to stand out, too. If you can afford to pay a higher price for the home, you can also include an escalation clause. This automatically increases your offer (up to a certain threshold) if other competing offers come up. You might also have your agent ask the sellers about their ideal closing date. Sometimes, accommodating this in your offer can be what puts you over the edge.

Do you want to make sure you stand out when buying your new property? Then get preapproved with Premier Nationwide Lending today.


Premier Nationwide Lending is an Equal Housing Opportunity lender. Sponsored by NTFN, Inc. 700 State Highway 121 Bypass, Suite 100, Lewisville, TX 75067 NTFN NMLS 75333.

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