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Buying in a seller’s market

Buying in a seller’s market

ask phyllis a real estate question

Dear Phyllis,

When is it time to find a new Realtor®? My wife and I have been looking for a home for several years.  We just can’t seem to find an agent who knows how to get our offer accepted. We have a large down payment, (nearly 25%), a high FICO score and because we are renters we can close sooner rather than later. In this insane market, structuring an offer and presenting it in a way that gives us an advantage is critical. How do we find an agent who can help us to buy in a seller’s market?


Dear Ralph,

It is a very difficult and emotional time for home buyers.  There is no secret to writing a winning offer.  It often boils down to price and terms. Was it you or your Realtor ®who decided on the offer amount?

I recently had clients with a 40% down payment write an offer. Because of their large down payment, they were in a position to waive their appraisal contingency which they did. The seller received more than ten offers and my clients were bested by another offer coincidentally with a similar large down payment, but $10,000 higher in price – the seller accepted the higher offer. My client didn’t even have the opportunity to increase his offer as the seller decided not to counter. It boiled down to their initial offered price. I knew the seller’s agent and she pushed for the seller to give my buyer a counter, but because they were light on offered price, they didn’t get it.

Each home seller has different needs and each will handle the offer process differently. But just to put this market in perspective: Buyers with twenty some percent down payments and high FICO scores are on the low end of the totem pole. Your down payment is competing with cash offers and other buyers with substantially larger down payments. Sad but true, it is a seller’s market. You are competing with both cash buyers and buyers who, because of their larger down payments can waive appraisal contingencies.  Most of these buyers have equally impressive FICO scores, and many are better qualified than you.

Unfortunately, there is no real estate magic, you just need to find a real estate agent who you believe is working hard and networking on your behalf. They could/should be sending letters to expired listings and exhausting all avenues to help you find your dream home.

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