How to give our buyers a fighting chance in Texas
Updated: Mar 4, 2021
The past two years in Texas Real Estate has been challenging to say the least. With many areas seeing upwards of 20 offers on a single property, agents often struggle with how to give their buyer-clients the best possible chance of winning the contract on the home. Our Texas contracts contain several important items that shouldn’t be overlooked in importance. By increasing our buyer’s overall desirability, we can greatly increase our buyer’s chances. Let’s explore a few strategies to help improve our buyer’s odds. None of this is to be construed as legal advice in any way shape or form. We are Real Estate Agents and Brokers, not attorneys.
It’s Only Money
Agents and clients can focus too much on the sales price. By finding ways to increase the seller’s net proceeds without impacting an appraisal, we can often beat out the competition.
Title Policy – In a more balanced Texas market, we typically see the sellers paying the title policy. However, moving this expense to the buyer side can be very attractive to a seller, since it immediately increases the seller’s net proceeds at closing.
Earnest Money – Nothing says “skin in the game” like a hefty amount of earnest money. Consider increasing the amount but make sure that you operate within the rules of the contract and exercise the option period carefully to make sure that you don’t risk your buyer’s money.
Residential Service Contract – For many years, many of us routinely put a home warranty in the contract to be paid by the seller. Home warranties average between $500-$600. In the event a buyer would like to purchase a home warranty, they can typically can do so at closing or directly from a home warranty company after closing.
Option Fee & Option Period – Sellers sometimes believe that a shorter option period and a higher option fee indicate seriousness on the part of a buyer. Be careful here, and be proactive with the home inspector. It’s a good idea to get a jump on scheduling the inspection. Be careful not to allow parties to actually conduct the inspection until you have an executed contract in hand.
Non-Realty Items – Avoid asking for everything and the kitchen sink. All other things being equal, asking for the fridge and patio furniture just might be the difference between your buyer’s offer and one of 20 other offers on the table.
Moving Is Hard and Timing is Everything
People rarely enjoy the moving process and sellers often find that they have way more to move and sift through than it appeared on the surface. Here are a few ways to make a seller’s life just a little bit easier and in doing so, win he contract.
Offer a short-term lease – We strongly recommend that you check to make sure this isn’t an issue with the type of financing your buyers are utilizing. Allowing a seller 1-2 weeks to vacate a home can be a real difference maker when comparing offers. Large families and sellers who have lived in a home for many years may find the move much more challenging than initially thought.
Be realistic about a closing date – Nobody likes smoke and mirrors. Make certain that you have a conversation with your buyer’s lender about how long they really need to close the loan. Offering a 21 day closing date is never a good plan in a market where appraisals and lenders are overworked and understaffed and it can ultimately, lead to heartbreak for your buyer.
Communicate, communicate, communicate – We have all dealt with that agent who won’t return phone calls, text or emails. Remember, empathy doesn’t convey in a text or email. Talk with the listing agent, build a rapport and be an advocate for your buyers. Be the agent that the listing agent “wants to work with”.
Learning Must Be Ongoing
By learning and growing as an agent, you can give your clients their best possible advantage. Know your market, know your contracts and know your company policies. Act ethically and be morally responsible in all that you do. Learning must always be occurring.
Debbie Remington is the owner/broker of Remington Team Realty (remingtonteam.com) in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. She is a retired 911 dispatcher and is married to a retired police officer. She is also the inventor of the Real Estate Mentor App. For more information, please visit www.myrementorapp.com.