The old aphorism perfect is the enemy of good is well remembered when you’re gauging offers on your home. You can hamstring yourself by holding out for the ideal offer, or you can understand the elements of a realistic and good offer. Let’s look at the latter.
How Much Is My House Worth?
We all want the best offer we can get when it comes to selling our home. That said, we also need to be realistic and to recognize the qualities of a solid offer to buy versus the ideal we perhaps may have in our head. Let’s look at a few ways of parsing this out.
The Ideal Offer
While an ideal offer may look different for different sellers, it will likely carry the following attributes:
- The buyer is either coming in with cash or financing in hand. (See Easy Money: Accepting a Cash Offer on Your Home.)
- There are no contingencies or concessions requested.
- The buyer is flexible in terms of closing time-frame.
Keep in mind that you may not get everything you want in a realistic offer. That still doesn’t make it a bad offer — just one that isn’t necessarily your ideal.
What Should An Offer Contain?
The basics of a valid real estate offer include:
- Address, property legal description, and sale price
- A target date for closure of the sale
- Sale terms
- Type of deed that will be granted
- Other state-specific requirements (for example, disclosures or contract review). See our State-By-State Guide To Real Estate Forms.
But you want more than just a valid offer, right? You want a good offer. The specifics of what that means will vary according to your individual situation, but any good offer will include at least several of the following:
- As few contingencies as possible
- A price that is competitive with your sale price
- Earnest money
- A realistic timeline for closing the sale.
The next best thing to cash-in-hand is a pre-approval letter or bank confirmation that the buyer has the financial backing to buy your home. Pre-qualification, while not as powerful as pre-approval, is also useful when deciding whether to accept an offer.
What Kind Of Offer Can I Expect?
Offers will, of course, range in price. Depending on your home and the market in which you’re selling it, you may see multiple offers, lowballs, and anything in between. You could see zero contingencies or a list as long as your arm. Financing too will range – some may come with cash, others with pre-approval letters, others with problems and requests.
Moreover, the first offer you receive may be the one you want to accept, especially if it seems as though multiple offers are not forthcoming. There are a few reasons for this:
- If you’re looking at a limited buyer pool, this could be the only offer you get for quite some time.
- If you’re pressed for time. If you’ve already found your next home, or you need to move for work-related or other reasons, then you want to make the move sooner rather than later. Chances are that you’re not looking to pay dual mortgages or stretch out this sale any longer than necessary. Time constraints are a major reason a seller may accept an offer that is somewhat less than perfect.
A realistic offer may be one that’s somewhat south of what you would have ideally expected, but at the same time is also an offer that you can live with. Depending on your property, your situation, and your individual market conditions, that may be the best you can hope for.