As I sit here today, putting my Market Report together, late on a Sunday night, I have a heavy heart and mixed emotions.
Even though January and February have been very strong months for us in the Real Estate world and it’s been keeping us busy, it has ALSO been tough for many home-owners out there putting offers in and losing the battle!
As I sit here tonight, another two offers fell through for my BUYERS. And this is the story all around.
22 offers and 88 showings!
The market is hopping and the competition has been ridiculous.
And from my experience in the past, we have typically been on the winning side! We prepare clients like we are going in for battle.
So, I thought I would share with you some of the tips I have been giving my clients to give them that EDGE.
Pre-Qualify Pre-Qualify Pre-Qualify
To come in with a strong offer, you need to know you can follow through. It is so important to work immediately with a great mortgage broker or lender and get pre-qualified. This is different than Pre-Approved.
A Mortgage broker will ask you for all your documentation and do a soft check of your credit (without it ruining your credit).
They will ask you all the specific questions that may come up:
- Have you had any bankruptcies in the past
- What debt do you currently have
- Is your down-payment a gift from family? If so, is that money in the country or still coming from outside of Canada?
All of these things will affect how desirable you will be to lenders out there. Ultimately, to get an amazing rate, you need to be desirable to lenders. Mortgage brokers help to shape YOUR story and context. It’s really a specialty.
I will be happy to refer you to my colleagues, Chris Jung and Catherine Mah. They have been phenomenal for all my clients.
Lastly, if you go through this process with a Mortgage Specialist, ask them for a Pre Qualification Certificate or Letter (or both). It has helped us to win many offers.
Another great thing we do to prepare ourselves better in an offer situation is to know the property and go through all the Strata Docs, PDS (Property Disclosure), Title and so on.
Sometimes, if families are putting 5% down payment on a property, then it will be an insured property purchase (CMHC, GENWORTH – NOW SAGEN).
Insurance company’s want to know they are making a sound investment and will want to make sure the property is well kept and taken care of.
Lenders take notes and often will have FLAGS for properties that have not completed work or projects that have had difficulties.
Also some properties may choose NOT to do a Depreciation Report to save money up front. However, lenders appreciate and use those reports to see what upcoming projects need to be done and how the Strata will take care of those capital projects. For example, a roof project or replacing windows.
So, if you are putting in an offer on a place, a mortgage broker can check if there are any FLAGS on a property!
We always want to make our offers attractive to the SELLERS. However, we don’t want to put the BUYERS in jeopardy when purchasing a home as well.
So, if there is time, arrange a PRE-INSPECTION prior to making the offer. This allows you to know what sort of things are coming up in terms of repairs.
Inspectors can check out the furnace, electrical, plumbing, roof, attic and more. Perhaps it’s a Strata and there are some underground parking issues. They can spot that a mile away.
There are also some Inspectors out there that will do a quicker pre-inspection at half the cost, looking at major points of a home (i.e. mold in attic, electrical issues, plumbing issues, roof). This may take an hour as compared to a full 3 hour inspection. This can also set you apart from other BUYERS and signals to the SELLERS that you are a serious contender.
Pre-Read Strata Docs
It can never be said enough. READ THE STRATA DOCUMENTS! I know it’s boring but you MUST read them anyway. You will get a feel for how the strata runs. If they are progressive or reactive when it comes to repairs or dealing with issues. You will see if they follow the rules and bylaws to a T or if they let things slide (i.e. storing things near your parking stall).
If you want a professional look, go to CondoClear.ca In about a 2-3 day turnaround, they can go through the documents and give you a brief report of the highlights to note and any raised concerns. This can cost anywhere between $150-$400 dollars depending on the scope of work. Much less expensive than hiring a lawyer to read through.
It is really important to have your DEPOSIT ready and able to place in a Bank Draft format at a moment’s notice. So, if you have your money tied up in RRSP’s, consider taking them out early and placing them in your checking account, ready to go. Often in markets like these, offers will come prepared with a deposit bank draft attached to the offer. Those are serious offers!
Please note that Deposits form as part of the Down Payment. It is not on top of it. So, if you are putting $50,000 dollars down on a property to the lender, and you place a bid on a property with $25,000 dollar deposit, it means you will owe another $25,000 dollars during completion for a total of $50,000 dollars down payment. Hope that clarifies.
Also, it’s important to note that family or friends can GIFT you this amount if they like. The deposit does NOT need to come from your bank account.
Personalize Offer – Family Photo and Letter
All of my recent winning offers have had personalized elements to them. I send a photo of a family or a personally written note or letter from the family to the SELLER. This is an important touch. Believe it or not, some people may pick a lower price or similar offer with subjects for a compelling story.
If you have been placing offer after offer and continuing to LOSE … well look no further. Some of my buyers have elected to get into NEW BUILDS (or PRE-SALES). There’s a lot of benefits to them including:
- You often don’t have to compete in multiple offers
- They give you a 7 day rescission period to get out of the contract for ANY reason at all. No subjects
- We can often negotiate the deposit structure
- We can sometime negotiate other upgrades (i.e. laundry or flooring to be included, AC, bonus credits applied)
The only downside? You may have to wait a year or two for it to be built. Also, you have to remember there is ALWAYS GST (5%) added to New Builds. But hey, that’s better than paying $100,000 dollars over asking price, right?
Great Realtor Relations
Have your Buying Realtor build a good rapport with the Listing Realtor. Asking questions like, “what will it take to give our buyers that edge”, or asking about the preferred closing dates of the SELLERS. This can go a long way in building a trustworthy relationship.
I have WON many multiple offers doing this alone.
As a listing realtor, when you are bombarded with 20 offers, you have to recommend the strongest offers. Sometimes it’s not always the highest number or the best dates. A realtor’s reputation goes a long way. If I work with Pre-Qualified Buyers and have a good reputation of follow-through, then a realtor on the listing side will make note of that in future transactions.
I think that is good for now. I hope this gives you an edge when purchasing your dream home.
If you would like me to represent you in your PURCHASE, give me a shout at 604-657-2660 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy to assist and advise.