You listed your Westfield area home for sale and received multiple offers for it. Congratulations! Many sellers dream of being in your position. Now, the hard part. You must decide which home offer to accept. (An embarrassment of riches, right?) Sometimes, however, the highest price is not the best offer. Consider these other important factors before making a final decision.
What to Focus On When Considering a Home Offer
Most of the time, buyers include contingencies with their offer. These are conditions that must be satisfied before closing in order to complete the sale. Common ones include an appraisal, home inspection, loan approval, and sale of the buyer’s current home. If a contingency is not met by closing, the buyer can walk away with their Earnest Money Deposit in hand. Therefore, fewer contingencies usually make for a smoother transaction.
You have heard the phrase “time is money”, right? Well, an offer fitting your time constraints is money, too. Perhaps you need a shorter escrow period because you need to move quickly. Or maybe you want a little more time than 30 days to get everything packed up and ready to move. Whatever your timeframe may be, an offer that fits in those parameters may well be worth a slightly lower offer price to you.
Earnest Money Deposit
Buyers must deposit money into an escrow account to hold as “good faith”. When the sale completes, this money then goes towards the buyer’s down payment. This is their Earnest Money Deposit. If they break the sales contract and walk away from the deal completely, the earnest money goes to the seller. While 1% to 2% of the sale price tends to be the norm, a higher EMD shows how serious the buyer is about the sale. The buyer is less likely to walk away when they risk losing this money.
Finally, let’s talk financing. All-cash offers sound great. They tend to take less time to close and minimize contingencies more often than buyers who must finance their purchase. Unfortunately, a buyer with an all-cash home offer also tends to hold the negotiating power. Therefore, their offer may come in below your asking price.
On the other hand, a buyer whose offer includes financing provides a higher risk. Anything could happen to make the loan fall through during escrow. In fact, according to Rocket Mortgage, approximately 5% of pending sales fall through escrow. A home offer that includes a pre-approval letter makes a stronger claim than one without a pre-approval letter. Even so, a “pre-approval” is not a “final approval”. If your buyer does not receive final approval for their loan, then you are right back where you started…on the market and in search of a new buyer.
Before making a final decision about a home offer, weigh its pros and cons. Ask your REALTOR® for their advice. Their experience can help you make a more informed choice that works best for your individual situation.
Scott Gleason, CRS at Coldwell Banker Realty – East, NJ Luxury Homes