6 Tips for Making An Offer a Seller Can’t Refuse

9085229_sIn this tight market sellers are often getting multiple offers on their homes – IF they are priced right, in good a location and well kept.   That’s good news for sellers but can cause anxiety for buyers.

The good news for our buyers is we have years of experience representing both buyers and sellers over the past decade.  This gives us a clear understanding of what each side wants out of a contract.  Potential homeowners represented by a Realtor who exclusively brokers for buyers is missing out on this critical insight into the seller’s point of view.

Here are our 6 tips for making an offer a seller can’t refuse:

1.  Get pre-approved vs pre-qualifed.

It’s an important distinction. Having a mortgage lender pre-approve you means he or she has verified your income and reviewed all your credit reports to determine that you can indeed afford the payments on the mortgage for a specific amount.  It’s a more in-depth process and shows strength in your ability to get the financing needed to buy the home.

2. Make your first offer your best offer.

Now is not time to test the waters with a low offer.  Its unlikely you’ll get a second chance to sweeten the deal and you’ll probably be left in the wake of the successful buyers.   But don’t just go in swinging either. We always advise our clients using carefully gleaned up to the minute data on comparable homes recently sold in the neighborhood. Those sold figures combined with your pre-approval amount will get you where you need to be.

3. Escalation clauses are back in style. 

An escalation clause lays out your specific plan to offer an increased price if there is a higher offer from another buyer.  The escalation clause should always include your ceiling figure, or the dollar point where you’ll walk away from the house.

 4. Write a bigger earnest money check

The earnest money deposit is usually established as a percentage of the home’s price.  Offering a bigger deposit is a signal to the seller that you are very serious about the house.   These deposits can be refundable if the contract is cancelled for specific reasons outlined in the agreement.

 5. Counter balance contingencies

Sellers don’t want contingencies, but buyers need to protect their interests too.  So counter balance normal contingencies like financing with your pre approval letter, a strong earnest money deposit and down payment.  Appraisals are another frequent contingency requiring the home to appraise for the contracted amount.  If you have enough funds, you can waive the appraisal requirement if it comes in at a lower amount and cover the difference with your cash.

 6. Share your feelings in a letter

Several of our successful clients have written the sellers a letter to go with their offer to buy.  It’s a personal touch that helps the sellers visualize you as the next owner of their home.  Explain in detail what appeals to you about the home and the neighborhood.  Add a little about yourself, like where you are moving from and why.  It’s a personal touch that combined with the other five suggestions helps tip the scale in your favor with a successful offer to buy.


I am a Boulder County real estate specialist. Over the past three years, I have earned the distinction of being named a 5280 Five Star Realtor. This puts me in the top 7% of all Realtors in the Denver Metro Area for customer satisfaction. If you would like to schedule a buyer or seller meeting with me, please feel free to call me at 303-579-1617 or contact me by email.


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