You Might Get a Cash Offer
You Can Expect “Clean” Offers
Another benefit of selling while the market is hot is that motivated buyers will not load their offers with contingencies. When markets aren’t so heavily tilted toward sellers, buyers are able to at least ask for certain terms and then negotiate from there. For instance, they might be able to afford a down payment and mortgage but find themselves short of cash to make some immediate improvements to make the home more livable. In that case, they might include contingencies asking for help paying for new carpeting, a new appliance or two in the kitchen, or even a new paint job if the seller hasn’t already painted the place.
But in a hot market, contingencies largely go out the window. Buyers know that a seller is more likely to accept a “clean offer,” which is one without contingencies, or at least very few of them, as compared to offers that are loaded with demands. With sellers calling the shots, there’s no reason for them to acquiesce to buyers’ demands.
“As-Is” Can Be OK
When buyers get desperate, they are more willing to accept a home that needs some work but is otherwise acceptable. For example, those 1970s-era kitchen cabinets and appliances you’ve meant to replace are going to be fine for a buyer who just wants to get into a home. Other outdated features are easier to overlook, as well.
Your real estate agent will know what upgrades or fixes you’ll need to make and which ones you can skip. Of course, you might be competing with other sellers who have made improvements to their homes in recent years, which could ultimately affect what price you set for your house. Agents for sellers as well as buyers are familiar with “comps,” or comparable sales that have been made in your neighborhood, and what shape those homes were in at the time of the transaction.
Your house still needs to shine. Staging, a process in which you rearrange furniture and décor to fully show off the home, doesn’t hurt. Remove all personal items such as family pictures, declutter, and give your house a good cleaning. First impressions still matter.
You’re In Control of the Offer Process
Once you list your home in a hot market, the offers could begin coming in almost immediately. You might be tempted to jump on what you think might be the top offer. Experts advise you to take a deep breath and hold your horses just a bit. Some savvy veterans of hot markets suggest that you let your home remain on the market for two weekends so that you can host more showings and attract a large pool of interested buyers. This should generate a bigger pool of offers. Since offers usually vary, you should have a wide range to choose from. Somewhere in that range should be an offer that’s as close to ideal as possible.
That said, you should set a deadline for when all offers need to be submitted. That way, you’ll be in control of the time frame of when you sit down with your agent to review them and strategize. If one offer stands out above the rest, accept it and inform the others that they are out of the running so that they can then resume their home search. If you plan to counter the top offer, do it within 24 hours.
Negotiate to Your Advantage
If you are selling your home and planning on staying in the area, you’re going to need to be shopping for a new home and preparing to move, as well. Things in a hot market can move fast, and you might quickly receive an offer that’s too good to pass up. If you haven’t located a new house and don’t want to have to rent while you continue to house hunt, you might be able to buy some time in order to facilitate your move. If that’s the case, negotiate with the buyer to see if they will lease back the house to you for a few months so you can find and close on a new house. You might have to give up something in exchange, like lowering the selling price a bit, but it might be worth it for the peace of mind.