Buyer's Blog Update 4/5/21
You may already be aware that Oahu is experiencing the strongest seller’s market since 2006 and many properties receive multiple offers within days. Half of the single-family homes are taking eight days or less to sell. While the offer price is important, it is not the only reason why a seller will choose to accept an offer.
A significant percentage of sellers have become emotionally attached to the home that they are selling and have established strong friendships with the neighbors. Finding a buyer or family that has fallen in love with the home and will be a great neighbor is often more important than the highest offer price. We have worked with sellers that have turned down offers from investors because they do not want the neighbors to put up with problem tenants or have the house rented to tourists. Some sellers are not interested in selling the house to someone that is going to tear their home down and build a McMansion. Maintaining the neighborhood charm is very important to them and they do not want to be the reason that the neighborhood vibe changes or is ruined.
Writing a thoughtful letter to the sellers may be the reason that convinces the seller to accept your offer over a similar or slightly better offer. Great offer letters include introducing yourself and/or your family, reasons why you are looking to buy a home in the neighborhood, and what features you really like about the home and neighborhood. I have highlighted a couple of success stories.
Tim has a tennis friend who wrote a letter to the seller of their house describing how she grew up playing tennis, played tennis in college, and wanted to buy this house so she and her fiancé could live close to the Kailua Racquet Club where they were planning to join. The seller was a member of the Kailua Racquet Club and the tennis connection was part of the reason that their offer was accepted.
Tim and Tracey have clients and friends that were living in a two-bedroom Kailua townhouse. They had bought the home before they had kids and now had two small children and a dog. The townhouse was busting at the seams and they needed a bigger place. A three-bedroom townhouse became available in the same complex located in one of the best locations in the complex. Tim and Tracey helped their clients write a letter that described how much they loved living in the townhouse complex, that their kids had many friends living there and could be found biking around and playing in the common areas, and that the wife was the president of the Parent-Teachers Association (PTA) at the neighborhood elementary school. Their offer was accepted even though it was not the highest priced offer.
While a great introductory letter can help make your offer the winning bid with some sellers, many others will choose the highest sales price or the most favorable terms independent of the buyer’s plans. The Wall Street Journal recently published an article describing the lengths that some buyers took to get their offers accepted. In a few cases, the effort paid off. In many other cases, the seller took the highest and best offer.
Talk to your buyer’s agent and come up with a strategy that makes your offer as strong as possible. If you do not have one, contact us and we can help you present the best offer possible.