5 methods for buyers to get more accepted offers—without spending more money!

Use these strategies to improve your offers without spending more money!!!
These techniques are normally only necessary in a competitive market.
If it’s a “buyer’s market” or the property has been sitting on the market for a while, you will have more leverage as a buyer and there will be less need to employ these techniques to “appease” a seller.

Using dates to your advantage—closing dates and lease-back agreements

Find out when the sellers are hoping to close/move. Would that date work for you? If it does, agreeing to it strengthens your offer. The seller doesn’t need to know that the date is also convenient for you—make it seem like you are agreeing to it to satisfy the seller.

Or, if the seller isn’t sure when they want to close, and you have flexibility, you can indicate that (without committing to any specifics).

If you have flexibility in your current living situation, you may also explore a lease-back arrangement (sometimes also referred to as a “Use and Occupancy Agreement”). Basically, you buy the property but the seller remains for a period of time as a tenant. This gives the seller more time to move, and also they have the proceeds from their sale to use as a downpayment on their own purchase.

If the timing works for you, this is a valuable way to improve your offer without increasing price. Please note—there may be a limit on how long you can lease-back the property to the sellers while still technically having an owner-occupied mortgage. (I believe it is a 60 day limit)

Qualifying contingencies

By qualifying financing and inspection contingencies, buyers can preserve the main protections that the contingencies provide while simultaneously strengthening their offer. As always, you should check with an attorney regarding language, but an example of this would be buyers can agree to assume up to a certain dollar amount of items discovered in an inspection. This protects the buyer against an extremely expensive defect, while letting the seller know that they are not looking to “nit-pick”.

Another example would be to qualify a financing contingency to state that the financing is not contingent on the property being appraised at the offer amount, or that the buyer will absorb some amount in the difference between the offer amount and the appraisal. This is mainly used when a buyer is making an over-asking offer. The seller is less concerned about the property appraising, but the buyer maintains the main protections of the financing contingency (in case of layoff, or for some reason it becomes apparent that the property is not-financeable).

Note—these techniques are normally used in a competitive market/offer situation. If it’s a “buyer’s market” or the property has been sitting on the market for a while, you will have more leverage as a buyer and there will be less need to“appease” a seller.


Conducting a pre-inspection is a great way to greatly strengthen an offer while still conducting an inspection so you feel comfortable in your purchase. By conducting an inspection prior to making an offer, 1. you know what you’re getting into.
  1. You know what you’re getting into.
  2. The offer will not be contingent on the inspection as you’ve already conducted one, which is very appealing to a seller (there is no longer an asterix attached to your offer price).
  3. Your timeline will now be faster (which is normally appealing to the seller).
The downsides of this are that you are paying for the inspection prior to having an accepted offer- meaning there is no guarantee that you’ll be the accepted offer... (though obviously the idea is that you have a much better chance getting the offer accepted).

Because of this, pre-inspections should be reserved for properties that a buyer is very serious about. Sometimes, sellers won’t allow you to conduct a pre-inspection but if they do, it can greatly strengthen your offer.

Include a letter to the seller

Including a letter to the seller, telling a bit about yourself, what you love about the property, and what you hope to do should you live there, can help to personify an offer...It may remind the seller of their original feelings on the property.

I swear I’ve had clients who got their offers accepted based on the creativity of their letters. Some people even include photos. Obviously, this really only works if you are looking to owner-occupy as saying “I can’t wait to add this property to my investment portfolio!” isn’t going to charm many people.

Keep your letter about the human element- don’t explain your offer or get into the numbers etc. That’s what the offer is for. Keep your letters “warm and fuzzy”.

Apply for 2 loans

Sellers will always prefer a loan that has a higher cash-to-loan ratio (or lower loan-to-value- LTV) as it is viewed as less risky. Basically, the more cash, the more appealing the offer. But buyers may want to get a larger loan to keep their cash reserves.

If a buyer has a good relationship with a lender, they can talk to their lender about whether they qualify for a higher LTV. Then they can write an offer with a finance contingency for a lower LTV, but actually finance the purchase with a higher LTV.

The catch is that they both need to be willing to apply for both loans, AND obtain the loan with the lower LTV, IF they are not approved for higher LTV (because this is what they offered). If they didn’t, they would not be protected by their financing contingency.

More tips

This is an overview of a few ideas for improving your offers. But there are more methods: escalation clauses, offering more in the earnest-money deposits (this doesn’t increase the purchase price), getting pre-approvals from known and trusted local lenders...

For more info contact me.

Contact me about buying or selling your home

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