How To Make A Winning Offer On A Home In The Tampa Bay Area

Dated: March 29 2021

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How to Make a Winning Offer on a Home in The Tampa Bay Area

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Today’s homebuyers are faced with a strong sellers’ market in the Tampa Bay area of Florida, which means there are a lot of active buyers competing for a relatively low number of available homes (We have less than a month's worth of active housing inventory in Pinellas County right now). As a result, it’s essential to understand how to make a confident and competitive offer on your next home. Here are 5 tips for success in this intense stage of the homebuying process:

1. Listen to Your Experienced Real Estate Agent

Your experienced Realtor buys homes for other people everyday, let them help you get one too. From the start, it emphasizes how trusted real estate professionals can help you stay focused on the most important things, especially at times when this process can get emotional for buyers:

“Remember to let your homebuying team guide you on your journey, not your emotions. Their support and expertise will keep you from compromising on your must-haves and future financial stability.”

A real estate professional should be the expert guide you lean on for advice when you’re ready to make an offer. The Sandy Hartmann Group has been helping their clients buy and sell homes in the Tampa Bay area for over 30 years and are typically ranked as a TOp 10 Agent in Pinellas County, out of over 6,400 other Realtors! Trust us when we say we've got this for you! Some of our tools for getting you that home you want involve strategic escalation clauses and contingency language, a detailed analysis of a home's value based on the surrounding market, home inspection/repair advice, and so much more!

2. Understand Your Finances BEFORE You Make an Offer

Having a complete understanding of your budget and how much house you can afford is essential. The best way to know this is to get pre-approved for a loan early in the homebuying process with a reputable lender. Only 44% of today’s prospective homebuyers are planning to apply for pre-approval, so be sure to take this step so you stand out from the crowd. In today's housing market, many sellers won't even review an offer in the pile that isn't accompanied by a pre-approval letter and/or proof of funds. Doing these things makes it clear to sellers that you’re a serious and qualified buyer, and it can give you a competitive edge in a bidding war. In this day and age, the majority of sellers won't even review an offer that isn't accompanied by a loan pre-approval letter and/or proof of funds. Keep your offer at the top of the pile by making sure both of these items are ready and waiting when you find that dream home!

3. Be Prepared to Move Quickly When You Find That Perfect Home!

According to the latest Realtors Confidence Index from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the average property sold today receives 3.7 offers and is on the market for just 21 days. In the Tampa Bay area of Florida, these numbers are even more competitive, with the average home sitting on the market for 7 days or less. Recently, we received over 20 offers on just one single-family home listing that escalated a good amount above the listed price in the MLS! These are simply results of today’s competitive market, showing how important it is to stay agile and alert in your search. As soon as you find the right home for your needs, be prepared to submit an offer as quickly as possible and make sure your Realtor pays attention to the submission requirements and deadlines in the Realtor remarks portion of the MLS (that you as a buyer, can't actually see).

4. Make a Fair Offer Based Off Market Stats

It’s only natural to want the best deal you can get on a home. However, Freddie Mac also warns that submitting an offer that’s too low can lead sellers to doubt how serious you are as a buyer. Don’t make an offer that will be tossed out as soon as it’s received. The expertise your agent brings to this part of the process will help you stay competitive. If your agent shows you a report that says homes are selling on average, for 101% of the list price in the neighborhood you're looking in, trust that data and make a similar offer on the house you love, over asking price. The same advice goes for putting an offer in on a home in a neighborhood where homes rarely come up for sale. If your agent tells you it's going to get a lot of traffic and offers, trust them and write the most competitive offer you can:

“Your agent will work with you to make an informed offer based on the market value of the home, the condition of the home and recent home sale prices in the area.”

5. Stay Flexible in Your Negotiations

After submitting an offer on a home, the seller may accept it, reject it, or counter it with their own changes. In a competitive housing market, it’s important to be flexible throughout the negotiation process. You can strengthen your position with an offer that includes flexible move-in dates, an offer to pay the seller's closing costs, a higher price, or minimal contingencies (conditions you set that the seller must meet for the purchase to be finalized, such as appraisals, inspection timeframes, etc). Freddie Mac explains that there are, however, certain contingencies you don’t want to forego:

Resist the temptation to waive the inspection contingency, especially in a hot market or if the home is being sold ‘as-is’, which means the seller won’t pay for repairs. Without an inspection contingency, you could be stuck with a contract on a house you can’t afford to fix.” 

Today’s competitive market makes it more important than ever to make a strong offer on a home. Let’s connect to make sure you rise to the top along the way. Instead of waiving your inspection contingency, you might consider making the contingency period as short as possible and/or only asking for credits or repairs on major items. If you're buying a fixer upper, that's marketed as such, don't expect the seller to make any repairs and use the inspection simply to confirm that the home is in the condition you expected and that your renovation budget is realistic. 

Bottom Line

Today’s Tampa Bay housing market makes it more important than ever to make a strong offer on a home. Connect with us at The Sandy Hartmann Group to make sure you rise to the top along the way and get the home you really want!

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Jesse Lee Templeton

Originally from Ohio, Jesse prides himself on providing unmatched real estate services and market knowledge in the Tampa Bay, FL real estate market. He is committed to offering real estate solutions t....

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