Summer Selling Season
Memorial Day weekend marked “opening weekend” of Lake Tahoe and Donner Lake. It also marked opening weekend of the listing season for real estate. Sellers typically aim to put their home on the market on or before Memorial Day, as traditionally, we have more buyers visiting our area.
So, what does that mean for you? Well, if you’re a buyer, it means your competition has increased astronomically.
As a local or first-time buyer, knowing the majority of properties in North Lake Tahoe and Truckee are owned by second homeowners, it’s easy to see the cards as being stacked against you in the home-buying process.
But how can you make your offer stand out in the busy season?
Whether you’re a first-time buyer, local, or a second homeowner, the following helpful tips will make your offer stand out:
• Choose an agent willing to do their homework. Studying the comparable listings and sales in your area will help you gauge a competitive price per square foot, as well as determine a fair value for a garage, lake view, flat lot, and other characteristics that apply to the home you would like to purchase. With this information, you can establish a fair and enticing purchase price.
• Urge your agent to be in touch with the listing agent to find out what is important to the seller. For example, maybe the sellers are an elderly couple who are dreading moving their furniture out of the house upon close of escrow. You may offer to keep the furniture to make the sellers’ lives easier. Perhaps the sellers are going through a tricky divorce and are hoping to close this deal in a timely manner. An offer with a quick close may gain more traction. The key is figuring out what is most important and address these items in the original offer.
• Write a personal letter to the seller. Explain why this is the perfect home for you, what you love about it, and the memories you hope to create. Selling one’s home can be an emotional process, and developing a personal connection can help your offer stand out.
• Ask your agent to present the offer in person. Being in a second-home market, it may be tough to sit down in front of each seller personally. However, your agent should be able to secure a personal meeting with the listing agent. Have you ever noticed how easy it is for people to be harsher behind the keys of their computer versus when having a conversation face-to-face? The same thing applies when submitting an offer.
• Recognize that purchase price is only one of 26 negotiation points on the California residential purchase agreement, even though the offer price will be the first thing a seller wants to know. An example of another negotiation point could include the buyer offering to pay for all closing costs, which are typically split 50/50. Being aware that your offer will be evaluated on all of these points and not just the price, and tailoring it as appropriate, will make it more appealing.
• If your offer comes in lower than the asking price, it’s easy for the listing agent to immediately write it off. However, if your agent has the opportunity to look the listing agent in the eye and explain why you’re coming in at that particular price point, you’ll have a better shot. Your agent can explain that while the purchase price may be lower than they are asking, the terms of the offer (keeping the furniture, quick close, etc.) benefit the seller’s needs.
I once asked my mentor if he was ever nervous in this business, and his answer was, “not if I’m prepared.” Be prepared.
The utmost important factor when negotiating through a tough deal is to ensure the communication lines are flowing between you and your agent. You may hear terms thrown around that you may be unfamiliar with, and that’s perfectly understandable, but be sure to ask for clarification.
Don’t get discouraged. With the right preparation and agent on your side, the odds will be in your favor.
Amie Quirarte is a Tahoe City resident and licensed real estate agent in California and Nevada with Tahoe Luxury Properties. She can be reached at amie@TLUXP.com or (650) 290-3008.