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Get Your Offer on Top of the Pile

Monday, November 30, 2020   /   by Maria Zuniga

Get Your Offer on Top of the Pile

So, you have found the “perfect home” and you are writing your offer.

Market conditions mean that you will likely be one of several offers!

How to get your offer selected above these many others?

In other words, how do you “Get your offer on top of the plie”?

We have specific techniques that substantially improve (but of course don’t guarantee) your odds of a successful bid!

But is it critically important for you to take these important preparatory steps BEFORE you write that offer!


What is driving the appearance of low inventory is the rapid sale of inventory.  Homes are getting snapped up in days instead of months and sellers are realizing increased sales prices due to the crush of buyers vying for any one purchase opportunity. 

However, it is important to understand that the Number of Properties that go into Active Sales status and the number that go into Under Contract status have both actually INCREASED in Los Angeles County as compared with the same month last year. More homes reached the market, and more went under contract in 9/20 than did in 9/19! There is actually plenty of inventory-it just trades extremely rapidly!

The “flow of home inventory” to the market is strong so this is not the limiting factor in your purchase!

If you would like to know why market conditions are so “inventory limited” in appearance and how, in actuality, that is a buying opportunity, check out our first article in this series:

Multiple Offer Madness Understand the Metrics

To our frustrated buyers, we do not recommend waiting, but we encourage patience!  These historically low interest rates are not likely to increase for at least several months per the Federal Reserve.  Additionally, the confluence of the Millennial 1st time home buyers, Gen X move-up buyers and Boomers “right-sizing” means the buyer pool has exploded.  These factors, coupled with the post COVID-19 demand, and low interest rates have created a frenzied race to home ownership.

How to maintain your sanity, still achieve a purchase and not have buyer’s remorse?

Proper planning can tame the frenzy and frustration. The following are our first 5 steps to help you maintain your sanity, find the right home and “Get your offer on top of the pile”.


1.      Clearly Identify your “Must Haves” vs “Desires”.

Understand and write down the top ten “Must Haves” in a home and location.  This is especially important if you are purchasing with a partner/spouse.  The very act of making a list (separately at first) and then reviewing and comparing your lists into “Must Haves” vs “Desires” creates clarity and is your touchstone with each property you view.  Take your list with you.  If the property does not line-up, pass.

2.      Research Location

Identify what geographic area that works for you.  Apply your “Must Haves” to a city and neighborhood.  Start broad with internet research and then dive deeper into the target city.  For resources, check the Chamber of Commerce to see how businesses are supported and promoted, the School District to understand locations and scoring, local activities, restaurants, shopping, medical facilities, natural features, access and driving times. If you live far away from your desired destination, take a trip, drive around the neighborhoods, stay for several days or a week.

3.      Be “Preapproved” not just “Prequalified” for a Loan.

If you need a loan to purchase, be prepared.  Establish a lender relationship (We can assist with vetted referrals) and review preliminaries so you can establish your affordability factor.  When you have the comfortable price range for your purchase bracketed, do not stop there.  Get the process underway to apply for the loan.  You want to be in the position as a Pre-Approved buyer so that you can be competitive against any other cash offers.

4.       Understand your Post Purchase cash budget for renovations.

 Are you a fixer buyer?  Or, due to down payment and cash constraints, will you need a “move-in ready” home?  This must be understood so that you do not buy a property that is a fixer, and then find you do not have the extra cash to fix it up post-closing.  If you are a fixer buyer, you must understand the cost of the fix up program right up front.  In order to not “overpay” for a home you need to understand the “as-is” value of the home, how much desired renovations will cost and the ultimate question is “what will it be worth post-renovation”?  You do not want to overpay for the “as-is” and then pay more just to make it comfortable to live in the home. 

5.      Consult a local Realtor –

Real Estate is hyper-local. There can be difference in values, condition, schools sometimes with just one block separating homes.  In the Beach areas, as an example, the price range within a 2-mile range of the beach can vary by hundreds of thousands, to millions, of dollars.  Each neighborhood has its personality and no one neighborhood is right or wrong. . . you only need to find the one that is right for you.   Also, the “Art of the Offer” is nuanced.  It is, of course, price -  but it is also how terms are written, the give and take of a counteroffer, the Realtor’s research regarding the property and its condition that will support your purchase. In the Greater South Bay our team is positioned to provide excellent service - please reach out!

Dave Salzman

The Salzman Team with Engel & Voelker’s LA-South Bay.  Dave has been “making deals happen” for over 38 years, is an expert in the South Bay marketplace and backs it up with his own deep understanding of the local area and real estate finance.  Dave is backed by a team of 10 dedicated agents looking forward to making our clients’ home buying dreams come true.

Salzman Real Estate Team ENGEL & VÖLKERS • LA - South Bay
Dave Salzman
1147 Highland Ave
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
DRE# CalBRE#: 00952732

Based on information from California Regional Multiple Listing Service, Inc. as of June 30, 2022. This information is for your personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties you may be interested in purchasing. Display of MLS data is usually deemed reliable but is NOT guaranteed accurate by the MLS. Buyers are responsible for verifying the accuracy of all information and should investigate the data themselves or retain appropriate professionals. Information from sources other than the Listing Agent may have been included in the MLS data. Unless otherwise specified in writing, Broker/Agent has not and will not verify any information obtained from other sources. The Broker/Agent providing the information contained herein may or may not have been the Listing and/or Selling Agent.
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