In the competitive world of residential real estate, making your offer stand out from the competition is crucial. One highly effective way to do that is by presenting a clean offer.
But what exactly is a clean offer, and how can it make it easy to buy or sell a home?
In this article, we dive into the details of clean offers and explain their advantages, components, and how to present one.
Table of Contents
- What is a Clean Offer?
- Benefits of a Clean Offer
- How to Write a Clean Offer
- Make Better Deals with a Clean Offer
- Real Estate Love Letters: Are They Legal?
- Zombie Foreclosures: How to Find and Buy Abandoned Real Estate
- How to Profit from the Misfortunes of Opendoor & Other iBuyers
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What is a Clean Offer?
A clean offer is a term used in the real estate industry to describe a straightforward purchase offer that has minimal contingencies and is more likely to be accepted by the seller. Clean offers are generally perceived as low-risk and hassle-free, making them more attractive to sellers.
Whether you’re looking to buy your first home or make smarter real estate investments, clean offers have a lot to offer you.
Benefits of a Clean Offer
Quicker Closing Process
A clean offer typically involves fewer contingencies and roadblocks, thus speeding up the closing process. This benefits both buyers and sellers, allowing each party to move forward with their plans more quickly.
A faster closing process can significantly benefit home sellers for several reasons. First, it allows them to access the proceeds from the sale more quickly, which can be crucial if they need funds for a new home purchase or other financial obligations.
Second, a faster closing reduces the risk of the deal falling through due to unforeseen circumstances, such as changes in the buyer’s financial situation or market conditions.
Finally, a quicker closing process typically alleviates stress and uncertainty for sellers, enabling them to move forward with their plans and focus on their next steps.
Less Complicated Negotiations
A clean offer often lessens back-and-forth negotiation, as the terms are straightforward and there are fewer issues to be resolved. Streamlined negotiations will make the process less stressful for both parties for several reasons.
For sellers, a straightforward offer with fewer negotiations minimizes the need for time-consuming back-and-forth discussions, allowing them to make an informed decision in a timely manner within a shorter period.
For buyers, less negotiation means a greater chance that their offer will be accepted, which will enable them to secure the property they desire.
In addition, both parties can benefit from the reduced risk of miscommunication or disagreements derailing the deal, ultimately fostering a smoother and more satisfactory transaction experience for everyone involved.
Higher Chance of Acceptance
Clean offers appeal more to sellers, as they have a lower risk of the deal falling through than offers with contingencies that represent uncertainty and risk to the seller. Less cumbersome clean offers will increase the likelihood of your offer being accepted, especially in competitive markets.
How to Write a Clean Offer
- Provide a Large Down Payment
- Make an All-Cash Offer
- Consider Waiving Contingencies
- Offer Flexibility on Closing Dates
Provide a Large Down Payment
One way to make your offer stand out is by providing a large down payment. A substantial down payment demonstrates financial stability and commitment to the purchase, which can be appealing to sellers and lending organizations. Offering a larger down payment than the typical 20% can give you an advantage over other buyers.
On top of that, a higher down payment reduces the buyer’s loan amount which will reduce the risk of a home being assessed lower than the amount the buyer needs to borrow. A lower mortgage will also equate to lower monthly mortgage payments and decreased interest costs over the life of the loan, which will make the buyer an attractive applicant to mortgage lenders.
Lastly, a large down payment will also eliminate the need for Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI), which is typically required for down payments of less than 20% of the sales price.
Make an All-Cash Offer
If possible, making an all-cash offer can significantly increase your chances of having your clean offer accepted by the seller. Cash offers eliminate financing contingencies and often lead to faster closing times since there’s no need for lender approval or underwriting processes.
In recent years, more options have been made available to homebuyers that need to sell their existing homes. Specifically, firms are helping homebuyers with the “timing issue” of needing to sell their existing home quickly once they have made an offer on a new home.
Consider Waiving Contingencies
Contingencies are conditions or clauses, such as inspection or appraisal requirements, that must be met before finalizing the sale of property ownership transfer between buyer and seller. When a contingency is not met this provides a legal right for either the buyer or seller to walk away from the deal, with minimal to no financial penalties.
Though most contingencies are set by buyers, sellers can also include contingencies, such as a Kick-Out Clause, which allows sellers to continue to market their home, while the buyer is attempting to sell their current home.
In general, offers with fewer contingencies will be more attractive than offers with more contingencies.
Evaluate Risks Carefully
Before waiving any contingency clauses, ensure that you fully understand the potential risks involved with doing so. An experienced real estate agent knowledgeable with local laws can help guide you through various options, which is especially important when making an offer in a highly competitive market. At times, for example, it may be sufficient to shorten contingency periods.
One contingency we would never recommend waiving is the Title contingency, as you should only ever purchase a home with a clear title. This means that the seller is legally able to sell the property, that no one else has claims or liens on the property, and that rightful ownership is not in legal dispute.
To create an enticing clean offer, considering waiving the following two contingencies:
Home Inspection Contingencies
Waiving home inspection contingencies can certainly make your offer more attractive to sellers, but it’s essential to weigh this decision against potential issues that may arise from not having a professional assessment of the property.
Keep in mind that this does not mean you have to waive the home inspection altogether, rather it typically implies that the buyer will not walk-away from the deal due to findings in the inspection, or require any repairs or price reductions.
In other words, you can consider waiving home inspection contingencies without waiving the home inspection itself. In this scenario, the buyer would at least have a better understanding of the condition of the home prior to the move-in date. Findings could then be used for prioritizing repair to-do-lists, as well as scheduling any major renovations or upgrades, prior to moving into the property.
Another approach to take is to limit contingencies to only major defects (e.g. above a certain dollar amount), such as foundation issues, mold, or faulty roofing.
Lastly, and most importantly, even if you choose to purchase a home without conducting a home inspection or requiring any inspection contingencies, sellers can still be held liable for non-disclosure of known defects. This includes properties sold as-is.
If you’re confident in your ability to secure financing and have been pre-approved for a mortgage, consider waiving the financing contingency. This shows the seller that you are serious about purchasing their home and reduces any concerns they might have about delays or the deal falling through due to financing issues.
However, it is important to note that waiving the financing contingency could cause the buyer to lose their earnest money deposit and may be forced to purchase the property regardless of their ability to secure financing.
Having sufficient cash reserves to cover an appraisal gap (e.g. the difference between the fair market value determined by an appraiser and the amount you agreed to pay for the home), will further reduce the risks of not being able secure financing for your home purchase.
Offer Flexibility on Closing Dates
Sellers often prefer buyers who are flexible with closing dates as it allows them time to find their next residence or complete other necessary tasks before vacating their current property. Sellers can also provide closing flexibility by offering a turnkey home. By being accommodating with the closing date, you increase the likelihood of having your clean offer accepted by demonstrating understanding and cooperation during negotiations.
Make Better Deals with a Clean Offer
Incorporating these tactics into your real estate offer will help create an appealing, clean offer that stands out among competing bids. Always consult a knowledgeable real estate agent who can guide you through each step of crafting an irresistible proposal while ensuring all legal requirements are met, including fair housing laws.
Writing a clean offer can help you get the best deal possible when buying a home. On the seller’s side, understanding the perks of a pristine proposal can assist you in making an informed selection that will suit your needs and time constraints, while reducing risks of the deal falling through.
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