How to get an offer accepted in a competitive housing market

Erik Sandstrom

Mortgage Expert - Call 1-619-379-8999
Staff member
Loan Safe Mortgage
When you’re making offers on potential future homes but they aren't getting accepted it’s time to re-consider how you are making the offer. Another crucial factor is going to be how competitive the market is in your area. If you're reading this my guess is that you have been put into back up position on the offers that have been submitted. My goal within this article is to help educate you as a potential buyer as well as the agents involved in the transaction to lead to you getting the home you desire.

Before we get into details, I’m going to explain my experience here in the San Diego, California housing market as of April 2018. Personally, I am making offers on homes and have been also put into second position multiple times even after making some extremely competitive offers. I took measures into my own hands and used some of the methods below and as of today we now have an accepted offer!

We have a serious lack of inventory and certain price points all the way up to 600K are extremely desirable. These homes are being listed and going into escrow within a few days with a quick close or cash offer. The homes that have been sitting on the market give you a slight edge but in most cases the properties need a large amount of work which many buyers are not willing to take on that task.

Below are some bullet points of what I did and recommend doing:
  • First and foremost, get FULLY pre-approved in Underwriting, once you do this you can make an offer with as little as 14-21 day close of escrow. This gives you an edge against the people asking for 30 day closes. This is NOT what is considered automated underwriting, many lenders will trick you and say you’re pre-approved when you really aren’t. if you would like me todo that for you, please apply online here:
  • Submit the front page of your credit report without any personal or confidential information to show you are a strong buyer (if you have a high credit score of course)
  • Submit the offer with a shorter close of escrow, shorter contingency period for inspections and appraisal. This will assure the seller that you are a solid buyer and not going to back out.
  • Give a high earnest money deposit – the earnest money is going to go towards down payment & closing costs anyhow so you might as well go big or go home. If your loan for some odd reason is denied, you should be able to get your earnest money back without issue.
  • Have your agent or loan officer help you write a letter(with pictures of your family) that will be living with you. In many cases these sellers are leaving their family home and love their neighbors. They don't want to sell the house to someone that can cause a nuisance to the neighbors. Showing pictures of you and your family along with a quick/short bio will hit the seller emotionally and your offer will stand above the rest.
  • Make an offer FAST, don’t wait! I personally believe that I lost out on at least one offer due to someone else getting it in before I did(even when their offer was less than mine). What I believe happened is the selling agent went back to the first offer and countered based on what we initially offered. Do I think this is fair? No, but it does happen.
  • Have your loan officer make a video to the listing agent to let them know what they have done to ensure a quick and timely closing.
  • Create a relationship with the selling agent while you are looking at the property. Don’t walk around and talk about all the things that are wrong with the house, compliment what they have done to it and when you get back in the car to head home you can chat about what you may want to change about the home.
  • Stay in the open house for a while, listen to the people coming in and out of the home. Are they neighbors, are they potential buyers or is someone even talking about making an offer on the home. This will tell you how hot the property is and give you an idea of what you need to offer.

Once you have found a home that you love and take these steps the next thing to consider is what you are going to be offering on the home. One thing that my agent told me that I didn’t take for granted was how much do you love the home. If you love the home and can’t see yourself anywhere else, make the offer high and in some cases over asking in a competitive market.

What happens if the appraisal doesn’t come in as high as what you offered? Depending on how the purchase contract was written will determine how this will go. Ultimately you don’t want to be paying more for a house than what it is worth but in areas like San Jose, CA people are offering100K over asking on every property on the market. If there isn’t a stipulation in the contract where you are paying the difference between the appraisal and offer you are not required to do so and would want to go back to the drawing board with the selling agent.

My honest opinion is we are going to be dealing with this type of market throughout 2018 and possibly even 2019 depending on what happens with interest rates. If the rates go up significantly we’re going to see affordability start to diminish and home values will remain flat or possibly go down. I do not believe we are going to see a crash like we did in 2008 with how difficult loans are to qualify for these days. That means jump in while you can otherwise the boat will have sailed.

Each and everything I have mentioned within this article is important in its own way. I don’t recommend doing one of these things and not doing the others. Please also take note that every market is different and the realtor you choose to represent you will have the best understanding of what needs to be done in your area.

If you have any questions, would like to get pre-approved(in underwriting) or you’re just sick and tired of losing the offers you have made on homes – call me we can set everything up to give you the best edge possible. We are an FDIC bank licensed in all 50 states. 619-379-8999 or [email protected]


LoanSafe Member
Hi Erik! Thanks for sharing all these helpful tips and recommendations to help increase the chances of my offer getting accepted. This is so informative and I'll be sure to keep these things in mind as I'm planning on buying a house in an upcoming housing community in Innisfil. You can click here to learn more about it, what made me so interested in buying a house there is that it's so close to a beach which is something that I've always wanted ever since so hopefully everything goes well.

*comment edited by moderator 7/20/2021 - spam*
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