Sure-Fire Strategies for Presenting an Offer

  • Get buyer's permission. Obtain the buyer's permission to disclose evidence of his or her eligibility for financing to the seller.
  • Cover all key points. Be sure to cover all the key points of the offer, not just the price.
  • Look for motivation. Look for something in the offer that will tie in with the sellers’ motivation. If they are buying another house and need to sell before they close, for example, reinforce that point before you present the offer.
  • Show buyer's soft side. Make the buyers human to the sellers before presenting the offer. Spend a minute or two telling the sellers some personal details about the buyers and how much they loved the house.
  • Join forces with the sellers. Reassure sellers that you're working for them. Never say “my buyers,” say “our buyers.”
  • Don't disparage the sellers’ property. Don't say: "This is a good offer because your house is in a high-crime area and needs a lot of repair." Say instead: This is a good buyer for your property because he sees its potential. You won't need to paint or make major repairs."
  • Avoid telephone presentations. A seller can say “no” over the phone, but “yes” requires a signature. Simply say, "I want to discuss the terms of the offer in person. Is 7 o'clock tonight OK?" If you must present an offer to out-of-town sellers via telephone, set up a conference call when everyone can be present.
  • Summarize. Keep the contract out of sight until you're ready for the seller to read it. While you're discussing the offer, put a blank sheet of paper on the desk and write down the offering price, the downpayment, and the proposed settlement date.
  • Stop talking. Let the seller read the contract uninterrupted.
  • Be thorough. Go over each paragraph of the offer, explaining what it means and how it affects your client.
  • Get agreement on smaller points, like leaving behind draperies or appliances. This creates a climate of acceptance for the larger issues.

Source: Adapted from “How to Present and Offer,” by Danielle Kennedy (The Real Estate Professional, May/June 1992)

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