You’ve found a house you love and made a good offer. Unfortunately, it was rejected. What gives? Although home sellers don’t have to explain why they pass up what seems like a perfectly fine offer, they do have their reasons—and it’s not always just because a higher bidder came along. Sometimes it’s you. Here, Realtor.com tells you what not to do or say when you really want a house.
Your offer letter revealed a little too much
When bids are very close, things like a personal offer letter can either help or hurt, depending on what it says. There are many agents who swear by the power of a heartfelt offer letter, but make sure that you don’t in any way insult the sellers or their taste. For example, never go on and on about the huge remodel you want to do once you own the house. This can be a slap in the face to sellers who have spent a considerable amount of money remodeling the property. And, if you want to write a poem to the sellers, make sure that it doesn’t contain spelling errors throughout. A seller can be turned off by an improper use of grammar.
Your offer was too high—really
A higher offer isn’t always better, since lenders will only loan you as much as the house is appraised for—not a cent more. A solid, realistic offer is a much better move—or, if you do bid high, make sure you’re willing to cover the difference out of your own pocket. For example, if you a seller receive two offers over list price (one of which is $15,000 higher than the list price), the seller might be tempted to take the higher officer. However, the house might not appraise for the higher amount, which means the loan might not close. So, the seller likely will go for the lower offer.
Your lender was unfamiliar to the seller
A real estate agent and seller often feel more comfortable with a local lender they know. Do your research and choose the loan that’s right for you, and consider giving preference to a well-regarded local mortgage lender when possible. Sometimes, if a seller receives an offer from a buyer using an online lender they’ve never heard of, it could make them wary. You can’t be sure that an online lender will understand the local customs and laws, specifically if they might worry the septic system was a risk and deny the loan. A local lender would already understand.
You demanded a family heirloom
If you love the house, as well as something in it, go ahead and request to include it in the deal. However, if it’s something the sellers want to take, let it go. It’s not worth losing the entire house in your bid for a pretty light fixture. For example, if the sellers exclude all of the chandeliers in the house, they might be surprised if an offer comes in that insists on keeping the chandeliers. The chandeliers could, in fact, be family heirlooms. It’s a better idea to ask if the sellers will provide a credit for the replacement of the lighting fixtures.
You made a full-price offer but nickel-and-dimed elsewhere
Although sellers love to see full-price offers, don’t try to get money out of them elsewhere. For instance, never submit a full-price offer and then request a sum such as $10,000 for closing costs. That means the sellers are not getting a full-price offer, but one that’s $10,000 under the offer.
You acted like you had something to hide
Playing games or withholding routine information can make the seller doubt you and your intentions. For example, a buyer shouldn’t insist on remaining anonymous and ban their real estate agent from providing the sellers with any information on them at all. This could leave the sellers feeling that the whole deal could wind up being a shady experience, and they likely will pass for another more upfront offer.
Your financial picture didn’t look solid enough
The last thing a seller wants is to get ready to close, only to discover that the buyer cannot complete the transaction and it’s back to the drawing board. Buyers should make sure to clean up their credit and have their finances in order before making an offer. Never, for example, come in with a low down payment, a very high debt-to-income ratio, and a subpar credit rating. This will set off alarms, as the seller might question the buyers’ ability to get their loan funded and close the transaction.