Top Six Tips For Making a Winning Offer

      The Jackson Hole real estate market is steadily heating up as there are fewer available properties listed for sale and buyers are finally getting off the fence in an attempt to buy their "piece of Jackson Hole" before prices rise.

In some segments of Teton County's real estate market, available property listings are dwindling fast, and we are seeing more and more multiple bidding situations. As an Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR) and top Teton County Realtor for the past 23 years, I would like to share my six best tips for increasing your chances of making a winning offer, should you find yourself in a bidding war.

 
 
Preparation Pays Off
Always be prepared well ahead of making your offer. When you are looking at homes, you never know when the right one is going to hit you and you will want to make a move before too many others discover it as well. 
Upon making an offer, Cash buyers may need to provide POF, Proof of Funds, a letter or statement from your bank or financial institution such as:
  • Certified financial statement
  • Bank statement
  • Open equity line of credit
Note: Before handing over your POF, remove or use a black marker to obliterate any sensitive personal information such as your social security number and account number.
 
If you will be seeking financing, talk with your lender, prior to making an offer to get pre-approved and request a pre-approval letter to submit with your offer.  Since you might be bidding against cash buyers, and cash buyers are more common than not in Jackson Hole, you will be in a stronger position if your offer is not contingent upon financing, but there is risk so consult with your mortgage broker to be certain you are well within your limit and that there is no doubt you will get the mortgage. 
 
Hire a Top Jackson Hole Realtor
You know the 80-20 rule. Eighty percent of the business is done by 20% of the agents.  These agents are in the game daily; it is their full time and only job; and they are consistently networking with mortgage brokers, inspectors, contractors, architects, and appraisers.  With a local, top 20% Realtor who is an Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR) on your side will not only help your chances of having the winning offer, but the escrow will be smooth and stress-free. 
 
Be Market Savvy
Have your buyer’s agent show you market values of similar properties.  He/she will provide you with a market analysis showing what other comparable properties have been selling for.  This is critical in Jackson Hole, since Wyoming is a non-disclosure state with regards to real estate sold prices. It is important to have a buyer’s agent on your side, and not to rely on the listing agent, since the listing agent represents the seller and is working in the seller’s best interest, not yours. 
 
Make a Strong, Clean Offer
When you are up against other bidders, and you want the property, give your highest and best offer. You may not have another chance to raise your bid.  Many times the highest bidder wins.  You might kick yourself if were outbid by a few thousand dollars when you would have gladly paid the price of the winning bid.  With such few Jackson Hole property listings, it may be awhile before another acceptable property comes on the market and, by then, prices could be higher. 
 
If you have no emotional attachment to the property, and there are other acceptable properties, make a reasonable offer, knowing the top dollar of what you are willing to pay, before you get into the bidding frenzy.
 
I always advise my buyer clients the importance of making a clean offer.  A clean offer is one that is a cash purchase or pre-approved mortgage, without a lot of contingencies, and a fair amount of earnest money that shows you are a serious buyer.  Note: Contingencies acceptable to most Jackson Hole sellers are title review and home inspections.  In a seller’s market, with bidding wars, most sellers are reluctant to accept an offer with a contingency that the buyer needs to sell their home before they can purchase another.
 
Accommodate the Seller's Needs
Try to be mindful of the seller's needs by being flexible, if possible, in your offer. For instance, Mr. and Mrs. Seller have kids in school and you know they would prefer to stay in the home until their children can finish up the school year. You might give them the option of "renting back" the home for a few months after closing, or extend the closing to a date that would be preferable to the seller. The seller might be willing to accept a lower price if it keeps peace in the family.
 
Start Your Due Diligence Now 
Once your offer is accepted, you will have a strict timeframe by which to complete all of your due diligence.  Start interviewing inspectors now. I have a comprehensive list of local inspectors, engineers and contractors.
 
Besides building and property inspections, you will have a title commitment to review, and you may have subdivision Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions CC&Rs, meeting minutes and budget to review.
If you think you might be building in Teton County,  either new construction or an addition, you will want to look over the 2012 Jackson/Teton County Comprehensive Plan and the Teton County Land Development Regulations (LDR). The Town of Jackson has Design Guidelines.
By starting your research now, not only will you be prepared to move quickly to complete your due diligence, but having some knowledge upfront may help you with questions you might not have otherwise thought of.  It will also show the seller you’re committed, serious, and will set an expectation that the rest of the transaction will go smoothly. 
 
      In my 23 years selling real estate in Jackson Hole, I am blessed to have had the privilege to represent many successful buyers, from investors to vacation home buyers to first-time home buyers.
 
      Recently, I helped two different buyer clients compete with multiple bidders, and both won the contract. Their families are now enjoying their new homes, one in Teton Village and the other in Jackson. I am always happy to provide references. Please call me 307-690-6906 if I can be of assistance in your search for Jackson Hole real estate. Teri McCarthy, ABR