You think you found your dream home – It’s in the right location, has all the amenities you’re looking for, and fits in your budget. There’s just one problem … It’s pending sale.
Does that mean you’re too late? The short answer : If a home you love is pending sale, don’t give up hope. Pending means the seller has an offer but hasn’t closed yet. A property is placed in pending status the minute a contract is executed. But there’s still a chance the home can be up for grabs again – say, if the inspection doesn’t check out or the buyer can’t pull together the financing. Until the sale is a done deal, there’s still an opportunity to land that dream home. In fact, there’s more wiggle room than you might expect, particularly if you’re looking in a competitive market. Many sellers want to hold out for the best bid – and that bid could be yours.
Here are five ways you can improve your odds and steal that home from someone else :
Make your interest known
Think you’re wasting your real estate agent’s time when asking about a pending home? Think again. Many seller’s agents will continue to show the property to potential buyers up until the very last minute, in hopes of obtaining a more compelling offer. Make sure your agent knows how in love you are with the home. You’ll want to be first in line in case any issues crop up with the pending sale.
Get the dirt
While you’re at it, call the listing agent. The agent might have some insight on parts of the deal that aren’t firm. Try to suss out how many other offers there are and whether there are any potential concerns about the initial bid. You can use those to your own advantage in your own bid. Try driving through the neighborhood to learn as much about the home and community as possible. Do your homework. Google the address, check out property tax records, or go on PropertyShark and see what comes up. You could think of it as getting a head start on your research in case the initial deal does fall through.
Negotiate to beat the other buyer’s deal
This doesn’t necessarily mean putting in a higher bid – although that can certainly help. If and only if you’re financially comfortable, you could consider offering more than the asking price. But you can also try presenting convenient terms to the seller. Maybe you want to agree to waive a mortgage contingency, pay closing costs, or offer flexible moving dates. Being open to negotiation is one of the best things you can do to improve your odds. It helps make the case that you are serious about the property. Your goal is to convey a sense of urgency to the current owner and make your offer.
Use a personal touch
If you’re certain that this is your dream home, tell the seller. Send a handwritten letter explaining why you want the property, and your hopes for it. That human connection could be a significant factor in the seller’s decision.
Be aggressive with a capital A
If the initial big falls through, make sure you are right next in line. Be a little pushy and tenacious, even if that is not normally your style. Be available for phone calls, check your email and follow up with your agent often. If the seller has a sense the competing would-be buyer is dragging their feet, this aggressive approach may end up tipping the scale in your favor. So the next time you see that pending sale icon, don’t despair. Just be prepared to work a little bit harder for your fantasy home.