Due to our current market conditions, many of my sellers are complaining about the lack of buyers viewing their properties each week. I understand this frustration and my marketing plan ensures that any buyers looking for a property in their area in their price range will see their property advertised. Still, some of my sellers do not feel it’s enough visitors and that more needs to be done to get visitors to their house. However, visitors to the house do not bring offers. What you really want is a qualified buyer. Just because you have an open house every weekend and have many people coming through to view the home, how many are really ready, willing, and able buyers? Don’t get me wrong, I feel Open Houses are beneficial, but I do not give them any more weight than an online viewing. What you really want are Realtors showing the property. Their buyers are qualified, ready, willing, and able buyers. A good Realtor is not going to waste their time nor gas to show a property to a buyer that is not ready to purchase. Because the current market is moving so slow, I have had sellers offer to do their own open houses every weekend. The fact is that unless the buyer who makes an offer on your home has the resources to qualify for a mortgage, you may not really have a sale. You always want to determine the buyer’s financial status before signing a contract with them. Otherwise, you could be removing the property from the market and have a contract that will not close.
There are several things that I look for when a buyer submits an offer on a property and they are things that sellers need to be looking for as well. First of all, any buyer submitting an offer on a property needs to have a pre-approval for a mortgage. That way they are ready to obtain a mortgage in the next 30-45 days, versus a buyer that is just starting the process and it might take longer to close on the property. Second, make sure the buyer has enough money to make a down payment and cover their own closing costs. With an FHA loan, 3.5% is due as a down payment at closing. With a conventional loan, 20% will be the down payment at closing. For buyer closing costs, the buyer will need 2-7% of the price of the home at closing. Sometimes the seller is asked to pay part of the buyer’s closing cost, but not usually all of these costs. Ideally, buyers should spend no more than 28% of their total income on their mortgage payment (principal, interest, taxes, and insurance.) The buyer’s income should be sufficient to afford the home. In order to qualify for the mortgage, they will be required to have good credit and not an excess of debt. If the buyer has great credit, good income, but owes a lot of debt on credit cards and other bills, they still may not qualify for a mortgage. So no matter how many people view your home, it only takes one qualified buyer to purchase it. I always prefer the quality over the quantity!