How to be the Winning Buyer if You Are Not Local – Emerald Coast of Florida
I’ve seen it happen again and again. A buyer is out-of-state and has their eye on a piece of property for sale in Destin, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville or Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. Not being in town, they are at a disadvantage compared with local buyers who are lined up to personally view homes the moment they hit the market. Those local buyers write an immediate offer and win the sale. Out-of-town buyers are afraid. They want to see the property in person. They want to see the neighborhood. They want to think about it. They are nervous because they are not in town. And they lose. They don’t write an offer in time, or if they do, it’s too low.
It’s time to stop messing around.
Not that many homes are “hitting” the market, but more so than a year ago, depending on price tier. There are not enough properties for sale on the Emerald Coast of Florida to meet buyer demand, thus they sell almost immediately, especially single-family homes (versus condos or lots). Average days on market is about 30, but just a cursory look at today’s MLS hot sheet, I see days on market to pending ranging from “0” to “11”. It seems as though Destin-Fort Walton Beach metro real estate is selling faster and faster, especially for owner-occupied residences or second homes. Real estate agents are begging other agents and sellers to list their properties. (A common solicitation email would state “I have buyers coming to town this weekend – please send me whatever pocket or upcoming listings you have up to “X” price with “X” criteria!”) If a hot property hits the market, it is normally sold within a matter of hours. Sellers are putting deadlines for offers to come in, as they cannot keep up with the interest – and it would not stop.
How are you, then, being out-of-state, going to win a multiple-offer bid on your perfect Niceville, Santa Rosa Beach or Fort Walton Beach home for sale?
- Don’t mess around.
- Have your pre-approval or cash proof of funds in PDF format.
- Have your real estate agent picked out. This should be someone who responds quickly and is experienced.
- Be ready to write over full price. Yes, over asking price.
- Know the neighborhood you are interested in. You can get automated updates for sales and listings here. Your knowledge will reduce your fear of price.
- Do not ask the seller to make repairs i.e. write an “as is” offer (with right to inspect).
- Have a short inspection period – for example, five business days. A good buyer’s agent should be able to arrange this for you. If you are confident, you can waive the inspection. That would put you in the plus column to make up for your “out-of-state” status. That is, many sellers would prefer to sell a home to someone who looked in person, all other things being equal. They are aware that buyers who come in from out-of-town for an inspection may cancel the contract upon viewing, and what seller would want to waste time?
- Do not ask the seller to pay your closing costs.
- Consider paying your own agent (this will save the seller’s expenses on commission).
- Close fast.
- Don’t load up the contract with extra addenda.
- Don’t load up the contract with extra contingencies.
- Don’t make your sale contingent on personally viewing (see #7 above).
- Don’t wait for “in person” video – you may not have time.
- Make up your mind that you will act fast and be decisive in advance – before your “right” property hits the market.
IF – IF you really want to live on the Emerald Coast of Florida and purchase a home now, and you don’t live here, you just have to go for it. Be brave. Trust your desire. Get the house.
It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!
Wendy Rulnick Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Email Wendy: [email protected]
Wendy Rulnick, Broker, sells short sale, pre-foreclosure, REO and traditional real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Crestview, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Okaloosa Island, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.