Area North Realty Inc.
15453 W County Rd B
PO Box 747
Hayward, WI 54843

Tips For Writing A Good Offer In A Competitive Market

Successful Offer!This year, we’ve noticed a distinct change in the Hayward-area real estate market.  After the 2009-11 housing crash, many sellers were desperate to sell and get out from under their mortgage burdens, some were in danger of foreclosure. Back then, it was somewhat common for sellers to accept low-ball offers.  The market has steadily improved since then, and as of 2017 we’ve watched it shift the other way. Now, we are seeing multiple offers on properties, and seldom do we see a seller take a “low or light” offer anymore.

A buyer who finds their dream cabin needs to act quickly, and write a good, if not great, offer.

Tips for writing an offer in today’s competitive market:

Hustle – get your offer in quickly, and meet all the offer deadlines early.

Pricingthe days of offering low are gone – if you want the place, you need to be at the asking price or pretty darn close.  A low offer can easily insult a seller, who may refuse to negotiate further. If the property is especially popular, you might have to offer over the asking price to get it.  In the overall picture, a few thousand, or even five thousand, over the list price, is not much to ensure you get the place of your dreams…..

Cash is king – if you can, pay cash.  One strategy is to write a cash offer, but still take out a mortgage to buy it.  This should only be done by those who are 100% confident they can get a mortgage, and who do not need the protection of a financing contingency.  Cash offers also require ‘proof of funds’- meaning within 7 days of offer acceptance, you must prove to the seller that you have the cash readily available, even if you plan to take out a mortgage.

Price is not the only factor – sellers tend to look at the overall offer picture.  A high-priced offer riddled with contingencies may look worse to a seller than an offer with a lower price but very few requirements.

Substantial Earnest Money Payment – a typical earnest money payment is about 1% of the purchase price.  Pay more, 2%-5% if you can.  A buyer who pays a substantial down-payment is less likely to walk away from the deal, giving the seller more assurance that the transaction will close.

Pre-approval letter – if you are financing, have a current pre-approval letter ready to submit with your offer.  This tells the seller that you are ready to buy!

Don’t ask for extra personal items to be included in the price – Unless the cabin comes turn-key, don’t ask for extra stuff!  Asking the seller to throw in furniture, a dock, or other items not originally included, can tip the scale and may cause you to lose the property.  After the offer is accepted, you can always ask if the seller might consider selling you certain items.

Keep the offer as ‘clean’ as possible – the fewer requirements, demands, and contingencies in your offer, the more likely the seller will choose yours over another. Obviously you might need certain protections, so think this through and speak to your agent for advice before leaving out contingencies that you really do need.

Seller’s closing date – if the seller desires a certain closing date or timeframe, chose that for the closing date in your offer.

Offer to pay for seller’s normal costs – you can sweeten the deal by offering to pay for costs that are typically the seller’s responsibility; septic tank pumping (if you are doing a septic inspection), de-winterizing/re-winterizing costs for inspections,  some or all of the title work costs, title company closing fee, and more.

Write a personal letter to the seller – a short, handwritten note as to why you want the property, how you’ll enjoy & care for it, and how much you appreciate the care they’ve given it……  that your agent can give to the seller along with your offer, is a personal touch which might help.


In today’s market, coming out the ‘winner’ of the offer wars, takes quick action, a great offer, and a savvy agent who can make it happen for you!  I’ve got the experience to make your purchase a success.  Call me today so we can talk more.    Cathy