- I bought a geodesic dome in Maine for only $ 100 more than the asking price on favorable terms.
- I let the seller move out when he wanted and left him behind.
- I also paid cash, had a good agent, and made a substantial “cash” deposit.
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“Good luck with that,” people have said whenever I mention my search for a cabin in Maine this year. Like many places in America, Maine is experiencing a pandemic housing boom fueled by an urban exodus and those seeking a different quality of life.
Yet, I did close a cabin just before Memorial Day weekend. And only $ 100 more than the asking price. How? ‘Or’ What? By (mainly) adjusting my expectations, having a great agent and making the relocation process for the seller as easy as possible.
This house is my seventh purchase in Maine and by far the most laborious. Although I am a short-term rental investor, the same tactic can be applied to purchasing a primary residence. Below are the essentials as to why the seller accepted my offer over competing (and higher!) Offers.
I had a fantastic buying agent
Like everyone else in this market, I dramatically adjusted my expectations realizing that my budget of $ 180,000 would not earn me much in Maine anymore. In March, I lost a few struggling properties when using local rural agents. So when my Daily Alerts featured an awesome 1982 geodesic dome with two acres of land near four ski mountains for $ 139,900, I jumped on it. I knew it would be competitive for “The Enchanted Dome“because he already had an excellent rental history, but needed about $ 30,000 to $ 40,000 worth of work.
I texted my agent Taylor McFarlane, broker associated with McFarlane Field Associates at Portside Real Estate Group, in September 2020. I knew if anyone could help me win the dome, they could. She coached me to develop alternative terms because I couldn’t increase the price with the probable repairs. She kindly agreed to present my offer of $ 140,000 before anyone saw the property and after I signed the view waiver.
McFarlane teaches his clients to be creative in this market. “It’s not always about the money,” McFarlane said. “There are many ways buyers can work to make their offering strong and remarkable. It takes work from both the buyers and the agent, and it can really be a fun process (yes, even in this market) if you allow it to be. ”When I bid, the point is to help the seller to see that I will not back down, and it will be an easy sale.
I paid cash
This property was so unique that it would be difficult to find traditional financing. Plus, it was priced well below the median home price in the Northeast, so everyone offered money. But offering the money is always a smart move if you can withdraw it – it makes an offer much more appealing.
However, “paying in cash” does not always mean that you have to have the asking price in your checking account. You can find alternative financing from a personal loan or home equity loan, and then get a mortgage on the house after the sale closes.
I took the $ 140,000 out of a non-retirement brokerage account to buy the property with cash as I am averse to debt anyway and it is a relatively inexpensive property. My husband and I knew it would be a gamble, but I have a good track record in real estate and it was an amount we were willing to risk.
I put a higher percentage of deposit
Serious, or “good faith” money is not refundable if the buyer withdraws from the sale after the emergency period. In this case, we decided to go for 28%, or $ 40,000, whereas previously I was offering between $ 1,000 and $ 5,000 on homes bought in Maine.
I let the seller choose the closing date
Many sellers are looking for a home to buy and need a place to live while also arranging for permanent housing. The seller of “The Enchanted Dome” asked for an extra month, and I accepted.
I let the seller leave his waste
The seller anticipated problems with cleaning his household items. We offered to make it easier for her: she could leave things behind, and I could arrange them or use them myself. While garbage disposal can cost you a few hundred dollars, it can help you win a sale from someone downsizing.
While you are unlikely to buy a geodesic dome in Maine, all buyers should use their imaginations in today’s market to think about what would make their offering more appealing beyond price. Never underestimate the art of just making someone’s life easier, especially in these times.