"Right now, sellers are able to instruct buyers to have as few contingent liabilities as possible," said Ms. Newquist-Nolan, the California realtor. It's a smart move, she said, because fewer contingent liabilities mean fewer opportunities if a transaction fails.
Take inspections home with you, for example. From September 2020 to February 2021, 13.2 percent of the winners of Redfin offers waived the inspection contingency, compared with 7.3 percent a year ago, reports the broker. (Such an option would allow buyers to get out of business if an inspection reveals unexpected repair problems.) “Most buyers in our area are currently foregoing home inspections,” said Ms. Wethman. "Pre-bid inspections have become the norm."
Most sellers are now open to allowing buyers to call in a home inspector before making an offer on a home. A pre-bid inspection with few problems found could give the buyer confidence to forego an inspection option, which could make the buyer's offer a more attractive choice to the seller.
Buyers are also finding ways to forego contingent home valuation liabilities to make their offer more attractive to a seller. (Contingent liabilities allow buyers to terminate a contract if a valuation is below their asking price.)
"Some buyers who save 20 percent agree to reduce their deposit to pay the difference if there is a valuation gap," said Ms. Wethman. For a deal where a buyer offers $ 300,000 on a home and has a 20 percent down payment, if the home is valued at $ 270,000, the buyer could lower their down payment to 10 percent and use that 10 percent in cash to compensate for the valuation deficit.
Compare apples with apples
According to Lejeune, the best approach sellers can take when weighing offers is to compare them side by side.
His strategy: "I present my clients with offers in an Excel spreadsheet that shows the offer price, loan amount, type of loan, contingent liabilities and other key metrics," he said. "It's basically a salesperson cheat sheet."