Mortgage pre-approval. If financing, contact a mortgage broker or loan officer to find out how much you can borrow. Get a pre-approval letter from a lender and keep it current. When you are ready to make an offer, check with the lender or mortgage broker to make sure the building is on the lenders’ pre-approved lists. Knowing in advance that the building is considered loan worthy is crucial if you plan to waive a financing contingency.
Financial statement. Fill out a statement of financial worth, keep it up to date, and have it ready to submit along with your offer. Your financial qualifications are part and parcel of your offer. Be proactive and include it with your offer to show the seller that you are motivated and qualified to buy.
Do your homework. Familiarize yourself with what’s on the market and what’s recently sold. Understanding the market will enable you to recognize the right property when it comes along and give you the confidence to move quickly to secure it.
Be proactive and trust your gut. With buyers circling around every new listing don’t wait for the first open house. Make the time to see anything new as soon as possible. If you’ve done your homework and see something that will work for you, trust your judgment. Don’t lose time by second guessing yourself. If you act quickly and confidently with a strong offer you may even pre-empt other buyers and avoid a highest and best scenario.
Give it your best shot. It’s a seller’s market—unrealistic, lowball offers will get you nowhere. When it comes to highest and best offer, determine your “walk away” number— the number above which you won’t feel regretful if a higher bid is accepted. This may be your only opportunity to bid so don’t hold back.
Be flexible with terms. Over half the transactions these days are all-cash; if possible, offer cash and then, if desired, finance after you’ve closed. If you are financing, be prepared to waive the financing contingency. Other terms that can sweeten the deal for sellers include putting down a large down payment (if financing), offering to close at the seller’s convenience, and agreeing to sign the contract within a limited amount of time.
Don’t be too demanding or picky. Sellers want a buyer who is easy to work with. Making demands or coming across as picky will work against you in a competitive situation. Limit requests to what is absolutely necessary and listen to your broker if she advises against pressing too hard on a point.
Ask to be back up. An offer accepted in a highest and best situation does not always lead to a signed contract. If your bid isn’t selected let the seller’s broker know you remain interested and ask her to keep yours as a backup offer.
Portions of tips were taken from an article found here.