The most important place to start before an offer, is to study the market thoroughly. See more apartments than you think you should. If you’re a broker see absolutely everything you can. If you’re a buyer, hit all of the Sunday Open Houses, and only then start to make a short list. Once you have all of the numbers out there on the market you can target the correct price per square feet.
It is no good to just look online. If an apartment is sitting on the market with price reductions, you should get more information. But even if I have doubts about a property I see it. It is essential to see the space, and feel the seller’s broker out. In person you can sense smaller energy projections, and pick up on the relationship between the broker and the seller.
Make sure the seller’s timeline works with your timeline. Your needs and seller’s expectations should match. An investor looking for a deal has more options than a buyer looking for a co-op where his kids can be in the correct school district, not all buyers might be able to prioritize a bargain.
It does help when a low-ball offer is all cash or you are properly pre-approved. The offers you make can be aggressive, but you have to stand behind them. An astute seller’s broker could pick up on insecurities. If the seller knows your ability to close, it will help to get your offer accepted. You should be ready to act immediately on a contract and a sale. Present your offer, lawyer information, financials, all of your ducks in order, along with the timeline for purchase. Your broker should understand how to present all this information effectively. Then your chances are greater for a good deal if you can make the correct offers and act fast.
Note, that as a buyer, you are never guaranteed a good deal by approaching the seller’s broker directly. A good buyer’s agent will always get you a better deal. Some buyers believe they will save on commission by doing this, but the seller’s agent already has a contract for 5/6% of the sale price regardless so the commission is baked into the asking price. If you don’t have your own representation you still end up paying for a service you don’t use. It is much more strategic to interview a few brokers, pick a good one, and follow through until the end. You will be happy you did.
Once you have an accepted offer, move on it immediately. It is important that a broker and a buyer work in tandem. Then your chances of a good deal are far greater if you can make the correct offers and act fast.