I have to preface this. As agents, we want to ‘protect’ our clients’ interests. However, oftentimes and depending on the situation, that protection - aka terms and conditions - can minimize the chances of your offer being accepted. So it’s a bit of a dance that requires tremendous skill, experience and foresight.
In addition to a home inspection and a financing condition, there are a plethora of other conditions and clauses you might need to insert, and it’s something we discuss on a deal-by-deal basis as there is no rule of thumb - other than my fiduciary duty to fully protect your best interest.
Things that can strengthen your offer include the seller’s preferred possession date, as well as inclusions and exclusions and potential promises/warranties you might request.
Consider this scenario: If the preferred possession date was June 1 and the competing offer requests Sept 1 with a bid that is 5K higher than yours, their offer would be inferior IF the cost to carry the house for an extra three months (mortgage, taxes, utilities and insurance) would be higher than 5K. The same is true for inclusions. A set of high-end appliances could easily amount to 10-15K, and the inclusion or exclusion thereof, depending on what the sellers prefer, could make quite the difference for them. The bottom line is that we have to communicate well and often.
That’s how deals get done.
If I represent the buyer, I prefer to write the offer just several hours prior to the offer presentation - if possible. That allows me to get a good feel on the number of offers my buyer might be up against, and we can adjust the sails accordingly, depending on my buyer's comfort level.
Again, skill and experience matter. (As does spelling and neatness. We’ve all seen things like, “Offer excepted as written.”)
Another thing that can really work in your favour is to make sure your offer has sufficient time for presentation and acceptance. I’ve had offers emailed to me by other agents that were technically already expired by the time we were able to sit down with the sellers, with the note to just change the expiry date and have my sellers initial it if it’s accepted. Excuse me? What about the deposit cheque? Oh right … they’ll drop it off if the offer get’s ‘excepted.’ Would you call that a professional representation and a strong offer - regardless of the number and the conditions in it?