Ok, I have read books and listened to podcasts and videos. I've talked with local investors, a few developers, and have good contacts with a builder. I've attended my local REIA. I feel like I am starting to get into "analysis paralysis". I want to avoid this and jump in.
I have called sellers and spoken with realtors. I have found a few deals that could work if, of course, the purchase price works. The thing I feel that is really holding me back is how do I actually make the offer?? I am not working with an agent and I am an not one myself so as far as I understand, the offer could literally just be some simple words written up on a piece of paper. Obviously, if it was accepted we would enter into a more formal contract.
What do I need to do? Should I just send the realtor/owner an e-mail stating the offer price and terms? Should I attempt to use a REPC from the start? Do I need to do something in person or over the phone? Any suggestions?
What are you offering on? Is this an MLS property, FSBO, etc.? If an MLS property, use an agent - it's in your best interest and will cost you nothing. In fact, it may save your tail and save you $$. You can also use an agent for other properties and the agent can negotiate the commission with the seller, that's also an option.
If you don't want to use an agent, then you obtain a PSA (purchase and sale agreement) and make the offer by filling out the PSA and giving that to the seller. You need to know how to complete/fill out the PSA correctly. I recommend purchasing a PSA from a real estate attorney. Speak to an attorney and have them teach you how to fill out the PSA correctly. Some think this is over the top (until they find themselves in hot water). Go back to your REIA and find out who they are using to get quality PSAs and learn to use them correctly. There are other ways to get PSAs, and I believe using one from an experienced attorney (if you don't use an agent) is a smart way to go. Or, hire an agent.
Others will hopefully contribute to this and fill in the blanks. There are several ways to handle your situation.
Get an agent....that is investor friendly.
So it sounds like I need to get an agent to work with. A few of the local brokers have real estate assistants who help pull comps, make offers, run errands, etc for bigger name agents. Perhaps I can get in reach with one of these agents who is investor friendly as @Joe Villeneuve says.
The key will be to find one that knows how investing works...
Any recommendation in paying a "per-offer" kind of commission? A couple bucks for every offer submitted or something? I know that the agent will get commission when we get a deal but I am worried about them feeling used for submitting a bunch of offers if we don't get anything.
It depends on the deal you are going after and your plans with the deal... If you are going after deals on the market (MLS), reo's (fannie, freddy, HUD, USDA) you will need to find an agent. If you find an deal and you do not have a working relationship with an agent you could use the listing agent to submit your offers... Income for an agent is based on commission so if there is no deal there is no income (sometimes they charge an upfront fee... if they do so find a different agent who works just off commission). Ethically an agent should not "push" the offer they are submitting to the seller however people are people and if an agent will double his commission by representing both the seller and the buyer.... they sometimes brake this ethical rule (Its not right but it is how some agents (NOT ME) work). So, submitting an offer through the listing agent can be an advantage.
If you are going after FSBO's (For Sale By Owner, investor wanting to sell inventory...) you do not need a realtor and an offer can be as simple as saying... Well, here is how I made an offer six weeks ago
"I will give you $1,000 to walk away from the home, this verbal offer does not expire so if you want to think about it or see if you can find a better offer thats fine just understand if the home gets a condemned sticker or a demolition order this offer is off the table. If you agree to this cash offer meet me on December 1st at my office, bring your drivers license and the keys to the home and I will have all the documentation waiting for you"
This was an offer made over the phone while I was working in the basement of an apartment building I own... They took it! If my goal was to sell the contract prior to closing this would not work and solid documentation would be necessary however in that event a verbal did the trick... If they agreed but did not show up at closing I was not going to take them to court or chase them for damages.
if you want to do an mls deal get an agent you want feel is going to be a advocate for you! I use one realtor and she has been key for my success in California. Between myself and friends/parents I have referred her too. We have done 8 houses with another 2 working on! So having loyalty has done us well!
As far as pulling the trigger! Don't let analysis paralysis get you! The key is getting started and not losing your shirt. The first deal for us established out love but evey subsequent deal has been more lucrative!
Read carefully what @Elizabeth Colegrove & @Nicholas Miller said.
Let me add this. The criteria for an investor's agent is simple.
1 - They must be HUD certified
2 - They must agree to submit offers before you inspect the property.
3 - They must agree to submit low offers.
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