Taking the House: Tips From Jason Cohen on Winning a Real Estate Bidding War

Selling a home is an emotional decision, and sometimes money isn’t the deciding factor in which offer a buyer chooses. Think of it this way – would you prefer to sell to a buyer who offers a few thousand more and wants you to pack up your life in a day, or to his competitor, who offers less, but will give you a few weeks to say your goodbyes? Real estate is predominantly a seller’s market. Jason Cohen has found that in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and beyond, it’s become increasingly important for buyers to appeal to both the homeowner’s emotional and financial sensibilities. Prospective buyers need to strategize; they need to make the sellers like them more than their competition.

Be diligent

There are few qualities more off-putting than disorganization. Make a good impression by having your paperwork in order and showing the buyer that you understand the financial implications of the agreement. Prepare documentation that proves that you can afford the cost of closing, and have your mortgage papers, loan documents, and proof of credit ready for the seller’s inspection.

Cut out contingencies

Try not to irritate the seller by adding too many demands to your bid. You may want those cosmetic repairs on the porch finished by the time you move in, but the hassle involved might push the seller towards a lower and less demanding offer. Ask for the inspections and repairs you absolutely need, and no more. Try to be as flexible as possible and make the process less stressful for the seller; they will appreciate your thoughtfulness and think better of your bid.

Enter an escalation clause into your bid

Adding an escalation clause to your offer shows the seller that you intend to seriously participate if the sale comes to a bidding war. Essentially, the clause states that if other buyers drive the price over your initial bid, you will top their offer up to a certain amount. Escalation clauses can help convince sellers that choosing your offer makes financial sense; that said, you need to know your limits. Walk away if the escalation pushes the price beyond what you can afford.

Be sentimental

Appeal to the seller’s emotional side. Include a personal letter with your offer packet that details why purchasing their house matters to you. Build a personal case for why the seller should choose you over other, possibly more lucrative, offers. Money isn’t always the deciding factor in a sell – so be compelling, and convince the seller to like you!

Jason Cohen of Jason Cohen Pittsburgh can provide further guidance on any of the above items. Visit our website at jasoncohenpittsburgh.com for further details.

*Originally posted on JasonCohenPittsburgh.org

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The Value of Research: A Pittsburgh Case Study

Jason Cohen was only two years out of college when he bought his first property in Pittsburgh. It wasn’t a luxurious place by any means, but it was what he could afford with the means left to him after student loans. He sunk what resources he had into performing the most necessary repairs and managed to breathe new life into the struggling building. Its value soared; newly determined after his success, Cohen set his eyes on the next project and invested his profits. After ten years of hard work, Jason owns commercial and residential properties throughout Pittsburgh. He began with limited means, but Jason now has the resources and experience to run multi-million dollar community projects.

His secret?  Research.

According to Cohen, who facilitates the real estate investment forum Jason Cohen Pittsburgh in his free time, research is the factor that makes or breaks a real estate venture. An enormous amount of pre-planning goes into rehabilitating a property for sale, and the success of the venture hinges on having reasonable profit and cost projections.

More and more investors are flocking to house flipping to make a profit; according to statistics provided by Trulia, a full 6% of homes bought in 2016 had been renovated for sale. However, the field does pose significant risks if investors have little experience. If you intend to break into the real estate industry as Jason Cohen did, please consider the following basic tips for real estate research.

Look into the expense of the house.

Houses cost money. Repairs cost money. As Mindy Jenson, community manager for Bigger Pockets commented for a U.S. News article: “Nobody is going to hand you a house for free, and you can’t go to Home Depot and [get] your supplies for free […] If you are using credit cards and have no money, you can get into trouble quickly.” Assess whether the house will require expensive repairs, and compare your expense projections to your budget. Sometimes, it’s best to be patient and move on from a house with too many liabilities in search for one that poses less of a risk.

Research the neighborhood.

Find out how much you’ll need to pay to renovate the house for sale, then assess how much you’ll likely get for it based on neighborhood averages. Remember, you can’t tack on an extra $10,000 to the price simply because you owe that much to your lenders. Figure out if you can afford to buy and renovate the home, then act accordingly.

Research lenders.

Financing a house is notoriously expensive. Spend time going over your borrowing options, and choose one that suits your needs. Don’t move forward with the first place you visit; take the time to check out all of your lending options and proceed as seems best.

*Originally posted on JasonCohenPittsburgh.org

Habitat and Dow Chemical Celebrate 35 Years of Partnership

Habitat and Dow pic

Habitat and Dow
Image: dow.com

For more than a decade, Jason Cohen has served clients from his group, Jason Cohen Pittsburgh, through which he provides expert advice on real estate investments. An active community volunteer, Jason Cohen has worked with such local charities as the Greater Pittsburgh chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

Habitat for Humanity recently announced 35 years of partnering with the Dow Chemical Company to bring quality, affordable homes to people in need. This year, the two organizations will strive to add even more sustainable building methods, which will help the environment and promote greater self-reliance among homeowners.

Through the partnership, Dow will donate $4 million worth of cutting-edge insulation materials that Habitat will use in both American and Canadian home projects. In 2016, Dow provided similar products to nearly 3,200 Habitat builds, making the homes more energy efficient and less expensive to maintain. This year, the two will partner on 42 different builds in 19 different countries, with Dow kicking in over $1.4 million in financial support.