So long as the market remains hot, carefully crafted offers are a critical component to successfully buying on the sunny side of the Bay. Writing a great offer starts with understanding the East Bay’s particular home-pricing culture, in which agents (with their sellers’ permission) routinely price the homes they list below market value.

Of course, buyers and their agents also need to know the market’s seasonality pattern and the micro-market trends of both the target home and its neighborhood when writing the offer. But these practices are just the tip of the iceberg that buyers should implement to find success. Because the East Bay is such a competitive market, buyers need to carefully present their offers — it can separate them from the pack in multiple-offer situations.

With that in mind, here are some offer-writing best practices that homebuyers should be aware of if they want to have the best opportunity to acquire the East Bay home they desire. Reach out to me to discuss how best to craft an offer for you, given your particular circumstances.


Buyer love letters do work, especially with properties that have been in a family for a long time. For those homes, whip out the pen and paper and write a love letter to go along with your best offer. Letters should keep in mind the seller’s likely strong attachment to the home, reveal what the potential buyers really love about it and avoid any descriptions of plans to radically change the home. Speak from the heart.


The offer often starts at the open house, when listing agents make note of who comes by. When the offer comes through later, they will likely connect buyers to that visit. Since the agent holding the open house will likely remember you, make sure to leave a good impression, even if it is not the actual listing agent. Also, be careful about discussing major renovations at the open house where the listing agent or seller could overhear. As mentioned above, some sellers have deep emotional attachments to their homes and don’t want to picture them gutted.

In short, be strategic and professional. You may end up writing an offer on the house.


If you require financing, consider getting a preapproval letter from a local, reputable mortgage broker as opposed to a national or online lender. Agents are a savvy bunch and many have relationships with the best local lenders; if they recognize a good and competent local lender connected to an offer, it enhances the offer’s appeal, as it minimizes the headaches that can come from financing issues.

Local lenders also typically have one point of contact, which can help navigate thorny financing issues that may crop up.

National lenders often don’t have appraisal management centers that know the East Bay on a hyperlocal basis. They may consider an appraiser from Walnut Creek as local, but that person may not know there’s a Golden Gate Bridge view behind the wall of fog from that Berkeley Hills home if they visit in the morning, or know that homes east of San Pablo Avenue sell differently than west of it.

Most agents like to have their clients get their loans fully underwritten (just contingent on lender’s review of title) before making an offer. With a fair number of homes in the East Bay going for all-cash, buyers who streamline their financing, thus allowing for a quicker close, increase the odds of their offer succeeding.


It’s important that buyer’s agent be on the listing agent’s radar from the start. This means that buyers must choose their agent carefully, one who has a good professional reputation. Shepherding a transaction to a close takes persistence, skill, goodwill and effort.

Writing ‘winning’ offers is not just about the clients, it’s about knowing the listing agent and their style. Some prefer face-to-face communication and paperwork; others prefer an all-digital interaction. Matching to their communication preference puts the offer in the best light. That’s one of several reasons why having an agent who is well-connected and well-respected within the local real estate community is key.

If the listing agent knows that the buyer’s agent bringing them an offer has the expertise to get the job done, it adds to the offer’s appeal. As your agent, I will always introduce myself to the listing agent, if we don’t know each other. I consider it part of my job as the agent representing you and your offer in the most highly professional manner possible.


Because the competitive East Bay real estate market requires speed, buyers often must strengthen their offer by not including inspection contingencies. This is a useful strategy, but a tricky one that requires careful due diligence ahead of time by buyers and their agent.

Study the disclosures, and follow up with any red flags or questions in the home’s disclosure packet, big and small. For example: search the permitting database of the city the home resides in for any permitted work; study fault line maps online; call the home inspector or engineer about questions in seller’s disclosure packet; if there’s time, hire your own home inspector to walk through with the existing reports; look up crime mapping.  If applicable, explore your exact commute options with times you’d use them. I also suggest you walk the neighborhood on a Saturday night if you suspect it may be busy or sketchy, as well as checking out the block on a weekday. Meet the neighbors if possible: walking around with a dog is a great way to start an easy conversation!

In short, be fast, smart and thorough (a tricky combination) before deciding to make a contingency-free offer.


You want your buyer’s agent to present you as a well-informed buyer who is making a serious offer and won’t get cold feet as a purchase contract heads toward a close. Doing some of the due diligence listed above, and having your agent relay that to the listing agent, helps give the sellers and their agent confidence that they have a serious buyer on the line who won’t get cold feet. This kind of thoroughness impresses listing agents and sellers alike.


Having a “finished” package, in which the listing agent has all the information they needs up front, is critical. The listing agent should have no questions left unanswered about the buyer, the buyer’s agent, the lender or any other part of the presented offer. Like many things in life, presenting an offer is best done in person. A good buyer’s agent will make this effort. If that won’t work for some reason, a phone presentation is next best. I always ask to present in person. If I am not invited to do so, I always prepare a thorough cover sheet, and follow the email submission of your offer with a phone call, offering to discuss the fine details. I want the listing agent to think of you as the most appropriate buyer, with all of the desired aspects: someone financially capable who has done their due diligence, represented by me, an agent they can count on to be a strong professional partner in completing the transaction.


I like to follow the mantra “assume nothing,” and with offers, it’s an appropriate attitude. So often buyer assume that because the open houses were packed with visitors that there will be lots of activity, and that they won’t be competitive. Or on the flip side, buyers sometimes assume that because they aren’t fond of the older kitchen that no one else will be, and that they can “low-ball” an offer. Buyers can be surprised either by too much or too little competition. I always stay actively in touch with the listing agent up to the last minute, so that I can inform my buyers accurately about the level of activity, and any other details that the listing agent will share. Ultimately the listing agent wants to complete the transaction at the highest price possible for their seller. You want to purchase the property at a price that is appropriate given the context of the market, the property’s condition, and stays within your financial capabilities. Ultimately my goal is for there to be a win/win for both you and the seller!

Please let me know what additional information would be helpful to you.





CRS, GREEN Designation

REALTOR® · DRE #1209552







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