I am primarily a listing agent, so I get to see a lot of offers submitted by buyer's agents.
The truth is that most of them are incomplete, even when I specify exactly what is required.
Your Realtor's job is to make you, the buyer, look as strong as possible. In addition to the points outlined in Bill Eckler's post, I would add the following:
1. Sellers often think that the amount of the down payment is a indication of the strength or seriousness of the buyer. Although this may be not true, nonetheless that is how sellers sometimes think.
2. As a listing agent, I look at the entire offer package. When I write an offer (assuming to an individual, not an REO), I include:
- A pre-approval letter from a direct lender that specifies the property address and the purchase price I am offering. I cannot tell you how many letters I see that specify and amount OVER the purchase offer price...so I know that I have the green light to counter back for more money.
- Proof of down payment and initial deposit funds. - a statement from a financial institution that shows that they have the money (account number deleted)...as close to the amount that you actually need as possible.
- Mention the buyer's credit score in the pre-approval letter OR include page one of the credit report
- The buyer writes a letter explaining why they love the property and how they can see their family celebrating Thanksgiving in the home
- A cover letter from me outlining the sterling qualities of my client and why they deserve the seller's best consideration
A strong offer package will stand out and get not only the seller's attention, but the listing agent's attention. You want the listing agent to say to the seller "this is a complete offer. You need to take this seriously"
And if you are writing an offer below asking price, explain how you came up with that price, document if at all possible.