The Green Maneuver: How to Write (and Win) Subject-Free Offers
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Up until the early 2000s, every generation lived the dream of owning a home. Fast forward to 2021, and my childhood home-owning dreams altered to the current reality—a price range that will only apply to owning an apartment or townhouse if I’m lucky. Not quite what any 9-year-old had in mind.
Thanks to record low-interest rates, increased household savings, a strengthening economy, and a continued focus on living space, we’re living in the hottest real estate market the country has ever seen. If properties aren’t sold as soon as they’re listed, they receive multiple offers with a final purchase drastically over the original list price. Sounds all too familiar, doesn’t it?
I mean, if homeownership is still the dream, can someone pinch me? I think I’m ready to wake up. At a minimum, just send some help! And no, writing a higher subject-free offer or giving a bigger non-refundable down payment isn’t the advice I’m looking for either. But I know that getting on that property ladder is a huge goal for people all over the country and rightly so. Why shouldn’t we want a place to call our own? I mean, I don’t think we’re asking for too much!
Now, I’ll let you in on a little something which could be a complete game-changer when you finally find a home that fits the bill. A different and new kind of maneuver to support your (realistic) home-owning dreams. It was used on a listed property that sold in a day. It had 9 offers, and the sellers didn’t even go with the highest one. I think there may be a light at the end of a very long tunnel!
So, how did this wonder come to pass? The buyer’s agent used the Green Maneuver on their subject free offer (cue angelic music). Other agents said, “The Green Maneuver will change the landscape of subject-free offers.” Have I piqued your interest? Read on…
What Is the Green Maneuver?
Simple: It’s the only way to get a subject-free offer accepted.
With more West Coast fans than Chip Wilson, the Green Maneuver has its own cult-like following, although as opposed to easy-going yogi’s, they are over-caffeinated real estate professionals who know how to get offers accepted.
When purchasing a property, buyers use the Green Maneuver to have their subject-free offer accepted when they anticipate multiple offers.
Before submitting their subject-free offer, buyers complete their due diligence on the property, typically only the home inspection and appraisal.
By completing front-end due diligence, the sellers and their agents know the buyers can close their subject-free offer.
When utilizing the Green Maneuver, sellers have been known not to accept the highest offer, but instead, the offer from the buyer that used the Green Maneuver.
Steps for the Green Maneuver
Easier than the Dougie and more powerful than Jeff Bezos, the Green Maneuver is simple.
Step 1: Buyers complete their front-end due diligence before writing their subject-free offer.
Step 2: The potential lender can pre-approve the buyers for their maximum purchase price.
Step 3: The now well-informed buyers and buyers’ agents write a low-risk subject-free offer.
Step 4: The buyers now submit their low-risk subject-free offer to the seller.
Why have a potential lender pre-approve the property?
Residential real estate transactions commonly fall through due to financing—even more so during a bidding war. A buyer can find themselves in trouble if an appraisal comes back lower than the offer price. When this happens, they won’t get any more money from the lenders. They resort to making up the difference in cash, pulling out and losing their deposit, or somehow getting the seller to drop the price (a miracle!).
If your lender has told you exactly how much they’ll lend on the property, you’ll know exactly how much money to put in to make the deal work. This makes you stand out as a safer bet. It’s common in bidding wars for sellers to choose safer all-cash offers over higher offers. With this approach, you know you’ll still be in the game.
What Does Subject-Free Mean?
Sellers like to see both all-cash offers and subject-free offers. A subject-free offer is one where the buyer has agreed to waive all subjects, making the offer attractive to the seller but riskier for the buyer.
If you’re in a bidding war, subject-free offers show the seller that you mean business—you plan to purchase the house regardless of what happens, and you’re ready to put your money where your mouth is.
When you go subject-free, the owner keeps your deposit. This happens regardless if you close or not.
I’m a Buyer: I Want to Use the Green Maneuver
Let’s clarify: Low-risk doesn’t mean no risk.
It just means that you, the buyer, are completing your due diligence before your offer is accepted, which in turn presents the seller with the strongest offer possible.
And you are really, really, serious about buying this property.
If you’re a first-time home buyer, I won’t lie—bidding wars can be overwhelming, discouraging, and challenging. When you want to purchase a home, you must research and understand that home’s specific challenges and submarket. Make sure you work with and listen to the advice of an experienced buyer’s agent as well. They’ll give you representation—the best way to ensure a smooth transaction.
The Green Maneuver is to real estate as your best Kirkland jeans and grass-covered New Balances are to your significant other: to be used wisely.
I’m a Seller: The Green Maneuver Was Used on Me
Although you received multiples, we are glad you survived to tell your story.
How did it feel going against everyone’s advice and not necessarily accepting the highest offer, but the one that was the most informed and you knew could close?
Like when Elizabeth Harmon played against World Champion and USSR Grandmaster Vasily Borgov in the 1968 Moscow Invitational Chess Tournament in the last episode of The Queen’s Gambit—you fought a good fight and were a worthy opponent!
Win With the Green Maneuver
If you’re a buyer who’s trying to win a bidding war and plan on using the Green Maneuver, make sure you don’t get too carried away. Remember that low-risk doesn’t mean no risk—when utilized properly, the Green Maneuver helps you make the most informed subject-free offer on a price you can afford and terms you know you can meet. Make sure you know what the house is worth to you and set your limits ahead of time so you don’t end up in a situation where you have to back out of your offer and risk losing your deposit.
Interested in learning more? Contact us now to speak with our team of mortgage advisors and learn how to make the Green Maneuver work on your next offer!