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No matter where you live, the offer is one of the basic fundamentals of real estate. It sets the entire transaction in motion, shows the seller that the buyer is serious, and often serves as a starting point for negotiations. But the offer is even more important in a competitive real estate environment like San Francisco, where properties receive multiple bids and often sell for above list price in just a matter of days. 

Competition is fierce in the Bay Area and other US markets, which means that real estate agents are having to go above and beyond to make sure their offer gets noticed by the listing agent and the seller.

If there are two people who know all about the ins and outs of competitive real estate, it’s Sandy Sicsko and Joe Borromeo, a rockstar realtor team based in San Francisco. They took time out of their busy schedules to speak to us about the importance of making an offer that stands out, and why they believe HighNote is the best way to make that happen.

Sandy Sicsko & Joe Borromeo

You’ll get to know Sandy and Joe at the bottom of this article, but if you just can’t wait to contact them about buying or selling a home in the Bay Area, you can reach out to them by clicking here

Hi, guys! Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with me. Let’s start by talking about why it’s so important to stand out when submitting an offer, and how HighNote helps you do that. 

Sandy: HighNote is just such a beautiful package! When the listing agent is looking at a whole bunch of offers and they see something that is just one link they can click on from their email, and it’s beautifully laid out, that’s the “wow factor.” And we get that comment over and over. Our market is on fire and we need to do everything we can to stand out.

Photo by Bernadette Gatsby

Joe: HighNote gives us the opportunity, which is all we can ask for when we’re in a competitive market. Right now we’re seeing 7-10 offers per home and if we get a callback and we have a shot at it, then I think that’s all we can ask for. 

It’s definitely given us opportunities that we wouldn’t have had with a regular email presentation. When you open an email presentation, it’s in PDF form, usually multiple PDFs, and you have to download several things to even get to any content, and you’re spending time searching for the contract and other things you need. HighNote eliminates all of that because it puts everything in one place.

Can you give me an example of when a listing agent gave you a shot at a house, even when your buyer didn’t have the highest offer?

Sandy: We’ve made offers where we were the third or fourth highest and they took our offer, and said that our buyers connected so much with the seller. We had one that was a family home, it literally made the seller cry because our buyers were a young family who wanted to move in there and wanted to make it their home and raise their kids there. It was the home the seller was raised in, so this resonated with her. She didn’t even counter us on price, she just accepted our offer over one that was $10,000 higher. 

Photo by Jose Rago

And a couple weeks ago, we were the 15th offer in line and we were the only one that the listing agent came back to and said “Hey, just between you and me, the offer needs to be this much higher.” And she even let us come in as a back-up offer. That just goes to show how much people respect organization. We keep hearing that again and again from listing agents – that the video and how well our digital HighNote presentation is laid out are the things that show them we’re organized, and make them want to work with us. 

Photo by Aaron Huber

Joe: Exactly. We may not be the highest, or our terms might not be the greatest, but because our presentation wows, we at least get a call from the listing agent that says, “We like your presentation, we’ve never seen it before, we like how everything is organized and easy to view.” Then they’ll tell us where our offer needs to be – and if we can meet that, great. But if we can’t, they often see what they can do to push our existing offer through. And a lot of times that works to get the offer accepted. 

What do you include in your digital offer presentations, to make them as compelling as possible?

Joe: We include pretty much anything and everything that a listing agent would want to see. We also include a video from our buyer, which allows the seller to learn more about them and why they want to buy their home, and hopefully form a connection with them. Then we also include proof of funds, a pre-approval letter, and other disclosures/practical information that a listing agent might want to see.

Sandy: The video of the buyer is very powerful, because they are speaking directly to the seller, telling them what they love about their house. That immediately forms an emotional connection. 

What happens if you need to update an offer? Do you have to send the listing agent an entirely new digital packet?

Sandy: Not at all. You can change the content of the packet at any time. For instance, we were representing a buyer and the listing agent told us the offer needed to come up a little. I was able to switch out the contract immediately and the listing agent was still able to use the same packet, all together as it always was, using the same link. So that’s a great feature. The ease of use is just amazing.

How do you know if a listing agent is actually paying attention to the sections included in your digital HighNote presentation?

Sandy: The beautiful thing about HighNote is that we’re able to see the back end. So we can see what the listing agent is focusing on when they get our offer. Are they focusing on the video? Are they focusing strictly on the first few pages of the contract? Have they gone back to look at the proof of funds five times, so they’re more concerned about liquid cash? All of this information helps us know where we need to be and what we need to worry about. So when they call five minutes later, we can be prepared to address any potential issues, or to offer more information.

Are other agents taking a page out of your book, after seeing how you use HighNote?

Sandy: When Joe and I were beta testing HighNote, we actually had one listing agent who said, “If you tell me how to get this, I will make sure that your buyers get this house.” He went on to say that he had never seen anything like it, that it was amazing. And it truly is.

If you’re looking to buy or sell in the Bay Area and want an honest and experienced team to help you do so, Sandy and Joe would love to help. Contact them today and see why their portfolio is full of fabulous testimonials from buyers and sellers alike! 

And if you’re a real estate agent looking to use HighNote to make offers, check out this customizable template from HighNote founder Mark Choey!