I’ve been in a lot of multiple offer situations. None of them are ever fun. I usually win though. Want to know how?
Well, in an offer, there are pretty much just a few things a seller cares about. Price is the one that comes to mind the most. Often overlooked but equally important are the inspection terms you do and the closing date. What I try to do when I know there are other offers on a property is to talk to the listing agent and find out what is important to the seller. Like, have they found a house yet? If so, when will that one close? Do they need to stay in the house a couple of days after the closing to make it an easier transition?
Here are the details of my first and most recent multiple offer deals:
The first multiple offer deal I ever had was back in 2005. The market was super hot. There was a great house on Grafton that would be perfect for my client. The funny thing about this one is that I actually won the offer by making a mistake. (It IS only one of two that I have made since 2005.) On this one, I got up very early that day and we were writing the offer in a hurry late at night. For the closing date, I meant to put a certain date in December, but instead of writing “12” for the month, I wrote “11”. I was saying we could close in 2 weeks when I meant to write in 6 weeks in other words. This was back in the days when the buyer’s agent would actually go to a meeting to present the offer. It was the only time I have done this since technology has made that a thing of the past. I went in, told the sellers what a great house they have, how much my seller liked it, and even how she used the same shampoo we saw in the shower. The listing agent kept asking me over and over again if I was sure we could close by “That” date. They took our offer because of “That” closing date. The husband-seller worked retail and didn’t want to have to move during his peak season. Now, the funny thing is that the loan officer for my buyer as well as the buyer were both fine with a November closing date, I was the only one in the dark. They were fine with it…..and it got us the house! (I was awful green back then 😉
I just bought a new place for my family. First day on the market. Back to back showings all that day too. I think everybody who saw it must have written an offer. I suspected there would be cash buyers. It is hard to win against them since the seller doesn’t have to be concerned about the loan nor the appraisal. No hoops to jump through at all. I was planning on writing my offer contingent on a home inspection, but I would not negotiate on any repairs afterwards. I would take it or leave it. I knew with all the offers, this wasn’t going to be enough. I though to myself, well, I have bought enough houses and been on enough home inspections to know what to look for. The roof wasn’t old and the HVAC was practically new. Those are the biggest deal killers. Also, as somebody who went to great lengths to stop water coming in the basement of my former home, I have a 6th sense for water/structural issues. Soooooo, I bought it totally As-Is. I’m sure it has the same $500-1000 in repairs that most houses need. I’ll deal with that myself since this was the best house for my family and was priced below market value. I also knew the sellers didn’t have a house picked out yet. Where I am keeping my old house to rent, I didn’t have to be in the new one by any certain date. I let the seller pick a time that worked for them. Guess what? I beat out a full price cash offer!!
I know not everybody can be as flexible as I was when buying a house, but if you want to win the house you want in a multiple offer situation, the key is to make it easy for a seller to say yes to you. You do it by giving them the best combination of price, inspection terms, and closing/possession scenarios that you can do.