3 ways to win in multiple offers

Almost all my listings this year have sold in multiple offers.  That was something to brag about several years ago, but now it is pretty much the norm if the house is priced right from the beginning.

One listing had 7 offers the first day on the market.  Everybody wants the same house these days.

Since only one buyer can get the house, that means that there are others buyers who lost out.  It’s a tough time to be a buyer.

Since my work is almost always split 50-50 between sellers and buyers, want to know how to get the house you want and send all those other buyers off to fight over another one?

  1.  To begin with, go in strong.  There is a difference between overpaying for a house and offering 100% of what it is worth.  An agent should look at the comparable sales and know the value. You are going to pay top dollar for any decent property right now, so write an offer that the seller is likely to just accept.  The more time you waste on negotiating gives other buyers a chance to take the house from you.  Your battle is with the other buyers, not the sellers.  On my listing with 7 offers, we didn’t even consider any of them that had a contingency to sell or those that came in less than full price.  When you have so many good choices, a buyer can often be rejected over something minor.  When I have the buyer, I like to ask the listing agent how they want to receive the offer.  Most of us use an electronic signature program, but some agents don’t.  I mainly ask to show that I am going to be easy to work with.  Keep in mind it is like speed dating for the listing agent-they only have so much time to deal with each offer and the buyer’s agent.  I want to make it as easy as possible for them to pick my client.
  2. Don’t do anything wonky.  If the seller didn’t offer to leave their curtains, then don’t ask for them.  Don’t ask for early possession.  Don’t ask for more time than is normal for the inspections to take place.  This market is not one where you test the seller….unless you want to remain homeless.  A good, clean, simple offer is what all listing agents are wanting.
  3. Think like a seller.  Most sellers these days expect to get around full price for their houses, some even get a little more.  Believe it or not, few sellers actually care about the absolute highest offer.  Usually, the highest offers are really close, so what becomes important are the secondary terms.  The seller is concerned about your financing, so have a preapproval letter from a reputable lender.  They care about how the inspection goes, so schedule it as soon as possible.  The less time they have to worry about that, the better you look.  They care about the closing date, so be as flexible as possible.  I always ask the listing agent when the seller would like to close.  A lot of the time the seller has another closing to coordinate.

You know, I’ve been doing this for 11 years.  It is still awkward for me to write this advice.  It wasn’t too many years ago I was telling sellers how to attract buyers in a tough buyer’s market.  I was telling buyers how to bring a seller to their knees and beg you to buy their house for probably less than they paid for it.  Times change though, and this is where we are now.  And this is what you’ve got to do to get a house today.


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