The term “multiple offers” refers to sellers receiving more than one offer on a property within the same time frame.
It is not a thing of the past to have multiple offers on one property. It happens frequently, and is not just when houses first come on the market, are priced well, and fit the most common criteria. There have been plenty of instances where a home has been on the market for a while and winds up in a multiple offer situation.
For buyers, recognize that you are not the only people looking at a particular house at any given time. Just because a house has been on the market for three months, does not mean that buyers are not interested.
The offer is not just about the money. It’s about dates, contingencies, and financial strength.
- If you like a house enough to want to make an offer on that house, don’t wait. What exactly are you waiting for - someone else to write an offer and then you wind up in a bidding war? Not all listing agents are going to call all of the buyers agents to let them know that they have received an offer on the property. You may have visited the house three times and are envisioning your furniture and where your child’s prom photos will be taken in the backyard. Why won’t they call? Because, the fact that you have visited the house three times and are still hemming and hawing about the house, and you make an offer ONLY because you have learned that there is another one, may not give the seller confidence that you are 100 percent sure of the house. Now, if you visited the house 3 times within the past week and are just trying to coordinate your schedule to write an offer with your agent, your agent may want to communicate this to the seller’s agent. However, offers can be written electronically – by fax/email, etc., and if it is important to you, you should find the time to do this. It does not guarantee you that your agent will receive a call if another offer comes in for the house. Bottom line, if you like the house, make the offer. Don’t concern yourself with what everyone else is doing or not doing.
- Make your offer STRONG. If you know that there are other offers on the property, make your offer financially strong as possible. If you believe the house is worth asking price, offer asking price. Forget about the TV shows that tell you to offer 90 percent of asking. That is ridiculous – UNLESS that is what the house is worth. Every situation is different. Every house is worth something different. There are no “general rules” about what to offer.
- Be prepared. Have your preapproval ready. Sign all of the paperwork related to the offer (seller’s disclosure, lead paint transfer, etc.) Write a check, leave a check with your agent. It is better than a faxed copy of the check. Don’t leave any loose ends.
- Show some love to the house (and the seller). Write a letter to the sellers, tell them why you love the house and why you are the best buyer for the house. Sure, this is a business transaction, but it is one of the most personal business transactions in which you will be involved. Your real estate agent should be able to help you with this.
- Keep it clean. Don’t ask for a myriad of personal items to be included in the sale. You are buying the house – not the furniture (yet). There will be plenty of opportunities to discuss items that the seller may want to sell.
- Think about the seller. Your agent should ask the questions: When does the seller want to close? What is the ideal scenario for the seller?
- Be ready and prepared for a counteroffer. Know what your “best and final” number will be ahead of time.
How buyers and sellers act in the initial stages of a transaction is very indicative of how the entire transaction will be. If you are easy to work with, respond in a timely manner, and can demonstrate that you are a solid buyer, this will be very attractive to a seller.
It’s not always about the money. Many times, a seller will forgo a couple thousand dollars to know that the transaction is going to be seamless. Put your best foot forward. The seller’s first impression of you is as important as your first impression of the house.