Fighting Multiple Offers On A Home You Want

Dated: 05/09/2018

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Fighting multiple offers on a house can be a nightmare for buyers: It basically means that you've found your dream home, but everyone else also wants it. Unless you go to the mat and really play your cards right, this place could easily slip through your fingers. That's why it's critical to put your best offer forward from the start. Here's a guide on how to stand out amid multiple offers to increase the odds that you'll end up on top.

Offer more money

It's that simple: Money talks! Many agents even suggest including an escalation clause in which you agree to offer above the asking price (up to a limit, of course), if other bidders come into the picture.

However, the sale price isn't the only place where you can make a strong financial showing. Consider increasing the amount of money that you'll put into the escrow deposit. Committing more money will show the sellers that you're serious about buying the property.

To buyers who might balk at the cost, Kathryn Bishop with Keller Williams in Los Angeles, asks this: "If you find out that you lost this home by one dollar, how will you feel?"

Write a letter

Beyond the basic agreement of sale paperwork, including a letter explaining why you're so passionate about buying the home can help you stand out from the crowd.

Emile L'Eplattenier, a real estate writer and a member of the Real Estate Board of New York, suggests, "a quick biographical sketch of your buyers—what made them fall in love with the home, the neighborhood, or any other personal details that might help build empathy with the seller."

Letters are especially effective in situations where the sellers have an emotional connection to the property. For example,  an elderly couple looking to downsize might be more inclined to choose a young couple who are looking to start a family.

Keep financing clean

Where financing is concerned, buying a property with cash is always attractive to sellers, if you can afford it. Since a mortgage lender won't have to get involved, the sale process becomes much easier and there won't be any worry that a loan won't get approved at the last minute. That being said, cash certainly isn't an option for every buyer. If a mortgage is a must, make sure that you provide a pre-approval, so that the sellers know a lender has already vetted your finances.

Andrew Sandholm, of the real estate company BOND New York, reminds buyers that providing either a pre-approval or proof of funds for a cash deal is a must. "Whether you are planning to take out a mortgage or pay all cash, you can stand out from other offers if you show you are a serious buyer by proving you have the funds to buy the home," he explains.

Buy the home 'as is'

Agreeing to buy the home "as is" essentially means that you are agreeing to purchase the home in its current condition and releasing the sellers from the responsibility of making any repairs. It's a very attractive option from the sellers' point of view because it increases their net profit.

Keep in mind that buying a home as is doesn't mean that you have to forgo inspections entirely. It simply means that they will be for informational purposes only. You'd be entitled to elect any inspections you wish—and to walk away if major problems are uncovered. However, regardless of what the reports show, any repairs will be your responsibility.

Have your agent make a call

Your real estate agent's job is to make sure that your interests are communicated to the sellers throughout the negotiation process.

In a scenario where you're competing against multiple offers, Rebecca Chambliss, an associate partner with Partners Trust Real Estate Brokerage & Acquisitions in Los Angeles, suggests having agents make two calls: one before submitting the offer to ask what the sellers would like to see, and the other after the fact to reiterate your interest. Agents can also ask to be informed if the property goes back on the market after a deal falls through.

Tara Mastroeni, who comes from a family of real estate agents, writes about home and lifestyle topics. You can read more of her work on her website: https://www.tmrealestatewriter.com/.   Reprinted from the May 2017 newsletter of Realtor.com.
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Jose E. Perez

Jose E Perez is the broker and owner of EXIT Realty All Stars located in Braintree, and Brockton MA, helping both buyers and sellers with all of their real estate needs. He previously worked for Centu....

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