How to Win a Multiple-Offer Situation for Your Buyers

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Samantha Jones

By Samantha Jones

Multiple offers are the elephant in the room in today’s market. Let’s be honest, it’s a dog eat dog world out there. The majority of real estate markets are moving at supersonic speed. Forget Keeping Up with the Kardashians, we’re striving to keep up with the market. We want to give our buyers an edge over the competition and properly advise our sellers facing multiple offers.

Most of us are experiencing a shortage of inventory, which is falling short of buyer demand. Like many of you, I expect to compete for just about every home my clients want. You know what that means, right? Every time I attend a wedding, host an event, plan a vacation, or have other obligations that take me away from the office, “the one” my clients have been waiting for will hit the market. It’s Murphy’s law.

I’ve negotiated from just about everywhere—at all hours of the day and night—including my own bachelorette party, a family reunion, and a cousin’s wedding. This market and our line of work requires it, especially if you want to see your clients’ dreams  come true. And I win just about every one of them (knock on wood). By following these tips, you can do the same for your clients.

5 Tips for Winning Multiple Offers

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1. Communicate. As a former journalist, I always fall back on the power of communication. Sounds simple, I know, but we’re all guilty of dropping that ball at some point. Make sure a home is still available before your clients see it. Like dating, there’s no sense in “falling for it” if the seller is already considering a solid offer. Or, you could see if the sellers are open to kicking another offer out. You won’t know if you don’t ask. Keep the listing agent in the loop from the get-go to instill a sense of confidence in working with you.

2. Keep it simple. Are you losing out on offers over and over again? Consider how you’re structuring and presenting offers, and how you’re communicating with the listing agent. I have found closing cost credits can knock you out because sellers are confused or worry the buyers cannot really afford the home. I learned this the hard way; a relative felt adamant about rolling in credits because of rates being so low. Yet we lost bid after bid. As soon as he let go of that notion and eliminated the credit, we WON! Also, nix home warranties. You can always ask for one at home inspection or allow them to buy it on their own instead of losing a home over a couple hundred dollar warranty.

3. The listing agent rules. They hold all the cards. To get the keys to the kingdom (a.k.a. your client’s potential dream home), start by treating the listing agent with respect and follow their lead. You have to wait hours or days for an answer? Tough. Sit tight and check in occasionally without being a pest. We’ve all been on the listing side of things, which can be just as hard. Feel for them and tell them as much. I prefer to speak at least once by phone with an agent before a deal comes together, but not everyone agrees. One listing agent I worked with recently would only communicate via email. You can surmise what I did: I probably set record number of emails with her. By the way, my clients just closed on that home.

4. Team up. As I mentioned above, we’re negotiating 24/7 nowadays. That doesn’t mean you have to give up your life. It does mean you should have backup though, because even a day can cost your buyer the perfect match. Some agents rely on a buyer’s agent to get the job done. I have a partner who will often step in for me. She’s my mother, so we’re often together if we’re out of town. We recently started relying on a licensed showing agent from time to time when we’re double booked with clients or have plans. All I need him to do is open the doors. I handle negotiations. He’s shown two clients I could not meet and we edged out competition in both cases because we were first in the day they went live. It’s a game changer. Buyers are happy and we are able to have the ever-elusive “life” we’re all looking for in this industry.

5. Creativity. Find out what the seller wants. Closing date preference? Post-closing possession if they’ve lived there for many years? As-is condition if it’s worth it to your clients? That creativity can make or break your bid in a multiple-offer situation.

Truthfully, sometimes you will do everything in your power, but fate intervenes and you’ll lose that home. That’s okay, you can’t win them all. It was someone else’s turn. Just remember to heed any lessons you learned, pick yourself up, and refer to this list next time. We’ve all had our confidence shaken, but don’t let it get you down for long. Your client needs you to be their rock. Onto the next: Bigger and better homes! You’ve got this!

The article is part one in a series on dealing with multiple offer situations.
Read part two:5 Tips to Help Sellers Navigate Multiple Offers
Read part three:
Guiding Clients Through Multiple Offers (And Every Real Estate Deal)

Samantha Jones is an award-winning real estate broker with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in the Chicagoland area. She is a top producer who specializes in residential sales. Connect with Samantha on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

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Comments 9

  1. Pingback: How to Win a Multiple-Offer Situation for Your Buyers – South Carolina REALTORS

  2. Follow-thru. If you are the agent to win the contract, make sure you double-time getting the documents signed and back to the listing agent asap. I just won a bid because I followed up with the listing agent a few hours after the award and asked if the winning agent had followed up with signed documents. The agent had not; I went back to my clients, modified our offer, and presented signed documents back to the listing agent for the sellers to sign. They did; we got the house!

    1. Depends on the amount of homes, Jim. Along with timing. I try to pay enough to incentivize them to show because peanuts just usually isn’t worth anyone’s time. Usually about $25-$50/house, but I’ll often throw a couple hundred dollar bonus his/her way if we write on the home, or if they’ve been extremely accommodating recently

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