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How to Win in a Situation with Multiple Offers: Terms

Posted by Moshe on May 21, 2013
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This is part one in a three part series on how to win in a situation with multiple offers.

It’s not all about the money.

In this real estate sales market, with very little inventory available, well-priced properties are getting multiple offers. This is true nation wide and can be intimidating to all types of buyers. From first time home buyers to seasoned home owners and investors, this market is fiercely competitive. Buyers who have been on the losing end of multiple offers, can make an aggressive over-priced offer which can create more burned buyers who feel they need to pay more to get the home they want.

If a buyer are working within a budget has found a home priced comfortably in the selected price range, how can an offer look attractive to a seller without significantly over bidding? An offer includes more than the price. The terms of the offer are incredibly important to a seller.

Before submitting an offer, a buyer should consider the following:

  • Flexible closing date

A flexible closing date shows the sellers the buyer wants to work with them to make their transition as smooth as possible. Some sellers have their next home already lined up and need to sell their first property before they can close on their next. So a quick close would be preferred. However, other sellers may have renovations planned and would prefer to have a later closing, allowing them to perform renovations prior to moving into the new property. If the buyer has the flexibility, make it know to the seller by putting it in the offer.

  • Quick contingency dates and due diligence period

While the closing date may not need to be rushed, speeding up the dates for inspection and mortgage contingency will look positive to the seller. If a deal falls through, it will most likely be at the inspection stage. Because most failed deals fall through at this stage, it benefits both buyer and seller to shorten the due diligence period. If any problems do arise and the deal falls through, both parties are find out early in the process are are then free to move onto other options (the next buyer or the next home for sale).

  • Larger down payment or pay with all cash

A larger down payment or an all-cash offer means one thing to the seller, low risk. An all-cash offer means there will be no problems due to financing because the offer contains no mortgage contingency. A larger down payment looks better to a seller for the same reason as a bank, less risk. If a buyer puts in more of their own money, the less the bank has to lend. With a smaller loan amount the easier it should be to obtain a mortgage.

  • Escalating Clause

An escalating clause should only be used in a circumstance when the buyer must have a particular home and can afford to have an aggressive strategy. Adding an escalating clause means the buyer will offer  a certain amount ($1000 or $5000) over the highest offer the seller receives. The buyer can always cap the escalating clause at a certain amount to to minimize risk should another bidder be overly aggressive and offer far more than the home is worth. Keep in mind the escalating clause is a risky and aggressive strategy only to be used with much consideration.

Other ways buyers are attempting to set their offer apart include waiving the contingencies all together. We do not recommend waving contingencies to our buyers, however if a buyer is properly prepared it is possible to waive both the mortgage and inspection contingencies while still protecting a buyers interest.

  • Waiving the inspection contingency

If the buyer can have early access to a property,  the access can be used for more than a superficial look. A buyer may be able to schedule an inspection prior to submitting an offer. If the buyer is able to preform an inspection and is satisfied with the report, the buyer can submit an offer waiving the inspection contingency with confidence and no risk to the good-faith deposit.

  • Waiving the mortgage contingency

Waiving a mortgage contingency should only be done when the buyer has complete confidence in their financial means and in the lender. We would not recommend waiving the mortgage contingency unless the lender has pre-qualified the subject property. We work with lenders who can qualify a property within 4 days, however in most cases the buyer would need early access for this strategy to work.

Not all of these options are for everyone. If the property you are looking at is a highly desired property, one or more of these options could help you offer stand out among the multiple offers. Some of these strategies also require a buyer to have early access to the property before it is made available to the general public. In the next post in this series, I will discuss how a buyers choice of agent can position them to win a situation with multiple offers.

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