This Main Line Realtor® is singing the same blues again this month. Still not a lot of inventory out there and Spring has been taking its good ol’ time getting here! That means, of course, that buyers are competing for the same small group of homes. This means multiple offer situations and those require some skilled buyer representation, for sure.
I notice there is a lot of advice out there about what to do in a multiple offer situation. I have a good record at getting my buyers’ offers accepted and I attribute that to only one thing. Attention to each particular seller’s concerns. There are no 2 situations alike when it comes to a seller who finds robust interest in his or her home when it goes on the market. So many factors come into play. What price did they start with? What is the home worth? How quickly are the offers received and what deadlines do they have? What advice is their agent giving them? What bad experience have they had in the past or heard about from their friends that they seem to want to avoid?
The goal for all sellers is to keep as many interested buyers bidding for as long as possible in order to get the highest possible price. Most Buyers will stay involved if they feel the process is clearly explained, seems fair, and they can trust that it will be followed.
Sellers are supposed to dictate the process. And they can “shop” one offer to another buyer by telling them the terms. This is something buyers hate and often are not aware of. But many listing agents tell sellers only one option—the one they like best– regardless of the particular circumstances. In our area, that is the “highest and best” approach, where all buyers are told to re-submit their offers at the same time with their highest terms and the seller is supposed to accept one. But there are many others they can use. A seller may select one offer to “work,” risking that the others will go away. A seller can just wait a day or two or counter with a high number or other changed terms to keep the process going and hope to get other offers. A buyer who knows what the seller will do is at a great advantage in a multiple offer situation.
A well-represented buyer will have asked the listing agent before the offer is submitted what process the seller is intending to follow in the event of multiple offers. A buyer is entitled to know if any offers are being submitted by the listing agent as a dual agent (where they represent both sides of the transaction). Ethics require that the listing agent disclose that information if asked. Many buyer agents do not ask. In such a case, a buyer may not want to get involved since the listing agent will have the upper hand in making their offer the best one. In every case, the buyer’s agent needs to let the listing agent know that there are situations which will make the buyer walk away.
My most recent transaction was a multiple offer situation. We made sure we were the first appointment allowed in to see the house, had an agreement already prepared to be signed at the showing with a lender pre-approval attached, and submitted the offer that same afternoon. Although other offers came in while we were negotiating, the fact that we expressed such interest and had a solid offer amount, together with the notice we had given that we wanted to know exactly what process the seller was intending to follow, made for a successful back-and-forth where the seller did not entertain the other offers but negotiated with us to conclusion. We did not even have to pay full price! Our methods worked in this case, but every situation deserves analysis and tailoring by your Main Line Realtor® to get the result the buyers need. Success was ours this time!
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