How to Handle Multiple Offers on a House

Multiple Offers On The Same House

“Shut up and take my money!”  That’s a funny retort you might see on social media platforms when they’re advertising something so amazing, so ‘must have’ it defies the ability to negotiate.

The same can be said when it comes to today’s housing market and the oft-waged battle of ‘multiple offers’.  Clients have found the perfect home, they want it yesterday, and the only thing they want is for the seller to take their money.  Problem is, so do the 10, 15, or 20 other people on the list – who’ve made increasingly enticing offers – for the same property.

Because it’s entirely possible that you can represent both sides of that coin today (an inspired buyer and a confident seller), let’s look at what multiple offers can mean for each type of client.

Putting Your Buyer’s Best Foot Forward

Buyers are no doubt going to be extremely motivated to find that perfect home.  Either frantically or diligently (depending on the market), you’ve tackled the first issue and found something they’ve fallen in love with.  Now, the offer….

  • Bring Cash – “Buying a house ‘with cash’ can benefit both the buyer and the seller with a faster closing process than with a mortgage loan.” – Rocket Mortgage.  It’s so atypical, though, that roughly 87% of purchases are financed.  Of course, we all know that buying a home with cash isn’t possible for a lot of folks, but it can vault your client ahead of someone relying on being approved for a loan – even if your offer is lower.
  • Get Pre-approved – There’s nothing worse than your client finding what they want, and then not being able to actually PAY for it.  Know going in what they can afford, and where to stop negotiating.
  • Counter – Stay in the game as deeply as you can without overplaying your hand.  Some of those other offers will die on the vine or they’ll be eclipsed by continuous updates.  “Some buyers will be turned off by the aggressive negotiation strategy and walk away from the situation.”  Use their apathy to your advantage, and be patient.

Eenie, Meenie, Miney, Mo

The seller has found themselves in a position that is both enviable, and delicate.  Lots of people are putting their homes on the market, and in short order receiving the kind of offers they might not have imagined.  How to pick the winner?

  • Earnest Money – Get it.  No matter how good a deal might look on paper, any number of pitfalls can tank a deal.  “The higher the [EMD], the stronger the offer.”  It behooves you to sell when the market is hot.  If the deal on the table falls through, the EMD (1%-3% of the home’s price) can be a consolation prize for the homeowner and buoy them as you re-list – or contact a previous offer to inquire about their interest.
  • Contingent, Contingent, Contingent – Play contingencies to your advantage and walk away from the unreasonable.  Title, sale, appraisal, financing, & home inspection…all of them add to the uncertainty of a quick sale if the buyer’s plan or financing or whatever runs afoul. 
  • Evaluate – There’s a great deal of importance placed on understanding the entirety of an offer, versus just picking the highest price.  Yes, you want the homeowner to get the absolute highest price that’s ethically obtainable.  But making sure the entirety of the deal (from down payment, to how the home will be purchased, to waiving off crazy requests for either time or contents of the home or post-sale extras) is paramount. 

Selling a home $100,000 over ask is a great problem to have, especially if you’ve waded through a ton of competing offers to get there.  Similarly, beating out the competition for a prized piece of real estate by offering $100,000 over ask can be great (although I feel a little faint at that kind of overvaluation, even by today’s standards). Using platforms that allow you to automate your real estate postcard marketing campaigns can allow you more time to focus on your clients needs.

Multiple offers on a home can be viewed as a double-edged sword, depending on what side of the blade you happen to find yourself.  Thoughtful approaches to both buying and selling in the case of multiple offers can be exhilarating.

There is a ‘bubble’ for every commodity, and at some point the market will cool down and the craze of multiple offers will diminish (it will never be eliminated).  “ reports that while new listings are still well below the number of homes placed on the market in early 2020, the gap is beginning to shrink. For the week ended March 20, new listings were down 14 percent compared with that same week in 2020, which is a smaller gap than the 24 percent reported the previous week. Still, reports that because homes are selling fast and fewer homes are being listed for sale, the total number of homes for sale (including new listings and previously available homes) is 52 percent lower than in 2020.”

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Sphere of Influence Real Estate Marketing

Getting Listings Sold Sphere of Influence Marketing

If you remember the standard catch-phrase tied inextricably to real estate, I want you shout it out with me: Location, Location, Location!  Exactly. 

While there are several definitions often batted about, the most powerful meaning assigned to this cliché is the perception that even the most horrid home or building is a prize if only standing in the right location.  One person’s trash, and all that. 

But is that still true?  Was it ever true?  You can have the best structure in the best part of town, for the best price, but if nobody knows about it, your chances of moving that inventory decrease significantly as the month wears on.  What we should be concerned with is something much more powerful than location.  You need to be building your Sphere of Influence!

Six Degrees of Separation

What is your Sphere of Influence (SOI) and how do you best capitalize on it?  Put simply, it is everybody you know.  And the people they know.  And so on.  Technically, you have and can maintain more than one SOI (e.g., LinkedIn has degrees of mutual connection), and doing so only seeks to improve your sales success:

  • 82% of all real estate transactions are the result of contacts from previous clients, referrals, friends, family, and personal contacts1.
  • 74% of buyers would use their agent again or recommend them to others1
  • 84% of consumers say they trust recommendations from family, friends, and colleagues, making peer recommendations the highest-ranked information source in trustworthiness1.

“Agents making more than $100,000 a year told the NAR that they got nearly one-third of their business from referrals from past clients. They got 34 percent from repeat business2.”

There is an allure in using, and a science to cultivating, an SOI to your financial advantage.  Common lore would have us believe that everyone in the world is connected by no fewer than six people3.  That means there is, inherently, the potential for both positive and negative interaction throughout your SOI, which can also play into your opportunities for success. 

A Fishbowl Named Wanda (of Business Cards)

Knowing that you have an SOI, and putting it to use are two completely separate animals.  The advent of social media has helped tremendously in terms of enlarging the pool of people to whom you are connected (be it personally, or tangentially based on commonality of acquaintance).  At the outset, you need to collect and categorize your list – and preferably in one place (e.g., an Excel spreadsheet or some kind of sortable database, ala MS Access). 

Create categories for corralling your friends and family, suppliers of goods/services (doctor, lawyer, HVAC repair, home renovation contacts, etc.).  You’ll also want to separate past potential buyers and sellers4.  You never know when someone who wasn’t in the market previously might be the exact person for the exact property you’re currently marketing.  The only thing left is to start reaching out to them the way that feels most natural for your connection, whether your call your uncle, share posts with your current lead list via Facebook or Instagram, or you text your favorite home inspection agent.  The key is to be short, polite, and memorable for the right reason. 

The goal is to make sure you’re top of mind when they hear of opportunities which would be good for your business.

Hidden Figures

In the 70s, the Yellow Pages were marketed by the slogan, “Let your fingers do the walking.”  It alluded to how much easier it was to use their directory of business versus doing the research on your own5.  Well, an SOI is much the same.  Location, location, location may still be important, yes.  But without a well-groomed and participatory network, you run the risk of watching opportunity pass you by. 

Create your network, and use it to your advantage.  Don’t be afraid to expand your Spheres of Influence and include individuals (and even companies) outside your norm.  Gems are found in most unlikely of places from time to time.  Your usage of and dedication to your SOI could prove to be a powerful tool in your bag.  The best part is that very often, that tool is hiding in plain sight.  

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