7 Tips for Handling Multiple Offers on a House (and Get Top Dollar!)
Things are looking up in 2021, and nowhere is that truer than in the housing market. Here in Kitsap County, we’ve seen house prices sky rocket and there are plenty of buyers willing to pay the price to live in this beautiful area. If you’re selling your home in a hot market, you need to know how to handle multiple offers to get the most money for your home.
Today, I’m going to give you 7 simple tips to ensure you handle multiple offers properly and, most importantly, ensure you get top dollar for your home. You absolutely need to know these—so read all the way to the end!—because over 80% of listings are currently getting multiple offers in my area.
How to Handle Multiple Offers on Your Home
#1 Get Super Clear on What You Want
Of course, your goal is to sell your home for the most amount of money, but as with most things in life, it’s not always that straightforward. There are generally a few different things that will differ between offers:
- The amount of money offered
- How ready the potential buyer is to buy your home
- How ready you are to move out of your home
You may get an offer for a lot of money from a buyer who hasn’t secured their financing, or have an offer on their own home yet – that’s going to slow you down. Or, you may have a lower offer from a first-time buyer who is ready to move in ASAP. If you have both, your personal circumstances will dictate which buyer sounds better to you. Some people prefer to take less money to move faster, while others are happy to stay put and wait, hoping to secure top dollar for their home.
Now is the time to get clear on what you are willing to accept and from whom, should you get multiple offers.
#2 Have a Great Agent in Your Corner
Realtors are professional negotiators – if you have one that’s not going to fight for you, you’re going to get less for your home. You need an agent who has experience dealing with multiple offers and has the systems in place to manage them for you. They need to be honest and open when they not only communicate with you, but with other agents.
They also need to have their you-know-what together, or they’re not going to be capable of keeping everyone in the know, especially you. They need to be a stickler for responding quickly to new information, such as letting other potential buyers know that there’s a higher bid. If you’re in Western Washington, I’d love to be that agent for you, but make sure you do your research regardless of where you are in the country so you don’t choose someone who will cost you money.
#3 Strategize Your Market Positioning and Prepare
Don’t be intimidated by the lingo – what we’re talking about here is ensuring your property is best presented on the market to attract the right buyers. A great agent will know what kind of buyer will be most attracted to your home and can help you position it on the market to capture their attention. That means getting the right photos, video, and showcasing your property on the right social media platforms to garner the right attention. Once you know your strategy, have prepped your home and your agent has the marketing materials up online, the offers will start rolling in.
#4 Once the Offers Roll in, Sllooww Down
Once you start getting those offers, things will feel fast, but now is actually the time to start applying the brakes. You’ll feel like you’re getting hit with information from all sides, but you need to drag out the negotiations to ensure you can get top dollar for your home.
Sometimes, you may get a buyer that says, “this is my best offer, give me an answer within X hours or days or I’m moving on.” If it’s the best offer on the table, it will be an easy yes and you can move on with the sale. However, if you aren’t 100% happy with the offer, you can let them move on. If they’re going to demand those terms on an ultimatum, they may do so at another time in the process.
You need to retain the power in the negotiation as much as possible, and if other buyers are considering what offer to put in, you should give them a little time to put their offer on the table. Once you’ve got them on the table, you can start counter offers and play the buyers off one another – not to play games, but to encourage buyers to put their best offer forward.
#5 Define What They Have to Offer Besides Cash
Once you’ve got all your best offers, it’s time to discuss contingency periods. You need to find out how long each buyer will take to do inspections, appraisals, and secure their financing. All these things are negotiable, and the buyers who are most invested are likely to agree to do things on your terms.
In many cases, you can get rid of the appraisal contingency if you have plenty of offers. If you need additional time to find somewhere else to live, you can often negotiate this at this stage. We’re talking weeks here, not months. These negotiations are not about trying to take your buyers for a ride, it’s simply about making the process as agreeable to both you, the seller, and the buyer as possible.
#6 Now It’s All About the Money
Once you have all the cards on the table, it all comes back to money. There are two strategies here for you to choose from:
- Ask for a specific figure
- Ask for highest and best
I prefer the latter strategy because it gets the buyer’s imagination going and it becomes up to them to define what “highest and best” is. You avoid asking for less money than they were willing to spend and avoid asking for a figure that’s completely out of their ability when they would have offered you a great number.
When you ask for highest and best, you also need to give a deadline. Here in Washington State, we default to 2 days. This gives potential buyers time to decide whether they can offer anything better and whether they’re invested or would prefer to move on. You don’t want to force them to make a snap decision out of fear, since that may lead to trouble down the road, or to you missing out on a good offer. Two days gives them a night or two to sleep on it.
#7 Get it Under Contract
Once you’ve got all your offers, it’s time to choose which offer you want to take. Don’t stress about this now – you’ll find that it’s an obvious choice, in almost all cases. Once you’ve accepted, you can head into escrow.
Your agent should now call all non-successful agents and buyers to let them know they weren’t successful. Why? Firstly, because it’s courteous and your agent should want to have positive relationships with other agents, and secondly because you want to keep those buyers close.
You want those buyers close so you can remind your buyer that there were plenty of other offers you could have chosen, so they don’t start trying to negotiate once you’re under contract. This isn’t confrontational, but it’s a firm reminder that you’re still the one with the asset that they want – they aren’t in a position to start knocking down the purchase price. This will get you through to the other side of the sale with the absolute maximum amount of money in your pocket.
So there you have it! Your 7 simple tips to help you manage multiple offers and get the most money for your home. If you’re just starting to think about selling your home in Kitsap County or Western Washington, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any questions. I get tons of phone calls, emails, and text messages from people looking to move to or sell in the area, and I love it! I’ve got your back when you’re selling or moving in Western Washington. Click here to contact me today. If you’re in another part of the country, feel free to reach out to me too! I’ll be able to point you in the direction of a great agent who will meticulously help you manage multiple offers and get top dollar for your home.