For many people buying, selling, and moving house is rated as one of the most stressful times in a person's life. Add to that the recent difficulty of such a strong real estate sellers market here in the Niagara Region where seemingly everything sells in a bidding war, and you only add gasoline to that fire.
As a real estate agent in Niagara, it's my job to help local and out of town buyer clients move through the process, helping them (and hopefully you as well) understand the options and some of the strategies for approaching a great listing in a multiple offer scenario. You can do this right, it can greatly increase your chances at getting that illusive accepted offer!
Here are 6 tips we use to help our clients when going into competitive multi-offer situations...
#1 - Understand what the sellers are looking for
All sellers are unique and have unique motivations for their move. In all honesty, prices is often the highest motivator when deciding between the offers on the the table. However, there are often other factors that pay into the decision making, and in some cases even trump the price card. For example, sellers who are relocating or are already closing on another house they've bought, may be looking for fast and clean closing in a specific time period. Another example where price wouldn't be the most important factor is the attractive nature of a cash offer over higher bids with contingencies.
While working with the listing agent and their clients will never be a completely open door of communication, going the extra mile in digging for those little factors often makes all the difference in the end. Don't be afraid to ask kind hearted questions that are rooted in trying to create a win-win scenario for both you and the sellers.
#2 - Clean up your offer as much as possible (no conditions)
Presenting a clean offer without conditions is one of the greatest way to float to the top of the pile in a bidding war. That being said, removing conditions comes with risk, after all, those conditions are generally put there by buyers for a reason - to protect them. But while protection for you great, it usually means options and even a lack of commitment/preparedness to close on the property, and sellers know this. Carefully laying out your options together we can sometimes "clean up your offer" which means reduce unnecessary conditions that will make our offer more attractive. It's important to walk through each condition together and understand the potential consequences of including or removing those conditions to put together the best offer for both you and the seller. While it's always great to win, we never want to put together a winning offer you'll regret.
#3 - Offer amounts just above typical offer points
Know that we've done what we can to known all the details about what the seller wants, and we've done what we can to bring the cleanest offer possible, let's talk about making our offer price look as attractive as we can.
Obviously there's a ceiling as to what you're able to afford - whether that amount comes from personal budget or the pre-approval amount dictated by the lender, and we need to work within that amount as best we can. But here's a strategy that we like to use that often gives your top offer just look that much sweeter... Try to offer an amount that just above the normal price points for most other offers. What I mean by that is if your desired budget and plan is to offer $800,000, considering giving it a small bump to $802,900. The extra could be all you need to win the war and ultimately carries very little impact on the affordability long term!
#4 - Include certified funds in WITH your offer
One sneaky way to float to the top and show your serious is to include your deposit WITH your offer. Typically the deposit is submitted once the offer has been accepted but if you can take the extra step and include the deposit with your offer you'll likely be one of the only offers to do so. This will show that you're serious, prepared, and able to move quickly, all traits sellers love when choosing a buyer to work with.
If you have the means to make a cash offer (without conditions), the best approach is to submit a copy of their certified deposit cheque along with it. Letting the sellers know that your finances are in order will help ensure that sellers feel confident about accepting your offer above the others.
#5 - Allow us to present in person
We live in a fast paced digital age, and that means that 99% of offers are emailed in to the listing agent who then presents all the offers to their client alone. But impressions matter and allowing us to present your offer in person can make a big impact in making your offer stand out yet again. While this brings no assurances that your offer will be accepted, all the little things can make a difference.
#6 - Be ready and available
One of the most important things to win as a homebuyer in a hot Niagara real estate market is to be ready and available come offer presentation. All buyers need to be ready to make decisions around their offer in multiple offer scenario. Decisions are often made quickly and over the phone negotiations are often required to seal the deal. Saying "I can't reach my client" to the listing agent may just end up being the iceberg that sinks our perfect beautiful ship. Being available and quickly could make all the difference.
Buying a house should be fun and exciting but buyer's fatigue is a real thing. Loosing offer after offer in the competitive Niagara real estate market can lead to throwing in the towel. But, with these strategies above I can firmly say that we've never had to write more than 2 to 3 offers for our clients before they find their place and ultimately are that top offer!