How to Make the Most of Multiple Offers

February 16, 2024

Tim Clarke

Make the most of multiple offers on your home. Expert tips when selling in a competitive market. Join Now!

Selling a home can be really exciting, especially if you get more than one buyer interested in purchasing your property.

While multiple offers seem great, it can be tricky to figure out which offer to accept. This guide will walk you through the process of comparing offers and choosing the right buyer.

The Most Important Factors to Consider

When reviewing multiple offers, there are several key things you'll want to look at:

Purchase Price

The purchase price is how much the buyer is willing to pay for your home. Naturally, you might be tempted to go with the highest number. But price shouldn't be the only deciding factor.

Don't Just Focus on the Highest Price

When excited buyers get into a bidding war over your house, it's easy to only pay attention to the dollar amount and go with the highest offer.

But there are a few reasons why highest price doesn't necessarily mean best offer:

  • Contingencies add uncertainty. Even a sky-high offer with lots of contingencies could fall through, leaving you back at square one.
  • Financing issues happen. Just because a buyer offers top dollar doesn't guarantee they'll get approved for a mortgage.
  • Concessions cut into your profits. Large concessions can eat into your sale proceeds, so a higher price doesn't always equal more money in your pocket.
  • Closing dates matter. An offer with a closing date that doesn't work for your move-out could create headaches.

Due Diligence Fee

When comparing due diligence fees across multiple offers, a higher fee often indicates a buyer who is more serious about purchasing the home.

It shows they are willing to put more money at risk in order to properly assess the property.

As a seller, a larger due diligence fee gives you greater assurance that the buyer is committed to moving forward with the purchase.

It reduces the chance that the buyer will terminate for inconsequential reasons during their due diligence period.

A buyer who puts up a sizable due diligence fee is essentially "putting their money where their mouth is".

This signals to the seller that the buyer has done their homework and is ready to take the next steps.

In a multiple offer situation, sellers have more leverage to negotiate with buyers who have proposed larger due diligence fees.

You can use this as justification to press for other favorable terms, like a shorter due diligence period or fewer contingencies.

Overall, pay close attention to the size of the due diligence fee when reviewing competing offers. It can be a predictive indicator of the buyer's seriousness and likelihood of closing the transaction.

Earnest Money Deposit

This is a sum of money the buyer puts down to demonstrate they are serious about purchasing your home.

A higher earnest money deposit means the buyer is less likely to back out of the deal before closing. Look for buyers who make sizable earnest money deposits.

Closing Date

The closing date is when the sale of the home will be finalized. Make sure the buyer's proposed closing date aligns with when you need to move out. If it doesn't fit your move-out timeline, that could complicate things.

Contingencies

Contingencies are conditions that must be met before the sale can become official.

For example, the buyer may need to sell their current home first before they can purchase yours. Contingencies can lead to delays and sometimes cause deals to fall through altogether. Offers without contingencies are less risky.

Financing Details

Review how the buyer plans to pay for the home. Look for pre-approval letters from lenders, which indicate the buyer's finances have been verified.

Also look at the down payment amount - buyers who make larger down payments need less financing.

Buyer Financing

As a through real estate team, we make it a priority to communicate buyer financing differences to our clients and become transparent during the review process of multiple offers.

It's essential to evaluate all aspects of each proposal, genuine intention, and not just the pricing so that the highest possible offer may not always be the best option.

Every homebuyer's financial and credit history, down payment amount and other factors can vary, and knowing what type of financing the buyer is using is an essential factor to consider when making the determination of which buyer is the best candidate to do business with.

Here are some useful tips that can help in understanding the differences in buyer financing:

Look for pre-approval letters

Since a pre-approval letter indicates that the buyer has had their finances reviewed by a lending institution, it can be helpful to reach out to the lender who've issued the pre-approval.

Evaluate the down payment amount

The down payment amount will determine the level of financing a buyer will require for the purchase. A higher down payment means that the buyer is likely to need less financing.

Verify the source of financing

Knowing which type of financing option the buyer is using is essential since some loans, such as FHA, VA, and USDA loans, have varying requirements and limitations.

Contingencies

While some buyers may submit a higher-priced offer than others, it is important to note that the offer may come with contingencies that can impact the sale of your home.

Contingencies are conditions that must be met before the sale goes through. One common contingency is the sale of the buyer's current property, which must be sold before they can purchase a new one.

Having a contingency like this can lead to delays, and may even cause the sale to fall through if the buyer is unable to sell their property in the given timeframe.

Therefore, it's crucial to be cautious of the impact of contingencies on the final sales price.

In contrast, offers that don't contain any contingencies are usually more attractive to sellers, since there are fewer risks involved.

These types of offers are usually favored even if the offer price isn't the highest because they offer greater assurance and assurance to the seller.

Moreover, other contingencies might also include issues related to home inspections which can cause buyers to request certain repairs or renegotiate the sales price to complete the transaction.

Ergo, it's crucial to consider all contingencies that come with any offer to determine if it has the potential to complete successfully or not.

As a real estate agent, your role is to guide your clients through the purchase agreement effectively and help them weigh the pros and cons of every offer that is presented.

The ultimate goal should be to choose an offer that presents the best possible terms for your clients while ensuring that the transaction proceeds quickly and efficiently.

Concessions

These are credits or payments given by the seller to help cover the buyer's closing costs. Understand how concessions will impact your net profits so you can accurately compare offer prices.

The concession amount can either be applied to the overall purchase price or used to cover some of the buyer's closing costs.

My advice is to analyze the impact of the seller concessions when reviewing multiple offers. Ultimately, the ideal offer is the one that gives a balance between price and terms, not discounting the seller concession offered.

Here are some tips that can help in paying attention to seller concessions when reviewing multiple offers:

  1. Recognize the concession costs: It's crucial to understand the full cost of the seller concessions which can potentially impact on your bottom line. Keep in mind, if you accept paying towards buyers expenses, the buyer can still request for more concessions after inspections and other buyer discoveries.
  2. Be aware of the maximum concession allowed for the loan: Different types of loans have different limits for seller concessions. Be sure to check the maximum concession permitted to make informed decisions.
  3. Evaluate the buyer's financial position: Look at the buyer's financial ability via, the earnest money, due diligence fee and down payment amount to determine whether the buyer is capable of completing the purchase. If the seller concession's total cost is more than what the home's value may warrant, it may indicate that the buyer is overreaching financially.
  4. Be cautious of the impact on the net sale proceeds: In instances where the home's appraised value is lower than the accepted offer, the seller concession could significantly impact the net sale proceeds. It's essential to evaluate the costs of seller concessions as they relate to your bottom line.

Home Warranty

Home warranties are insurance policies that protect the home's systems and appliances from breakdowns and failures, which can save the homeowner from any repair costs.

If your highest offers all include warranties, my advice is to consider the terms of each warranty.

Different warranty companies offer varied warranties with different terms, including coverage limits and exclusions.

As a homeowner, it's important to know what the home warranty covers, what it excludes, and if the benefits are worth the cost.

Helpful Tips for Comparing Offers

Here are some useful tips to make sure you review all the details and choose the right offer:

  • Create a spreadsheet. This lets you see all the terms and details side-by-side for easy comparing.
  • Ask your agent to explain unfamiliar terms. There may be real estate lingo in the offers you don't understand - your agent can clarify.
  • Verify financing. Reach out to lenders of buyers with pre-approvals to confirm their financial standing.
  • Know concession costs. Calculate exactly how much seller credits and concessions will cost you so you know their impact.
  • Consider backup offers. Even if you get an ideal offer, have a backup in case it falls through unexpectedly.
  • Focus on the best overall deal, not just the highest number. Make sure the terms and buyer details add up to the right fit.

With multiple eager buyers interested in your property, take your time and weigh all the variables before accepting an offer. The right buyer and terms can make all the difference!

Personal Property

It is essential to remember that personal property included in the Purchase and Sale Agreement is not included in the property's selling price.

Disclosing items clearly in the Purchase and Sale Agreement as personal property allows both parties to agree on the final price of the property and avoid any confusion in the future.

Here is a list of the most common items classified under "Personal Property" in an NC Offer to Purchase:

  1. Appliances: These typically include refrigerator, washer and dryer.
  2. Lighting and window treatments: It may include ceiling fans, light fixtures, and drapery, blinds, tv mounts, or window coverings.
  3. Air conditioning and heating systems: In some cases, HVAC systems are included as personal property, provided they are movable and not permanent fixtures.
  4. Furniture: Sellers may leave furniture such as desks, sofas, chairs, dining room tables, and other furniture items as part of the sale, depending upon the terms specified in the Purchase and Sale agreement.
  5. Outdoor furniture and equipment: These may include patio furniture, lawn chairs, grills, pool equipment, lawn mowers, and other garden tools.
  6. Electronics or home theatre systems: This may include speakers, soundbars, amplifiers, and other home theatre equipment
  7. Personal items: It may include rugs, wall arts, and other decorative items.

Reviewing All Offers

Even if you believe you've identified the most desirable offer, you must acknowledge other reasonable offers.

In North Carolina, the agent is supposed to submit ALL offers to the seller.

Ask for your agent to create a multiple offers spreadsheet so your offers will be easy to view.

Unfortunately, sometimes, a seller may accept an offer only and negotiations fall apart before the transaction closes.

When the best  buyer is no longer an option, your agent should reach out to the next in line as a backup offer.

Expert Advice

Remember, you're not on your own when selling your home through a listing agent.

Your agent has a fiduciary responsibility to protect your best interest. When considering multiple offers, ask your agent for advice.

They'll objectively help you analyze each offer individually to identify which has the most benefits.

When you're selling your home and it’s in a hot market, you’ll need to be prepared to field multiple inquiries from multiple qualified buyers.

Evaluate these offers using what I’ve suggested above and consult with one of the Tim M. Clarke team members for choosing the offer that harbors your best interest.

FAQ

What should I do if I receive multiple offers on my house?

You should review all offers carefully and use them to negotiate the best possible price and terms. Consult your agent on how to leverage competing offers most effectively.

Should I accept the highest offer or the one with the fewest contingencies?

Consider all factors - price, terms, ability to close. More contingencies means more risk of the deal falling through. Weigh the total package and your risk tolerance.

How do I ensure a fair process when selecting from multiple offers?

Reply to all offers by the same deadline and disclose the number of offers received. Give equal consideration and respond to all. Avoid disclosing terms of other offers during negotiations.

What terms should I avoid conceding too much on when negotiating multiple offers?

Avoid over-negotiating on inspection, appraisal and financing terms. Go with the strongest offer that waives as many contingencies as possible.

Should I tell potential buyers there are already offers on the table?

Yes, letting buyers know there is competition can accelerate the process. But don't violate confidentiality of existing offers.

How can I create competition among potential buyers?

Market aggressively, offer open houses, limit showings to create urgency, and leverage agent connections to surface more buyers.

Should I accept an early offer or wait for more to come in?

Wait to review all offers received by your deadline before deciding. The first isn't necessarily the best. Getting more offers improves your negotiating position.

What steps can I take to increase the likelihood of multiple offers?

Price competitively based on recent comparables, stage your home, and time listing go-live for maximum exposure. In hot markets, consider an offer review date.

If I accept an offer, must I stop marketing and showing the home?

Unless your contract states otherwise, you can continue marketing until contingencies are cleared. But no new offers once under contract.

How can I ensure a smooth close when selecting between multiple offers?

Vet buyer financing, review the contract carefully, and keep all parties informed. Avoid re-negotiating terms unless necessary.

Tim M. Clarke

About the author

17 years as a Realtor in the Research Triangle, Tim seeks to transform the Raleigh-Durham real estate scene through a progressive, people-centered approach prioritizing trust & transparency.

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