How to Win In Multiple Offer Situations

Real Estate

Columbus continues to see record numbers in home sales through 2018. Buyers are making creative choices to win in competing offers. Check out some of these tips to help you win.


1. Select the right agent.
Your real estate agent will be your guide as you navigate the often-stressful offer process. Find someone who has experience in multiple-offer situations, whose judgment and advice you trust, and who can explain things to you clearly at every step of the way.

2. Get pre-approved for a mortgage loan.
This is an important step for a buyer in any situation, but it’s even more critical if you’re expecting a bidding war so you can show the seller you can actually afford to buy the home. Your agent can help you find a reputable local lender who is known and trusted.

3. Know the market.
Find out if homes comparable to the ones you’re interested in have sold for their list price or for more. How much more? How quickly are they selling? Are most sellers using an offer deadline? Work with your agent to answer these questions before you find a home you want to purchase so you understand what you’ll be getting into.

4. Offer more than list price.
This is where your market research will come in handy. In a hot market, a seller might scoff at being offered the list price for their home if comparable homes have been selling for 25 percent above list. Offer to pay what you think is a fair price based on the research you and your agent have done.

5. Read Agent Reviews

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6. Drop unnecessary contingencies.
A buyer’s offer includes contingencies, which are conditions that must be met for the sale to go through. Some buyers waive certain contingencies to make the offer more attractive to the seller. Talk with your agent about whether you can or should waive any contingencies.

7. Be flexible with the closing date.
Find out as much as you can about the seller’s situation and offer to be flexible with the closing date if that might make a difference.

8. Pay earnest money.
A buyer pays the seller earnest money after their offer is accepted as a sign they are really serious about the purchase. If you back out or the deal falls through for a reason not covered by contingencies, the seller gets to keep this money. You won’t pay it until your offer is accepted, but you’ll tell the seller how much you are willing to pay as part of your offer. Earnest money is usually 1%–3% of the sale price of the home, but you can increase the earnest money as a way to show the seller you really want the home.

9. Provide your financial information.
Often, the only information that a seller receives about your finances is a pre-approval letter from your lender. In some places, there is also an optional (but sometimes mandatory) financial information sheet you can share with the seller and the seller’s agent. Ask your lender to share useful information about your financial situation — such as your length of employment, savings and credit score — to help you make a winning offer.

10. Write a personal letter.
Sometimes, a seller just wants to know that the home they love will be cared for by someone else. Tell the seller why you love the home. Compliment them on a recent renovation, a color palette choice or the landscaping. It won’t always matter, but sometimes a personal touch can mean more than having the highest bid.

11. Negotiate with the seller.
It’s great if the seller chooses your offer, but you’re not done yet. Keep in mind that the seller had other options, and be sensitive in your negotiations. If your offer included an inspection, be selective about what you ask the seller to pay for or repair. Respond quickly to any requests for information and be flexible if things like the closing date shift.


For more information or to schedule an appointment with Cody Butler, please contact 614-603-0777 or email

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