How should a seller resolve which offer to accept when multiple offers are outstanding?

Asked by Ron Peterson, Vancouver, WA Sat Sep 18, 2010

I am interested in a good price, early closing, and more certain closing.

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Ruth and Per…, Agent, Los Gatos, CA
Sat Sep 18, 2010
Hi Ron

A seller in a multiple offer situation will go with the offer which has the highest chances of
Closing and the working relationship between the listing agent and your agent.

Key factors are , your down payment, your Bank approval letter and your terms, such as
as-is, time to close the deal, and how clean is your offer.

Good luck.
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2 votes
Karla Wagner, Agent, Bonney Lake, WA
Sat Sep 18, 2010
I agree, your Realtor is the professional and should be able give the best advice. While the highest price is important -- in this market, it's even more important to take a look at what type of financing they've qualified for and how much they're putting down. Make sure you look very closely and pick the best overall terms, not just the best price.
2 votes
Janet Nation,…, Agent, Baldwin, NY
Sat Sep 18, 2010
Here's my two cents. This shouldn't be so complicated, your agent should be able to guide you. No one has a crystal ball. We can use certain factors to make a determination, as mentioned below, but accept one before you lose them both or all, that can happen.
2 votes
Terry Bell, Agent, Santa Rosa, CA
Sat Sep 18, 2010
Well, you didn't say whether any of the offers were full asking price or above. Certainly your agent will be sitting down with you to discuss your situation. I'm not in Wisconsin and the Real Estate laws vary from state to state, but out here in California, it is usually disclosed to the other parties that this is a multiple offer situation, and usually the seller has an opportunity to either accept any of the offers or counter to some or all! Any agent would love to have a client like you that understands that "more certain closing" is an important aspect of the decision making process. I personally feel that the most successful escrows are where both the buyer and seller feel that they have "won" something in the negotiation process. I feel it's important to show respect to such nuances and give the buyers recognition of important factors. In the long run, it may not be the highest price but those other factors that let you sleep well at night! Good luck on your decision, and ps, this is not to say that the highest offer may not be the best as well!
2 votes
Robert North…, Agent, Maplewood, NJ
Sat Sep 18, 2010
Sellers usually look for the highest price and best terms. The highest price may not be necessarly the best contract as contingencies and other terms could make a contract less desirable. Highest Price, Cash offer, and no inspection and flex. closing date will be a dream deal to any sellers. In most cases there is mortgage financing so qualification of the buyer and size of downpayment will impact the quality of the offer.
2 votes
Dan Tabit, Agent, Issaquah, WA
Sat Sep 18, 2010
You need to prioritize your goals, rank each offer as to how well they meet your goals and consider which offers are the most likely to close.
If you have two offers for the same price, but one is putting significantly more down and has minimal contingencies, I would consider this a better offer than another with minimal down and every conceivable way to get out of the contract. In fact I would accept the large down offer at a slightly lower price than the other. Earnest money is another factor to determine which offer may be stronger, more is always better.
Congratulations on getting multiple offers.
2 votes
Lexie Longst…, Agent, Charlotte, NC
Sat Sep 18, 2010
As a seller the best thing you can do with multiple offers is try and get the buyers to remove certain contingencies. For example if the buyer can get out if they aren't happy with the inspections, then they should accept it in "as is" condition. You could provide a home inspection up front so they can see what they are buying. Make sure they clear all loan conditions. This is difficult now days. But the person with the best loan letter, down payment, etc. will be your best bet. Call the loan officers before you accept the offer and confirm that they have been approved not just pre-qualified.
Good luck! You are lucky to have multiple offers.
2 votes
Jeanne Feeni…, Agent, Basking Ridge, NJ
Sun Sep 19, 2010
Hi there, you've answered your own question Ron - evaluate the offers based on your key criteria. The certainty of closing is certainly a top consdideration - a higher price will mean little if the buyer can't perform.

With the assistance of your agent, evaluate the qualification of the buyer. If financing is involved, the validity and strength of the pre-approval is key. Do you recognize the institution by name and reputation? How firm is the preapproval - in other words how far does the bank take the approval process in order to issue it. Some preapprovals are based on a phone call, others run the credit, still others strengthen further by essentially taking the application. With so much of the purchase price riding on the mortgage, you want to be comfortable with the qualification of the buyer and the bank.

Down Payment: I view this as "skin in the game". The more the buyer puts in, the less strain on the appraisal and also the less likely they will walk away.

If an all cash deal, insist on proof of funds. Again, is the buyer in the position to perform?

Closing Date: Go for the shortest date that is achieveable. Banks need time to do their job, I'd be suspect of an offer tha promises to close in less than 30 days if financing is involved. So I'd suggest a goal of 30-60 days to close. Lagging closing timeframes just provides time for second thoughts. Button it up as quickly as possible.

Sellers are wise to respond prompty especially when multiple offers are involved. It is very unnvering to the buyers involved, and stalling is a risky proposition - efforts to be too clever, and I would put stalling or playing parties against one another squarely in that category, may just result in nothing.

Evaluate carefully, strike a fair deal and move forward in good faith - that is a formula for success.

Jeanne Feenick
Unwavering Commitment to Service
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1 vote
Derek Eyring, Agent, Lake Tapps, WA
Sun Sep 19, 2010
Great advice below! Also, I'm not a big fan of simultaneously countering all offers. The equivalent of "give me your highest and best". I suppose on some levels that works-but call me old fashioned because I think it's far better to take the strongest offer and deal with it first, then the next one and so on...
0 votes
Ron Peterson, Home Buyer, Vancouver, WA
Sun Sep 19, 2010
Thanks for the answers. I probably won't have the problem of multiple offers, but the ability to check with the lender and knowing the size of the down payment will be helpful in looking at an offer.
0 votes
Keith Sorem, Agent, Glendale, CA
Sat Sep 18, 2010
how did your Realtor respond?
This is a process with certain knowns and unknowns..
It is not complicated..can the buyer close?.
0 votes
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