How Do Home Sellers Handle Multiple Offers?
In a competitive real estate market it’s not uncommon for a seller to receive multiple offers on their home. As a seller, this is a great position to be in but as a buyer, it’s less than ideal. Winding up in a multiple-offer situation can be confusing for all parties involved because there isn’t one specific way multiple-offer situations are handled.
Every home seller is different therefore how they handle multiple offers will be different too. So when a buyer is submitting an offer on a home in a competitive real estate market they need to understand they might be entering a multiple offer situation. Not only understanding this is a possibility but also knowing what to expect.
So what happens when there are multiple offers on a house? Let’s take a look at the 4 most common ways sellers handle multiple offer situations.
Request Highest and Best
One of the most common ways sellers handle multiple offers is by requesting every buyer’s “highest and best” offer. So what exactly does “highest and best” mean? It means the seller is giving every buyer who submitted an offer on their home an opportunity to make changes to their offer and resubmit it.
These changes should be the buyer’s highest and best terms they’re willing to offer. Terms will include the highest purchase price, highest escrow amount, shortest escrow due date(s), least amount of contingencies, shortest contingency periods, and the best closing date. When a seller calls for “highest and best” it will come with a deadline. So it’s important for buyers to resubmit their offer with any changes in writing prior to the deadline expiring.
It’s important for homebuyers to understand when they are instructed to submit their highest and best offer it’s their only opportunity to change their offer. They should not expect the seller to counter their offer, think the seller will wait around past the deadline for their offer, or that a full-price offer will win. It’s not uncommon for other home buyers to offer well above the list price in a multiple-offer situation because they really want the home. So offering $1 above the list price might not cut it in a competitive real estate market.How sellers handle multiple offers will vary because every seller and every seller's situation is different, but here are the most common ways sellers handle multiples. #realestate #homeselling
Counter One Offer
Not all sellers will disclose they have received multiple offers especially if one offer, in particular, stands out. So instead of requesting the highest and best offers from all parties, some sellers may choose to counter one offer and see if they can come to terms.
Now a lot of homebuyers don’t understand why a seller wouldn’t notify all parties that they received multiple offers and give everyone an opportunity to change their offer. However, in my experience, some sellers don’t want to risk losing an offer that has the potential to be perfect for another offer that may never come if they were to request the highest and best.
Typically when a seller decides to counter one offer it’s because there are only a few terms they’d like to change. Something simple such as price or close date, so they’ll counter. When countering a single offer the seller may disclose to the buyer they received multiple offers. However, are choosing to counter their offer and only work with them in hopes they’ll agree to the changes. Some buyers will jump at the opportunity to avoid a bidding war and accept the seller’s counter, but others won’t.
If the first offer doesn’t pan out the seller may elect to counter a second offer and still avoid requesting highest and best once again. Not every seller wants to go the highest and best route and buyers need to be aware that’s a possibility.
Accept an Offer
With multiple offers being commonplace in many parts of the country some home buyers will submit their “highest and best” offer from the start. They do so in an attempt to have their offer accepted by the seller and avoid a bidding war. Sometimes this tactic works and the seller will accept their offer without even entertaining the other offers.
In this scenario, both parties may look at this as a win-win. The buyer put their best foot forward instilling confidence in the seller that they love their home and will make it to the closing table and the buyer gets to avoid a bidding war. When this happens it tends to leave other buyers who submitted an offer disappointed because they didn’t get a chance to negotiate or change their offer. Once again it’s important for buyers to understand the market they are competing in and how sellers handle multiple offer situations.
It’s rare, but sometimes a seller may choose to do absolutely nothing. I’ve only encountered this situation once, the seller didn’t feel they had to do anything. They assumed if a buyer really wanted their home they’d chase them. This definitely isn’t the norm, but in this case, the buyer whose offer was accepted did chase them because they really wanted the house.
Homebuyers need to understand the real estate market and what to expect. If they’re in a hot market they’ll probably want to submit their highest and best offer from the start. They also need to understand some sellers will underprice their homes to generate a multiple-offer situation.
This is where working with a top Realtor who specializes in the area can greatly benefit a buyer. Their agent will not only be able to guide them through the process but also educate them along the way.
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Popular Home Selling Questions
Can a Realtor tell you what other offers are? Generally, a Realtor cannot disclose the specifics of other offers on a property without the consent of the involved parties. The details of offers, including the offer amount, terms, and conditions, are typically confidential between the buyer, seller, and their respective agents. This confidentiality helps maintain a fair and unbiased negotiation process.
However, Realtors may be able to provide guidance and advice based on their experience and market knowledge to help you make informed decisions about your own offer. It’s important to communicate openly with your Realtor and discuss your preferences, budget, and strategy to ensure they can provide the best guidance throughout the buying or selling process.
What is a multiple offer disclosure? A multiple offer disclosure, also known as a multiple offer situation disclosure or notice, is a document provided by the listing agent to potential buyers when there are multiple offers on a property.
This disclosure informs buyers that there are multiple competing offers on the property and outlines the process that will be followed to handle the situation. While this disclosure may be required in some states in others it may not even exist. So it’s important for buyers to understand they may not be notified they’re in a multiple offer situation.
The listing agent says multiple offers, can they lie? While it is not ethical or professional for a listing agent to lie about the presence of multiple offers, it is still possible for misinformation or miscommunication to occur. It is important to remember that the real estate industry operates on trust and integrity, and agents are expected to uphold these standards. However, in some rare cases, an agent may provide inaccurate information or exaggerate the presence of multiple offers to create a sense of urgency or encourage higher bids.
About the Author
Top Wellington Realtor, Michelle Gibson, wrote: “How Do Home Sellers Handle Multiple Offers?”
Michelle has been specializing in residential real estate since 2001 throughout Wellington Florida and the surrounding area. Whether you’re looking to buy, sell or rent she will guide you through the entire real estate transaction. If you’re ready to put Michelle’s knowledge and expertise to work for you call or e-mail her today.
Areas of service include Wellington, Lake Worth, Royal Palm Beach, Boynton Beach, West Palm Beach, Loxahatchee, Greenacres, and more.
How Do Home Sellers Handle Multiple Offers?