Multiple-Offer Do’s and Don’ts

dos-and-donts_thumbsYep…still waxing on about Multiple Offers.  So much to say. So little time.  And so little ad space!!  If you all chip in – I can buy a full page next week and finish this up once and for all.  I’ll go halfies with you! Send your contributions c/o the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

Today we’re going to try to help Buyers who are about to enter into the Multiple Offer fray,  polish their resume and prep for the upcoming, all-important presentation of their offer.

In other words… Why the heck should that Seller pick your offer above and beyond the other three or five or ten offers sitting in front of them?  How can you get an edge? A leg up on the competition?

Well…. you could bounce the offering price up a couple $100k.  That would probably earn you a few extra brownie points.  But absent total auction-type insanity on your part,  what’s a reasonably sane posture to take in an otherwise completely crazy process where there is absolutely no certainty.

The only thing you can control in the bizarro world of multiple offers is you and your own choices.  No one elses’.   People that make egregious mistakes when making an offer usually do so because they can’t control themselves.

Multiple offers aren’t always decided by dollars alone. It’s not the highest bidder that necessarily wins out in the end.  Sometimes it’s the other side of the multiple offer equation –  namely – how a Seller or Seller’s Agent feels about you or at least perceives you.

Yes. Realty often follows perception.  Everything else being equal, an Agent will usually advocate for and a Seller will often opt for the person and offer that they most resonate with on a more, visceral, personal level – well below any threshold of desire they may have to get every last dollar possible.

So whaddya going to do to make the Seller like you?  Let’s start with what not to do. A few rudimentary rules of thumb.

When you go to that first open house and the Listing Agent is there, don’t criticize the house in front of them.  Don’t ask questions that indicate you might be fearful or unsure about buying.  Don’t talk about how you and your partner aren’t on the same page. Don’t blurt out that you have a house to sell. Or relatives that you hope will give you a gift.  Don’t mention that you are an attorney. Or that you even know any attorneys.  Don’t talk about the last real estate agent you fired.  Don’t whine and complain about how unfair a multiple offer market is.  And don’t try to wheedle your way into the Listing Agent’s good graces and appeal to their greed by telling them you don’t have an Agent and you want them to represent you.

Trust me.  We know when you really have an Agent.  Or when your ethics are so loose that you are willing to toss the Agent who’s been driving you around for six months aside for a shot it.  If you are willing to dump someone who’s worked hard for you –  then – why can you be trusted to follow through on an offer commitment to a stranger?  Besides….a Listing Agent (in my opinion) is just plain dumb if they try to represent a buyer themselves when they have ten other offers coming in from other Agents.  Dumb.

Where were we? Oh yeah…Don’t get overanxious and call the Listing Agent with twenty questions ten minutes after the property pops up new on your Search Engine.  Don’t say:  “Tell me all about the house” when you have your own Agent and you haven’t even driven by it yet.    Don’t ask them to show it to you because your Agent is out of town on vacation.  Above all, don’t ask them to show it to you because your Agent is too busy to show it to you.

I know some of this probably sounds harsh.  But I’m just trying to keep it real here.

When you are a buyer in a potential multiple offer situation you are auditioning to play the part of  prospective suitor.  If you want the Seller to get into bed with you in a deal they’ll need to feel good it.

So – don’t telegraph any hint that you might be trouble ahead of time.  More next week.

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