You know, the greatest pleasure I derive from writing these tips, such as they are, comes from the ensuing reader comments that float their way back to me.
Comments generally make me think, reconsider and even, occasionally, feel validated. They keep me in line.
I have received numerous generous comments about our willingness to share the nuggets of information that we have been able to mine along the way.
As I often find that the right direction for my path gets illuminated by others, I will carry on sharing whatever plums happen to come my way.
I had many favourable comments about last week’s Tip Number 28 regarding a strategy for winning in multiple offers situations and received requests for more hints to help win the day.
As every hot central listing seems to be geared towards initiating a bidding war, these requests for additional hints seem very timely indeed.
So, here we go.
If you want your offer to be the one to secure that Seller’s autograph of approval, it must score high in each of the following categories:
- The Overall Package: It helps greatly if the Seller wants to sell to your Buyers. To want to sell to your Buyers, Sellers must feel good about you and your Buyers. Act professionally (that includes your attire); have offers, clauses and paperwork there, legible and correctly completed; and try to have orchestrated an opportunity for the Sellers to have at least met your Buyers. Do what you can to make every aspect of your presentation impressive.
- Prove value to your Buyers. Show them what comparable houses are currently selling for. Remind them. Educate them. Encourage them.
- Don’t tell Buyers: “It will never go for $X.” because it just may well. If you have indicated to your Buyers a figure beyond which you think the property will not sell, the Buyers will not go beyond that cap because, after all, you are the professional. Don’t forget that a property is worth what the top Buyer is willing to pay. New benchmarks seem to be set almost daily. Avoid the trap of telling a Buyer that a property is not worth a certain amount.
- Price. Get the highest price you can from your Buyers, in Round One. You are not guaranteed a second kick at the can. Make the first one count. Tell your Buyers that you need their best price, right from the beginning. Ask them: “At what price will you not regret losing the house because that price is higher than it is worth to you or higher than you are willing to go?” Then ask them to submit an offering price as close to that figure as they will possibly consider going.
- Deposit. The higher, the better. ‘Nuff said there.
- Certify the deposit cheque? Yes, it adds credibility.
- Flexible possession. If possible, give the Seller the option to advance/delay completion date.
- Few conditions, if any. Read tip Number 16
- Prove your Buyer’s capacity to close. Use pre-approval mortgage documentation, letter from bank?
- Inclusions. Win the war, not the battle. Don’t ask for anything to be included that is not indicated in the listing. I have seen deals not come together because of the Buyer’s perceived unreasonableness indicated through their inclusion of a treasured dining room chandelier! It is your job to keep the emotionality and the transaction negotiations separate.
- Have your Buyer write a note, provide a business card, give you a photo to present to the Seller. Every little action helps.
- Keep your Buyer available during offer presentation. We had one deal lost not too long ago because our Buyer was half an hour away, at home with the kids having refused to hire a baby sitter. The winning Buyer was in his agent’s car, outside the house during the presentations and quickly submitted what the Sellers had indicated they wanted. Don’t lose out because you’re stuck in traffic.
- Insist that the listing agent outline the multiple offer process at the outset and hold them accountable for any changes to that programme.
It is a son of a gun to lose when in multiple offers — so stressful on both the unsuccessful agents and Buyers. It’s a much easier pill for everyone to swallow if the process has been fair and your Buyers didn’t get the house because someone else was legitimately willing to pay more.
Note to some listing agents: is your reputation worth the few extra bucks to unethically orchestrate a double-ended multiple offer deal in your favour? What goes around, comes around. Play fair as agents tend to have very, very long memories.
Good luck putting together a winning package for you and your clients.
One final word of advice: just ignore absolutely everything I said above if one of the agents you are in competition with in your next multiple offer scenario is an agent from our office!!