Multiple-Offer Scenarios: The Secret Goes Beyond the Highest Price
In a competitive market, multiple-offer scenarios become less of an exception and more the norm. Right now, agents across the country are getting creative across the board in their business pursuits – from plumping up their listings pipeline to making sure their buyer’s offer stands out in a sea of similar offers. Bidding wars can be daunting on both sides of the equation. On the seller side, factors like move-in dates and repair requests can affect the final decision. For buyers, the highest offer isn’t always the winning offer. As an agent, it is your fiduciary duty to communicate on behalf of your client’s best interests, no matter which side of the offer you stand on.
If you are representing a buyer, set the stage for success before the offer is even made, and then follow through by crafting an offer that will get the seller’s attention – and get your buyer to the closing table. Here is how.
Lay the Foundation Before the Offer
Getting the stage set for a winning offer starts with a little prep before the offer is even made.
Educate the buyer. By preparing buyers to understand the market and trust your advice, they’re more open to agility and quick decision-making when a listing turns into a multiple-offer scenario. “Preparation is the one thing that will improve your conversion going forward,” says Fair Lawn, New Jersey, agent Ron Lugashi, who brought in $19 million in GCI for 2020. “We have to prepare buyers for what the market conditions are to prepare them on what the buying process is like and to prepare them for how to strengthen offers.”
Develop trust. Buyers need to feel confident in your expertise and guidance before entering into the stressful process of drawing up the offer. “Up front, create the sense that you’re the expert by answering their questions before they actually have the questions,” says Taylor Lomprez, an agent in Bluffton, South Carolina. “That’s the relationship they want. If they had a sister that was a Realtor, they would choose them. They just want someone to be their side. So throughout the process, before we even get to the contract, I’m showing that I’m on their side.”
Treat the listing agent like a client. Buyers aren’t the only ones who benefit from a little pre-offer TLC. “You have to show them your professionalism and expertise,” Lomprez says. One way to do that is by asking the listing agent the right questions prior to submitting an offer, such as “Outside of price, what’s the most important thing for your seller to see in this offer?” or “How would you like me to send my client’s documents? What would make your life easier?”
Make the Offer Stand Out
An offer might compete against one or as many as dozens, but the important thing to remember is, as Lugashi says – “The name of the game isn’t the highest offer but the strongest one.”
Key levers that can strengthen your offer might be discovered from your due diligence with the listing agent. Is the seller looking for a lease-back or a shorter closing timeline? These conversations with the agent can be where your offer is won or lost, so remember to project confidence, do your homework (especially about comps and other data), strive for the win-win, and always focus on building rapport. Advocate for your clients as teammates to show how invested you are, and be honest and responsive throughout your interactions.
Also, keep in mind that, in the seller’s mind, the strength of an offer might mean minimizing risk of the deal falling apart during underwriting. Mitigate this by developing a reputation of working with the best lenders possible and emphasizing your ability to move clients through underwriting swiftly and seamlessly. Jennifer Kinzalow, a buyer’s agent in Marietta, Georgia, who closed more than 30 transactions last year, takes it a step further by connecting her lender directly with the listing agent.
“I take the opportunity to have my lender call and introduce themselves,” she says. “They go over why they’re calling and explain how our client is a qualified purchaser for the home.”
For Lomprez, standing out means getting her message out with an innovative strategy designed to capture the listing agent’s attention while they’re inundated with multiple offers.
“You’ve called them, you left a message, and it’s not working because all the other offers are calling and leaving messages,” she says. “So, instead of just a text, now I’m going to send a video. Whether it’s parked in my car or in my office, I’m going to say, ‘Hey, I just wanted to personally introduce myself and let you know I did send you an email with an offer attached. Let me know if I can help at all in reading and understanding that offer.