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Seven Tips For Success In Multiple Offer Situations 05/2011

Bidding wars are happening again here in Maple Ridge, and across the country. It’s every sellers’ (and listing agents) dream, to have people fighting over what you have to sell.  The chances increase that you will close this deal- and that you that you will get a good price for your client.

However, if you don’t have a strategy, this dream business proposition could turn quickly to a nightmare.

 Perhaps more so than in any other part of this business, handling multiple offers is a potentially explosive public relations minefield.  It is not enough to do the right thing- you must look like you are doing the right thing.

There is no definitive answer to the best way to handle multiple offers, simply because so many different scenarios exist- as in, how many different agents are involved? Are you the agent for the multiple offers? How many are there?  And the list goes on and on.

Despite all of the differing potential situations, - there are fundamental things in common.

So here are 7 expert suggestions….

 Be a stickler for details- and keep your eye on the ball

Present offers as you get them, in the order that you get them.  Not only is this a question of ethics, but even if your intentions are in your clients’ best interests, sitting on an offer can be misperceived in many different ways.

No time like the present

If you are the buyers agent and you know that multiple offers will be presented, encourage your client to really think their offer through. If there is a bidding war looming, potential buyers may not get another chance to bid on the property. This is not high pressure sales—it is a statement of fact- and should be presented as such- and clients that are really keen will likely draw the same conclusion.


People appreciate honesty. In an intensely emotional situation like the sale/purchase of a house- with the added intensity of multiple offers- trust is a big issue.  Avoid fallout later by being up front about everything now.

Remember too, that despite best efforts, in a multiple offer situation, there will always be someone leaving the table unhappy—and you have to be proactive throughout the process, by communicating- and by forewarning people- to minimize finger pointing in your direction when the deal is done.

Pick one- and then have a backup plan

As a sellers agent, from the sea of offers, have a front runner- but don’t dismiss the others. Things can change, or fall through- it pays to have a back up plan, and in this case your backup plan comes from the other offers sitting in front of you. Empathize with buyers whose offers are rejected as well, its all part of networking for the future.

Apples to apples

Don’t encourage your client to accept an offer strictly based on price- consider other elements of the offer. Are there conditions?  Are there items in the property that the buyer/seller want included or removed?  The value of an offer must be evaluated based on everything the seller wants, not just the dollars and cents.

Advise, but don’t direct.

The decision to accept or reject offers is ultimately down to the seller.  Even if they may be leaning in a direction that you don’t agree with, you must represent them to the best of your abilities. You can suggest, certainly- many clients are counting on you for advice- but don’t call the shots.  This too can be misperceived.

Great work today- more business tomorrow

Get inside the head of your client- and try to look at your actions through their eyes.  Always be mindful of the deal at hand- but meanwhile be laying the base for future deals through referrals. The client that trusts you – and is satisfied with the transparency of your service to them, is the client who will recommend you to others.

While multiple offers can be a potentially profitable situation, be acutely aware of the problems inherent with a these situations and always have your client’s perception of you as a guide.

Do you have experience with managing multiple offer situations either from a seller or buyer perspective? We would love to hear your stories so please comment on this article. See below! Article referenced from C1st subscription to PropertyWireCanada, now a contributing partner in our Maple Ridge Office.

 Canadian 1st Management Team, Adrian Gagner & Dave Browne

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