What happens when a seller gets multiple offers?

There is a misconception about real estate today: That competitive bidding is a thing of the past. It’s not, despite the current market being favorable to buyers today.

Listings that debut on the market with competitive prices, as well as properties that have had price reductions to make them more competitive, will often garner the interest of more than one buyer.

If you are the lucky seller in this situation, there are many strategies to consider. But first, there are some key factors for both the buyer and seller to remember: Sellers want to get the highest price and best terms; buyers want to buy at the lowest price and with the most favorable terms. This is where the listing agent’s and buyer’s representative’s communication is paramount, and each situation is unique.

Price is not always the winner. Terms —such as closing dates, mortgage contingencies — all play a part in the decision of the seller, so if you are on the purchasing side, my advice as a buyer’s representative is to make the offer as clean and “seller-centric” as possible.

As the seller, you may want to go back to both or all the buyers and ask for a “best and final” offer, but this can sometimes frighten the buyers, who may walk away. In my experience, and in current market conditions, if you have a qualified buyer who has given the seller an offer that is acceptable, and other bids come in, begin with the first bid. If that can be turned into a contract—with a deposit and in a reasonable amount of time, that will be the lucky buyer. If not, the listing agent can recommend to move on the second buyer and so forth—time being of the essence.

Fair and honest treatment throughout the process, in conjunction with prompt and open communication between all parties will further the chances that all of the buyers, successful or not, feel that they were treated fairly and honestly.

Jane Howard Basham, Houlihan Lawrence, 203-869-0700, ext. 40279 office; 203-253-5688 cell; jbasham@houlihanlawrence.com

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