How to Pick the Best Offer in a Multiple-Offer Situation
Helping the seller to pick the best offer is an important part of a listing agent’s job. Sometimes we have only one offer so it’s a no-brainer. Although, I will say we received a full-price offer on another listing recently when the seller snapped, “I’m not taking THAT.” What? Why not? Because the seller expected buyers to fight over her home and to offer more than list price. She just didn’t share those thoughts with me until we received an offer. It was our only offer, too.
The only thing we could do was take it off the market and put it back at a higher price. I didn’t want buyers to see we had raised the price, or they might not want to buy it. They might misjudge the situation and think the seller is crazy. I wanted a nice clean presentation at the higher price.
Now, obviously, when we receive multiple offers much of the time there might be that one particular offer that stands out from the rest of average offers. Sometimes, I might suggest the seller counter only one offer. Other times I might suggest we counter two or three, even offers we don’t want. We make the counters outrageous that if they did accept, we might reconsider.
But the problem that happens more often than not is we will receive two offers that are very similar to each other. They might even be for the exact price. Then what do you do? How do you pick the best offer? One method is to consider the qualifications of the borrower. For example, how much is the earnest money? Who is the mortgage lender? We usually lean toward local lenders, btw. A loan officer with a recognized track record and local appraisal management companies.
Yeah, so what happens if all of those things are equal? Maybe the net is identical to the seller. Both buyers very strong, qualified, committed. What can make the difference then? In my experience, it boils down to the buyer’s agent. Who is the buyer’s agent? Is that agent difficult or cooperative? After all, we need to count on the buyer’s agent to educate the buyer throughout the process and manage her or his side of the transaction.
We are often in daily contact with the agent. Is the agent responsive? Quick to communicate? Professional? The agent can make or break the buyer’s chances of winning a multiple offer situation. One of the last determining factors when considering how to pick the best offer is deciding on which agent we want to be in escrow with. While Sacramento listing agents don’t pick the best offer themselves, we do help the seller to choose.
So buyer’s agents should think about whether it is really wise to be argumentative off the bat. How being pushy and aggressive is not the way to best represent their buyer. I’ve watched more than one deserving buyer lose the house because of their agent’s lousy attitude.