In today’s red-hot market, multiple offers aren’t just common — they’re downright expected.
With historically low inventory, ever-rising home prices, and hordes of hungry buyers out there, most sellers receive several bids just hours after their listing goes live.
But choosing which bid to go with doesn’t just mean looking for the highest number. In fact, picking the highest bidder may actually hurt your buyer in the end.
Want to help your sellers evaluate offers and hone in on which one is the best for their needs? Here’s what to look for:
Does the buyer have a conventional or FHA loan? FHA loans require down payments as low as 3.5% and credit scores of 580 or even lower, meaning buyers might not be as financially stable as you’d like. Conventional loans are a little harder to come by, with stricter credit score and down payment requirements. Buyers with these types of loans are usually less likely to pull out of the deal due to financing issues.
In this market, there’s no reason to even consider an offer if the buyer hasn’t been preapproved for a loan yet. Not only is it risky to the sale, but it could also potentially set back your move weeks or even months. If the buyer backs out because they can’t secure financing, it’s back to the drawing board with staging, showings and negotiations. Do your sellers have the time for that? Better yet, your sellers should be keeping an eye out for buyers that are Approved to Move™, which means they already have a full approval.
If the buyer has been preapproved, who is their lender? What is that lender’s reputations? Dig in and do a little research as to how quickly they typically close loans, how smoothly their closing process goes, and if buyers often encounter hiccups along the way. You want your sellers to pick as sure a bet as possible, so choose buyers with solid, trustworthy lenders that have a reputation for excellence.
Buyers put down earnest money to indicate their good faith in the offer proceeding as stated. If the buyer backs out before the sale goes through, they lose that earnest money — as well as the home. Though there’s no required minimum when it comes to earnest money, the more a buyer is willing to put down, the better. Higher earnest money deposits indicate they’re serious about the home and that they’re willing to stake their own hard-earned cash on the deal going through.
Be sure to look at any contingencies buyers are including in their offers, such as home inspection, appraisal, and financing contingencies. In today’s market, many buyers are waiving contingencies in order to secure the home and beat out the competition. If you’re in a multiple-bid situation, consider waiting for an offer that waives them — particularly the appraisal contingency, as this one often equals the most losses for a seller.
Are any of the buyers requesting concessions? Things like closing costs, portions of the down payment, included appliances or other items? These are all things that can cost your sellers in the end. Just like contingencies, you may be able to wait for an offer that waives all concessions, especially in a multiple-bid scenario. If you do consider an offer with concessions, make sure it’s a fixed amount, so your sellers know exactly what choosing that bid will cost them.
Many buyers are including personal letters with their offers in order to stand out from the crowd. They may share their personal plight with becoming a homeowner, they might talk about their family, job or service to the community, or they may just try to appeal to your sellers’ emotions. Ask your sellers up front if they want to consider personal letters when evaluating offers.
What is the estimated closing date on all the offers? If your sellers are on a specific timeline for when they want to be out of the house or into their new one, make sure you’re looking carefully at the closing dates on each offer. These will vary greatly depending on loan type, lender, and other details. Talk with your sellers about their ideal closing date, and help them hone in on which offers can get them there.
Choosing the Best Offer Isn’t Always Easy
Getting multiple bids on a home is great news for you and your sellers — but it does mean a little extra work in evaluating and analyzing your offers. Make sure you and your sellers are clear on the end-goal and that you’ve discussed priorities in timing, loan type, contingencies, and concessions. The more you know ahead of time, the easier it will be to spot potential winning offers as they come in.
When your sellers are ready to start shopping for that new home, send them our way. An Embrace home loan officer can help.