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Making An Offer They Can't Refuse

How to Win a Bidding War without Paying the Highest Price

When the demand for houses in a sizzling marketplace outweighs the supply of houses available, many consumers think the highest offer is a sure-fire way to claim ownership of their dream home. In today's fast-paced market, Coldwell Banker® professionals know that bidding for a house doesn't always require upping the stakes.

Accommodate the seller. As a buyer, you have to be flexible and willing to sacrifice a bit. Whether it's being willing to close one month earlier or later, do your best to meet the seller's desired closing time. Additionally, be willing to overlook the more minor and but less-than-perfect characteristics of a given home because other prospective buyers may not be able or willing to do so. "If the seller is under pressure and wants the house sold quickly, they'll prefer to work with the buyer that can accommodate them the most," said Richard Parlante, sales associate, Coldwell Banker McFadden & Sprowls, Naples, FL.

Prepare. If you are willing to make the investment, then you must be a qualified, solid, desirable buyer. Get a copy of your credit report and settle any debts that may be outstanding. "You'd be surprised how many people get turned down for a loan because of an old debt they had forgotten all about." Get pre-approved for loans and mortgages. "The seller wants and needs an ideal buyer, someone who is stable and ready to make a commitment to the property," said Donald Marcy, sales associate, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Madison, NJ. "Going into the negotiation process as a pre-approved buyer puts you at a major advantage."

Connect with the seller. Create a rapport with the seller and let them know why you prefer their house to others. "Homeowners are emotionally connected to their home," said Marcy. "Even when selling their home, they often feel tied to the integrity of the house. Because the seller loves the house, they are usually inclined to sell it to someone who will love it too."

Clean up your act. Eliminating as many contingencies as possible will give you an advantage when involved in a bidding war. If you have a home to sell before purchasing, sell it first. Reducing uncertainty makes the buyer more appealing to the seller and will create leverage for the buyer.

Show them the money. Be willing to increase the size of your down payment or make an all cash offer. "Sometimes the best way to win a bidding war and avoid paying a higher price is to increase your down payment," said Parlante. "Sellers favor strong buyers. If you can afford to make an all cash offer, do so. That's almost always a definite way to slam-dunk a sale."

Work with the best in the biz. Be sure to choose a sales associate who has an excellent reputation with other agents. Working with a Coldwell Banker® Sales Associate who is known in the industry for their professionalism, credibility and honesty will always work in the buyer's favor.

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