As the San Jose Short Sale Agent, the bulk of my listings receive multiple offers. One of the things that some of the newer agents in my office ask is how to get offers accepted in a multiple offer situation.
Rather than answer the question in that format, I would pose the question in another way: How you do write an offer so it will not get immediately rejected? After all, aren’t your chances much better if your offer survives the first cut? Frequently, if there are numerous offers, rather than making individual counter offers, listing agents eliminate offers on the first cut and leave only a few of the best offers with which to negotiate. Here are some ways in which I think an offer can be written to survive the cut.
First, do your own CMA (comparative market analysis) and find out how much similar properties have recently sold for in the neighborhood; be able to justify your price. This sounds like an elementary step, but it is amazing to see agents – who are supposed to be professionals in the real estate business – just pick numbers and are unable to defend how they came up with these figures. If you cannot verbalize how you reached your price, how do you expect the listing agent to read your mind?
Second, Follow directions. When listing agents feel they are going to have multiple offers, they sometimes provide instructions on how to write up offers. For me, I provide written instructions to serve one function: It demonstrates the ability of an agent to follow simple instructions. If someone can’t follow instructions on how to write an offer, this is a roadmap for things to come in the rest of the transaction. Transactions tend to run much more smoothly when each agent does what is prescribed for them. People who do not/cannot follow instructions, bring needless complications to the transaction.
Third, do not bad mouth the listing property. Some agents seem to think their way of justifying a low ball offer is to bad mouth the property. It’s fine to raise your client’s concern about the condition of the property. But how you package that information into an easily digestible message is how you earn your keep as a real estate professional. Saying things like the paint job is horrible or the property is the worst looking one in the neighborhood or finding other faults and incessantly nit-picking on them are not wise ways to describe a property that your client wants to purchase in a multiple bidding situation. The efficacy is in how you finesse the situation to relay your concerns, but not to offend the person who can sell it to you or take it away from you.
Fourth, write simple offers. Do not complicate things and make convoluted offers. There is something to be said about the beauty of a simple and easy to comprehend offer. Trying to artificially inflate the offer price and then asking for a large credit as closing cost does not really mean you are not making a high priced offer; you are not fooling anyone with this amateurish trick. Your credit request may raise issues with your lender that may have negative consequences at closing time that you may not have anticipated. Sellers want simple, easy to comprehend offers that makes their lives simpler, not more complicated.
The key is not to get identified as an offer with a weakness which warrants being eliminated in the first cut. Don’t identify yourself as an agent who will make the transaction more complicated rather than easier for the listing agent. Remember, in a multiple bidding situation, the listing agent wants a solid, superior offer; but they are also seeking to identify a competent and easy to work with buyer’s agent; not the incompetent one who will raise issues that gets in the way of a smooth closing. The goal should be to work to be the former rather than the latter.