How to present six offers in two hours

Real Estate Agent with Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.

How to present multiple offers and not risk a Fair Housing complaint.


You probably thought I was planning to tell you how I presented six offers on one property yesterday in a 2-hour appointment, and walked away with a signed contract.

Well, that too - but the Fair Housing element definitely comes into play.

Crofton Real Estate

It all begins at the listing appointment

...when you tell your sellers what to expect when an offer comes in on their property. I simply leave behind a little one-page flier that I created titled Anatomy of a Contract Presentation. 

One of things outlined in this flier is THE BIG SEVEN:

  1. Price
  2. Selling Subsidy (closing help)
  3. Net Proceeds (your bottom line)
  4. Financing (including the buyer's qualifications)
  5. Timing (settlement and occupancy dates)
  6. Inclusions/exclusions
  7. Contingencies, if any.

Of course, there are other details to consider, but these are the bare bones of any offer - the factors that are most likely to impact the seller's decision on whether to accept, reject, or counter the offer.

Selling a Crofton Home.

Back to the topic at hand... presenting multiple offers

One of my listings went Active on MLS Thursday afternoon and had three offers by Friday night. Each of the buyer-agents made an emotional plea to me based on their clients' back story - military transferees living with 2 kids and a dog in one-room temporary quarters at their new duty station, is just one example. Each buyer loved the home and had their own compelling back story.

Even the appearance that the sellers accepted, rejected, or countered an offer based on an emotional connection with one of the buyers could result in a Fair Housing claim down the road from one of the other buyers. I needed to protect them and myself from that possibility.

That was achieved by using a different color folder for each offer and labeling a summary of THE BIG SEVEN for each contract with the color of folder rather than the name of the buyers or their agent/broker. By noon the next day, we had three more. Faced now with a dilemma of six contracts to present at one time, I decided to email the first three contract summaries to my sellers in advance and began to fill out three more for the additional offers.  

Multiple offers

The contract presentation

By the time we met on Sunday morning, the sellers had already reviewed the summaries for all six offers and they were able to provide their feedback to me on each offer. Based only on THE BIG SEVEN - objective criteria that did not involve the race, religion, nationality, etc. of the buyers - they quickly and easily designated two that they wanted to discuss.

After a few minutes of conversation, it became clear that the deciding factors for these sellers were timing and the financing terms, not price - something they could clearly see in the six summary sheets. That decision made, five of the folders could be set aside in favor of the blue one, which contained the offer with terms most acceptable to my clients.

It really was only necessary to go page by page through the contract they selected because nearly everything except THE BIG SEVEN is boilerplate.


That, my friends, is how to present six offers on one property and walk away with a signed contract in two hours or less.


P.S.  The offers did not get better, as the later ones came in.  I guess there is truth to #10 of my Common sense rules for home sellers - don't overlook the first offer because there is no guarantee of a better offer in the future.

Posted by

This infoMargaret Wodarmation was provided to you by Margaret Woda, an Associate Broker with Long & Foster Real Estate in Crofton Maryland. Contact Margaret today for general real estate information or to learn how she can help you buy or sell a home in Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton, Davidsonville, Gambrills, and Odenton. 

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Comments (32)

Elyse Berman, PA
LoKation Real Estate - Boca Raton, FL
Boca Raton FL (561) 716-7824

Great job Margaret Woda !  Very nicely done.  I like the way you laid it out for the sellers. 

Apr 04, 2016 10:49 AM
Margaret Woda

Thank you!  'Hope you find yourself with multiple contracts on a property sometime soon.

Apr 04, 2016 11:28 AM
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

Hi Margaret -- I like your color coded method and your "big seven." Buyer letters are used here all the time, and not infrequently make a difference. I need to re-think how to handle them with my future listings. You've given me a great topic to think about. Thanks.


Apr 04, 2016 01:16 PM
Margaret Woda

Lottie, thank you! I have to say that spreadsheets and charts are just fine most of the time, and that's what I've done in the past. But I instinctively felt that six required a different approach, and that was confirmed for me as the sellers took contro by holding those summary sheets and offers in their hot little hands, no question, the choice of offer was their decision.

Apr 04, 2016 11:52 PM
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Margaret, I like to use a chart with side-by-side comparisons on multiple offers. And I agree that we have to be extremely carefull with those heartfelt letters.

Apr 04, 2016 01:44 PM
Margaret Woda

I've done that the past, Pat, and it worked for 2-3 offers - but I have to say that I'll never do it any other way again. With the colored folders, even I lost track of buyer and agent identity, and the hands-on experience for the sellers of handling the summary sheet that was paper-clipped to the folder gave them a sense of satisfaction I never saw with the spreadsheet or chart.

Apr 04, 2016 11:46 PM
Alyse "Aly" Sands
AGORA Realty - Nashville, TN
It's Good To Be Home

I have a chart for multiple offers. Sadly, no emotional letter, I've learned, will beat a higher offer, better timing for the seller or more secure financing. Thanks for pointing out that letters may cause humans to violate the Fair Housing Act. How to handle these as both buyer and seller agents is something else we should be discussing.

Apr 04, 2016 01:59 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude


Congratulations on the multiple offers and the new contract, which offered is the opportunity to learn from new. Fair Housing can be a challenge, and it's critical to make sure something doesn't happen that could be a violation. I, too, use a spreadsheet, but your system takes it a step further. I LIKE it!


Apr 04, 2016 02:04 PM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Congratulations on the multiple offers and contract in just a few days. Awesome activity! Focusing just on the facts is the way to do it.

Apr 04, 2016 08:42 PM
Sham Reddy CRS
Howard Hanna RE Services, Dayton, OH - Dayton, OH

The reality of our profession!!!

The deciding factors for the sellers were timing and the financing terms, not price - something they could clearly see in the six summary sheets. That decision made, five of the folders could be set aside in favor of the blue one, which contained the offer with terms most acceptable to my clients.

Apr 04, 2016 09:25 PM
Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of the Manchester NH's area Leading Agents

Yes, many times the first offer is the best, it is often a buyer who lost out in a home and they learned, not to delay, make the offer quickly and make their best offer first. I always have the talk with my sellers as well before any offer comes in how the process will work, what to expect and what we will look at just like your list of 7. Nice job Margaret Woda 

Apr 04, 2016 09:58 PM
Thom Abbott |770.713.1505 | Intown Atlanta GA Condo Living - Atlanta, GA
Midtown Atlanta GA Condos For Sale

Margaret Woda ....I had really never thought about it from the fair housing point of view, but now that you mention it, it makes perfect sense. 

I love your colored folder idea with "just the facts" for a Seller to make a decision in a multiple-offer situation. I've only been in one once, and are you ready...had SIXTEEN OFFERS on one property! Yes, it was a nightmare!!!! I'd have loved to of used this process, but it was a short sale, so we focused on what we knew the BANK would approve. I had one agent go nuts we did not accept their offer (it was not the best one anyways) and threatened to call my broker and RE commission. He never did, but I know I did it right. 

I presented them in the order they came in, and we reviewed basically the points you have outlined. 

We DO have multiple-offer situations here, but I've not been in many of them. 

Thanks for sharing a great process with all of us!


Apr 04, 2016 11:02 PM
Olga Simoncelli
Veritas Prime, LLC dba Veritas Prime Real Estate - New Fairfield, CT
CONSULTANT, Real Estate Services & Risk Management

Terms are often the deciding factor in making decisions, not to be overlooked by buyer agents in presenting offers. 

Apr 04, 2016 11:32 PM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

This professional Margaret Woda gets it done...The Woda way!

Apr 05, 2016 12:23 AM
Jerel Richardson
HomeSmart Realty Group - Portland, OR

Hi Margaret,

I love The Big Seven.  I have not had a multiple offer situation yet but with my upcoming listing, and this WONDERFUL Portland, OR market I'm expecting a multiple offer situation.  Now, I have your wonderful guide on how to oragnize and handle the flurry of activity.  Thanks for sharing.

Apr 06, 2016 04:18 AM
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

I have never thought of the 'fair housing ' issue as it relates to a letter a buyer submits with an offer. Thanks for bringing this up. However, I do think the majority of sellers would look at the Big 7 and decide using only that criteria--if offers were equal, the letter may sway them one way or another.

Apr 06, 2016 05:21 AM
Mike Wong
Keller Williams Realty Southwest - Sugar Land, TX
Realtor: Commercial, Residential, Leasing, Invest

Summary sheets and spreadsheets make things much easier for the clients when reviewing multiple offers. For average consumers they do not look at contracts daily and know the ins and outs like we do. So giving them a 1 page summary of each offer, or a spreadsheet so they can compare the terms apples to apples makes the process much easier and efficient for them. 

Apr 06, 2016 06:15 AM
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

Margaret, excellent post and I EVER get six offers... I will definitely use this. Enjoyed reading this post.

Apr 07, 2016 11:28 AM
Compass - La Jolla, CA
San Diego Partner - The Private Client Network

Hi Margaret fantastic post you handled this exceptionally well. Congrats.

Apr 09, 2016 05:36 AM
Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

This is experience talking! When Brokers talk about having "Systems," this is a prime example! You created a clear and consise way to handle multiple offers of any number.  Well done Margaret! Glad to see it made it to the featured status!

Apr 09, 2016 08:20 AM
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

Exactly right.  I will present all offers - every bit of paper work.  But I also provide a spread sheet comparison summary when dealing with multiple offers.

Apr 13, 2016 05:37 AM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Margaret Woda - Winston Heverly re-blogged your post and I am glad I had a chance to read it. The key is keeping the seller focused on accepting the right offer based on the "bones" as you put it!. 

Jun 21, 2016 12:31 AM
Donna Yates
BHGRE - Metro Brokers - Blue Ridge, GA
Blue Ridge Mountains

I should be so fortunate to have multiple offers to present!  Although, I did have three offers come in within an hour from seller and buyer binding.  Turns out, the first offer was the best one anyway.

Jul 24, 2016 04:40 AM
Margaret Woda

That's what happened with this property. The first offer was the best.

Jul 25, 2016 12:28 AM