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:
- Selling Subsidy (closing help)
- Net Proceeds (your bottom line)
- Financing (including the buyer's qualifications)
- Timing (settlement and occupancy dates)
- 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.
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.