Winning A Bidding War

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The time has come. You are ready to purchase a new home! You have done all the necessary preparation for your mortgage, you know what you can afford and what neighborhoods best suit your needs. As luck would have it, an amazing house has come on the market and it seems like it was meant to be. You make your offer and… the seller doesn’t accept. Wait, why wouldn’t someone want you to buy the home they’re clearly trying to sell?!

You have to look at it from their perspective. Your goal is the perfect home for you and your family, but a seller’s goals are very different. They want to maximize the profits and minimize their out of pocket costs. They may have a lifetime of memories, to say nothing of hard work maintaining and improving this house. It can be a very personal choice on who they let buy their home. And you’re probably not the only one who wants it, so what can you do to be the one they choose?

Tips for Winning A Bidding War

More Money Doesn’t Always Make The Best Offer

While we mentioned above that seller wants to maximize their profits, there’s more that goes into an offer than just a dollar figure. Here are a few questions whose answers could steer a homeowner & her realtor away from some potential buyers:

  • Has the buyer been pre-APPROVED or just pre-qualified?
  • Have the potential buyer’s assets been verified?
  • Has the next homeowner sold their current home? If not, would they qualify with their current home? Will there be contingencies? What is their story?

Make It Personal

As you know, a home is a lot more than four walls and a roof. If you fall in love with a house, one that fits both your needs and wants, write a letter to the current owner and make your case as to why you want to purchase their home. Let them know that you can see your kids growing up there, what features make it special to you. Let the sellers know that you look forward to making your own special memories there, just like they did. It can really make a difference!

Be Flexible

As thorough as you need to be when buying a house, selling a home can be just as hectic. Being able to accommodate a seller’s closing date and meet other deadlines will make your offer that much more attractive.

Be Open & Transparent

If you’re pre-approved, you can get an extra leg up in a bidding war by having the listing agent call the lender. Opening up this line of communication will allow concerns to be addressed, making the realtor more comfortable in proceeding with your offer.

Remove Friction

One thing many sellers fear is an endless back-and-forth of small repairs and other concessions. With guidance from your licensed realtor, you can make it so your home inspection will be conducted “for informational purposes only”. You will be made aware of any issues, but won’t have any recourse, aside from walking away. This can obviously be quite risky, but will send a very clear signal to the seller that you really want to purchase the home.

Give Them One Less Thing To Pay For

Show the seller you’re willing to ease their cost burden by paying for your own home warranty. Given the size of most mortgages, the $400-$500 expense is a drop in the bucket, but as a gesture, it may earn you the additional goodwill necessary to close the deal.

These are just a few of the ways that we advise our members on how they can make their offer stand out, should they find themselves in a bidding war. It is by no means a checklist; you do not need to do all of them. One of the best things you can do, bidding war or not, is to make sure your realtor and lending partner are in regular communication to make sure there are no hiccups and give everyone involved some much needed peace of mind when it comes to the financing part of buying a home.


Myself and the rest of the mortgage team at Call Federal would love to be a part of your homebuying journey. If we can be of any assistance, regardless of where you are in the process, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 804-274-1200 or send an email to [email protected]

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