In a seller's market, buyers compete in multiple-offer situations. While high demand is a good thing from a seller's perspective, you'll want to understand negotiating etiquette, a sense of ethics and how to avoid legal issues.
When breaking down a buyer's offer, purchase price is the line seller's care about the most. However, there are many details to consider before selecting an offer and declining others. Review the price based upon what the buyer wants as part of the offer.
An earnest money deposit shows that the buyer is serious. The buyers dictates where the earnest money deposit is held, typically a third party, but if they offer the check in your name, proceed with caution. If any complication turns up with the property, or if the sale falls through, the ownership of the earnest money might be in question. It's to your benefit to leave this to the experts - a listing broker, real estate attorney or third party.
Let all prospective bidders know if you are expecting other bids up front, which lets them know to lead with their best offer. The best time to do this is before you've opened the bids. Be honest about your interest level in each offer, maintain confidentiality, and don't "shop offers" in order to beef up competition.
Review the mortgage contingency and make sure there is a realistic time limit stated in the contract. In a hot market, buyers usually ask for few seller concessions, because they know they aren't likely to get them. Be smart and order your own inspection before you even put your home on the market. Consider purchasing homeowner's insurance to ensure than after a clear inspection all major areas are covered for up to one year. This will make negotiations and closing that much easier.
When handling multiple offers, your best ally is an experienced real estate agent who knows how to navigate competing bids and maximize value in the sale of your home. For more information about taking advantage of opportunities in a seller's market, contact your local Carrington Real Estate Services agent.