It is no surprise that we are seeing more and more multiple contract situations. The perfect storm is in place – interest rates are at 65 year lows, inventory levels are at extremely low levels, and there are buyers anxious to get into houses. Affordability levels are near all-time highs as well so it only makes sense that buyers are finding themselves competing to get into a home today.

So, the question is how do you win and get the home your client’s desire?

  • Add an escalation clause which allows you to bid up the price above any other offer up to an amount you are comfortable paying. The escalation amount should be an interesting number like $1,150 as most people just do $500 or $1,000 – make your offer stand out.
  • Increase your earnest money deposit to show your interest in purchasing the house. If your down payment is 20%, make your deposit 10%. If you are doing FHA, have your deposit equal your down payment of 3.5%. You are going to be putting the money down anyway, why not do this and attract more attention to your offer?
  • Have a very short time frame on your home inspection contingency and radon contingency if you choose to have them. Also, consider doing the inspection contingencies for informational purposes only just leaving yourself the opportunity to void if you find something so egregious or beyond what you expected. If you and your agent are confident in the home’s condition, you may want to consider eliminating these contingencies but be extremely cautious when not exercising these contingencies.
  • Have a quick settlement date – Ashley Smith with Atlantic Coast Mortgage can close a loan in just 8 days if she has a complete loan application from her clients.
  • Additionally, encourage your loan officer to be proactive and call the listing agent and explain the financial arrangements and status of the loan. Pat Cunningham of Home Savings and Trust was one of the first lenders to mention he was doing this for his clients.
  • Allow the seller to rent back after closing giving them flexibility on when they need to move or to give them time to find a home.
  • Put in a home of choice contingency for the sellers if they have not found a home yet – make the contingency for an extended period of time so they have the opportunity to find the house they really want.
  • If you are so bold, you can have the clients waive the appraisal contingency. In order to do this, you need to work in conjunction with your lender and see if they can get a quick turnaround on the appraisal. If so, have the appraisal done in concert with the home inspection contingency and if it doesn't appraise, you can void based upon the home inspection or on the HOA/condo documents. Not one of my favorite suggestions but it is a strategy you can undertake to help your contract win. Also, if your lender can get a quick turnaround, make the appraisal contingency 5 or 7 days.
  • If you are dealing with a home owner and not a bank or investor, have your clients write a letter along with photos explaining why the house is so important to them and the trials and tribulations of their home buying experience. It can sometimes help to pull on the heart strings of the owners.
  • You can explain to the listing agent, the highest contract isn’t always the best contract. You need to have the right people in place to consummate the transaction not just someone willing to throw a high number just to get the house to only experience remorse later and back out of the contract.

These tips will help you win more contracts. Consult with the clients and make sure they are comfortable with your recommendations prior to implementing them so they fully understand the repercussions of their actions.