You’ve signed the listing agreement. You’ve filled out your property disclosure. The photographer has taken photos and your pictures are ready. All the details of your home have been researched, a fantastic description has been written, and your Multiple Listing Service entry is ready to go live. What’s next?
Your house will sell within days, if not the first day. (47% of homes sell within 7 days. 90% of homes sell within 30 days.)
Here are the scenarios that may occur after you “hit the market”, and how you may handle them:
You have several showings on Day 1. This is a very common scenario. Your agent may have to schedule agents in thirty-minute intervals. Agents may try to schedule for the next day, or so, as well. Typically, you won’t have a showing scheduled far out, as most agents and buyers know that the property will be sold within days.
You receive an offer or multiple offers on Day 1. What should you do now? You still have showings set for the next day. Here’s where the situation gets tricky. If one of the offers is incredible, for example, is cash, with proof of funds (bank statement or letter from the bank indicating sufficient funds to close), a substantial earnest money deposit, over your list price (if that’s important to you – it’s not to everyone), a short inspection period (or waived inspection), and a closing date that you desire, what would be not to like? You could simply accept the offer and cancel the other showings.
OR, you can wait to “see” if a better offer comes in. If you are going the route of waiting to see, it’s recommended that you set a deadline for other offers, and specify that the offers should be “highest and best”. If you don’t request “highest and best”, then you potentially will have put yourself in a situation where you will have to individually counter-offer your preferred offers. There is nothing wrong with that, but it’s more efficient to ask for the strongest offers from multiple bidding parties at the outset.
To review, here are the strategies for responding to multiple offers:
You can accept one of the offers. That’s right. Just because you have multiple offers does not mean you have to engage all of them.
You can reject all offers. You are not required to do a thing when you receive an offer. You do not have to counter offer.
You can counter-offer just one of the offers.
You can counter-offer more than one offer with individual terms. This is normally not recommended, as you have to make it clear that you reserve the right to accept whichever offer you wish. You have to be careful not to obligate yourself to sell the house to more than one party, should the buyers agree to your terms.
You can ask for the “highest and the best” from all parties.
There is a Florida Realtors form that is nice to use to notify all parties about the multiple offer situation:
Cash (of course, with proof of funds)
Closing when you want
A very short inspection turnaround, for example, five days, or a waived inspection
By the way, you already have a place to move within 30 days, the typical period to close, when your home must be vacated.
If you set a deadline for highest and best offers, when should that be? Typically, allowing one or two days maximum after you know there are multiple offers, with end-of-business, or sooner, deadline and a decision sent to the parties by the next day. Why? Because dragging on a bidding war would possibly lose some buyers. Offers have response deadlines. No buyer wants to be in a situation where there are dozens of bidders. Because being gracious is always a winning strategy.
It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!
Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Email Wendy: [email protected]
Wendy Rulnick, Broker, lists and sells real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Crestview, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Okaloosa Island, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Freeport, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.