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No Surrender: Four Tips for Winning Multiple-Offer Situations

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Here is the latest installment of Bates By the Numbers, a weekly feature by broker David Bates that drills down into the Hub's housing market to uncover those trends you would not otherwise see. This week, he tells you how to win that home you want. (Last week, he detailed Boston's real estate cliff.)

The extreme lack of inventory in the Greater Boston home market often means the best properties receive multiple offers. As a veteran of many multiple-offer situations, I thought it would be helpful to provide some tips for getting the home you want. Check it out:

1. Properties newest to market are the likeliest to get multiple offers: Every buyer who hasn't found what they are looking for will be scrutinizing new-to-market properties to see if these homes meet their needs. As a result, the demand for a home is the heaviest in the first two weeks of marketing and, although a multiple-offer situation could happen at any time, it is likeliest to occur when a property first comes to market. So be prepared; and, if you are viewing new-to-market properties, have your ducks in a row and be ready to act fast.

2. Be prepared to pay the list price or more: Buyers considering new-to-market properties have often seen a lot of properties in a similar price range in the same neighborhood. As a result, they not only understand the objective value of the property (the value of its amenities vis-à-vis other properties in the area) but the subjective value of the property (the value of the home's amenities specifically to them) as well. If the home is a match and priced within reason, they already know the challenge of finding another match and will not hesitate to go to the asking price. To win, you will have to match or beat their price.

3. Focus on what the seller wants: Listen closely to what the listing agent is communicating about what the seller wants. Sometimes the request is direct and sometimes it's vague or understated. Improve your chances of winning by including in your offer things the seller wants and omitting things the seller doesn't want.

4. Remember the listing agent's other goal: Not only does the listing agent have to find the most ready, willing and able buyer to buy the seller's house, but he or she also has to make sure the deal sticks. Keep this in mind and do everything you can to give the impression that if your offer is accepted, the seller will soon be sitting at a closing table. This may include seeing the property twice to show you really understand it; emphasizing how much you love the home; coming off as likable, very reasonable people who wouldn't allow slight curves to derail the deal. Another way to communicate that your offer has a better chance of sticking vs. the competition's is to improve its terms. So consider putting more money down as a deposit; completing the home inspection faster; signing the p and s sooner; or speeding up the time it takes to get a financial commitment or closing.

Do these four things, and I am confident you will substantially improve your chance of winning multiple-offer situations and getting the home you want.
· Boston's Real Estate Cliff [Curbed Boston]
· Our Bates By the Numbers archive [Curbed Boston]

[This house at 49 Eliot Road in Needham recently received four offers within 24 hours of hitting the market.]

49 Eliot Road

49 Eliot Road, Needham, MA