Best Tips Compiled from Actual Expert Real Estate Agents on How to Win the Offer in a Seller’s Market to Secure Your Dream Home. 

Winning the offer in a competitive market environment is not always about the buyer who bids the highest price. 

If the terms are not as favorable (or as secure) as another bidder’s offer, you could find yourself on the losing side.

These tips are for use in a highly competitive environment, specifically a seller’s market. A seller’s market is typically defined as a situation where there is currently 6 months or less available inventory of homes on the market. 

Below is a list of guidelines and tips to help you outline the specific terms you should offer to get you in the top position in the eyes of the seller. 

We start out with the more general items you will need to take into consideration. Then, we’ll move on to the more specific items you need to include (or not include) in the home offer in order to win. 

1. Choose a local real estate agent who is an expert and great at what they do. You want a PRO.

  • Get someone who knows the local market and what similar, comparable homes have sold for so you know exactly how much to offer.
  • You want an agent who does their research and stays up with current trends.
  • Someone who is an effective communicator, that will be able to advise you well and advocate strongly on your behalf.
  • A good communicator will be able to find out tidbits like additional information from the seller’s agent on what the seller is looking for.

2. Timing can be key. Make sure you are always looking and ready, even on weekends and that your agent is always available to you. 

3. Know what your Maximum Budget is and you own priorities before negotiations begin. 

4. Start your house hunt at a price point below the maximum budget you have in mind. This will give you the cushion to be able to offer “over-asking” to secure the home.

5. Consider the seller’s needs and write your offer to match their preferences. This can be anything from the details in the actual offer, whether their priority is…

  • The details in the contract
  • Needing a quick move
  • Getting top dollar, or
  • Security and certainty

6. Show that you can CLOSE the deal. Working with a reputable local lender is HUGE to most sellers’ agents, which then becomes HUGE to the seller.

7. Submit a pre-approval letter that shows you, as the buyer, are completely underwritten. This will build confidence in you as the buyer.

8. Seek options, such as a bridge loan, to help you to close without being contingent on the sale of your current home.

  • This also builds security for you as a buyer. If you have to buy based on a contingency to sell your home, this allows the seller to entertain other offers.

9.Your agent should work with your lender and encourage the lender to make a personal call or send a personal e-mail, verifying your pre-approval.

10. Putting at least 20 percent down shows your financial stability, but also gives a cushion for negotiations if the home doesn’t appraise.

11. “Cash is King,”  which means that if you can make a cash offer, it moves your offer to the top!

  • Then if you have the cash, include statements showing that you have funds available.
  • That can be investment accounts, savings accounts, etc.
  • Make sure to circle in red the amounts available showing proof of funds.

12. Don’t make a cash offer if you intend to do a mortgage.

  • Can set a negative tone through entire transaction.
  • It changes so much about the transaction from appraisal to approvals.
  • If you want a mortgage, you can do that after closing.

13. Make sure when you are reviewing your offer, before signing, that all details of the offer are COMPLETE, including leaving NO blanks and putting in all broker information.

14. Consider making an above average or strong earnest money and option fee part of the offer.

15. Know what you are offering, and stay with it.

16. Make sure you as the buyer completely understand the contract.  You should know exactly what your agent is writing up and offering. We always recommend that you read through everything you are signing.

17. Do not ask the seller to pay extra costs like survey or for survey coverage.

18. Do offer to pay seller’s closing costs.

19. Consider adding an escalation clause, which means you include something like this:

  • For instance, this would be a part of the offer and contract stating, “I will pay $X over the asking price of the highest offer, up to $X.

20. Work with your agent and lender to only require the least amount of days possible in any of the finance contingencies.

21. Consider an appraisal waiver in a multiple offer situation in order to improve the offer. We recommend that you do put in that the appraisal must meet the list price at the minimum.

22. Include a lease-back option for sellers currently occupying a home.

  • This should be minimum of 3 days or up to 30 days.

23. Shorten the inspection contingency period.

24. Offer to pay for the owner’s title policy.

25. Offer a non-refundable portion for either or both the earnest money and option money. This shows how serious you are. You are investing in the home prior to inspections, appraisals, etc.

26. Do not ask the seller to cover the home warranty.

27. Be cautious about making a sight-unseen offer!

28. Write an offer letter creating a human connection. Most sellers will have emotional ties to the home they are selling, and this could give you an edge.

  • Include details about yourself and your family in the start of the letter.
  • Include what you love about the property.
  • What details of the home did you instantly love?
  • How you are already picturing yourself in the pool with your kids or in the formal dining room with all of your family there for holidays…
  • Explain your offer amount and how you arrived at the decision.

29. Don’t be demanding. Whatever your concerns, do not bring them up during the offer period at all. The more questions you ask at the start, the less likely yours will be the winning bid.

30. Be flexible on the closing date. Giving the seller additional time might be exactly what they are looking for and could put you ahead if the money offer was close.


Hopefully this helps you out in a competitive situation when emotions are high for you and the seller. These are some of the safe, rule of thumbs to winning the bidding war and winning the offer on the home of your dreams.

Have patience, stick with it, get yourself a good agent and enjoy the process.

Best of luck!

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