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Multiple offer guidelines – what to expect in a sellers’ market

Multiple offer guidelines – what to expect in a sellers’ market

And 6 tips to help you come out on top


A sellers’ market can be great when you’re listing a home, but for those trying to buy, it can be a challenging time.


Lack of inventory, higher prices and multiple offers can make purchasing a new home a trial in patience and perseverance.


The Comox Valley real estate market, like much of the Island, has been a sellers’ market for a couple years now, and multiple-offer situations are fairly common. Here’s some information about what happens in just such a case and a few tips to help ensure readiness and a positive outcome.



A general course of action when making an offer

Okay, so you and your Realtor have found the right place and are ready to make an offer. What now?


Hopefully you’ve discussed the general way that offers and counter-offers are made during a purchase. Depending on the situation, you should have also discussed the possibility of a multi-offer circumstance and had a chance to come up with a strategy.


Together with your Realtor, you’ll figure out when the offer will be written and the amount of time the offer will be open for acceptance. Your Realtor will provide guidance, but, as the buyer, you make the final decisions.


All offers must be presented to the sellers, and they decide how and when offers will be dealt with and what the counter-offer will be. Potential buyers can choose to accept, reject or counter any counter-offers received.


In the case of multiple offers, it’s up to the seller as to whether they share any information about the situation. A listing licensee can’t disclose the terms of an offer or counter-offer from one potential buyer to another potential buyer without the seller’s prior consent. A seller who isn’t bound by a confidentiality agreement with a buyer may decide that a better offer could be obtained by disclosing the terms. Should this occur, the listing licensee is obliged to follow the seller’s instructions.



Two other things to keep in mind

Sellers are not obligated to accept a full-price offer. When a property is listed, it’s an invitation from a seller for buyers to make offers. The seller isn’t obliged to sell the property even if a buyer makes a full-price, unconditional offer.


Offers have no priority. Having the highest or first offer means nothing. It doesn’t bind or otherwise limit a seller to act before considering any other offers.


For more information on multiple offers, you can visit this Real Estate Council of BC webpage.



6 Tips to be on the winning side of a multiple-offer situation

  1. Get pre-approved, not pre-qualified, so you’re good to go upon making an offer. This can save valuable time.
  2. Have a maximum number in mind. Be prepared for counter-offers and deal with them expediently. Know your limits and stick within them.
  3. Limit your contingencies. A shopping list full of terms and conditions can be off-putting. Figure out which are make-or-breakers and which can be removed if necessary.
  4. Have your Realtor do some homework about what the seller’s needs are. Information is power. If you know the seller wants an extra month to sort out things on their end, that can work in your favour. And you’ll be better prepared if you’ve already considered your willingness to change possession dates, etc.
  5. Make a strong offer. Don’t be wishy-washy and don’t offend. Your Realtor will help you decide what’s a good number to start at.
  6. Think about making as significant a deposit and down payment as possible. This will show strength and intent. Sellers like a serious buyer.


Regardless of your situation, it’s important to communicate early and often with your real estate professional, so make sure you have an experienced, accessible, knowledgeable agent on your side from the get-go.


As always, I’m happy to provide help with any and all aspects of buying and selling in the Comox Valley. Please contact me, check out my website or visit my Facebook page to have your real estate questions answered.



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Leah Reichelt
Cell: 250-338-3888
Office: 250-339-2021
Toll Free: 1-888-829-7205
MLS® property information is provided under copyright© by the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board and Victoria Real Estate Board. The information is from sources deemed reliable, but should not be relied upon without independent verification.