Great news – your house has multiple offers! You’re right where every seller wants to be!

But don’t celebrate just yet. The road to a successful home sale is long and winding; your journey has just begun. Pitfalls abound along the way, and if you are not careful you may find yourself at the bottom of one.

First, make sure you’re not the problem.

Feeling a little smug? Get over it. Just because a buyer made an offer on your house doesn’t mean that same buyer doesn’t have offers on one or more other houses at the same time (yes, it happens). A buyer can withdraw an offer for any number of reasons, like a family emergency or loss of a job. Sometimes buyers just get cold feet. The truth is, they don’t need any reason at all to drop out of the running. Don’t let complacency give you a false sense of security. Stay engaged and carefully consider each offer.

Another common seller mistake is allowing their emotions to rule their decision making. Sometimes people form attachments to their homes, especially if they have lived in them for a long time. This may cause them to take the process personally, becoming offended by what they consider an insultingly low offer. You must maintain your objectivity regarding the value of your home. The market will tell you how much your house is worth. While some may think the term, “the market” amorphous or hypothetical, in this instance, at least, it can be defined as, “the people across the table from you making an offer on your property.” Ignore it at your peril.

Finally, indecision can kill a deal in its tracks. You don’t have unlimited time to choose. There are other houses out there and the longer you take to make up your mind about which way you want to go the more likely your buyers are going to drift away. Don’t be rash, but don’t drag things out either. Pick a buyer and get the deal underway.

The best way to avoid all the above missteps is to follow the advice of a good real estate agent. A seasoned, professional real estate agent will help you assess all offers and navigate the process. Take full advantage of your agent’s expertise to negotiate as much of the deal as possible in the original contract.

By way of example, let’s say you have three offers that are roughly the same. First, make sure they are all reliable, both financially and personally. That is, they will be able to deliver on their end and don’t appear likely to fall away or become overly demanding, unreasonable, or difficult. Assuming all three prospective buyers pass that test, how do you choose between three similar offers?

Keep in mind that money is not the only consideration. Maybe you have upcoming holiday plans or a family event which make a later close more desirable for you. Which of the three prospective buyers can accommodate you? It doesn’t have to be a dealer maker, but it can help sort things out. You might also want to see if any of the buyers would be willing to grant limited inspections or waive the appraisal contingency. Get your agent to put your wish list out there and see who is willing to grant it. Ultimately you will be the only one who can decide what is most important to you, but a strong agent can really help you set your terms and get them into the final contract.

A multiple offer situation is a great place for a seller to be, but don’t waste the opportunity it presents. Work with your agent to see the deal all the way through to the end.


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