Contract Considerations When in Multiple Offers

Home sellers will always consider offers that have the highest contract price. However, when there are multiple offers with offer prices that are close (or the same) then sellers will look at the terms of the buyer's contract to decide who will win. If there are 3 offers that are only a few thousand dollars apart, then the tightest real estate contract will almost always win. Because of this, it's important to decide which competitive terms you're willing to offer in your contract.

Easy Wins for Any Real Estate Contract (Regardless of Multiple Offers)

  • Present a Pre-Approval Letter from a Reputable Local Lender:

    Not all national lenders are bad (and not all local lenders are great), but most experienced agents have had a bad experience with national/retail lenders at least once. By presenting a pre-approval letter from a reputable local lender, you're assuring the seller & agent that you have a "good" pre-approval since they know and trust this lender.
  • Submit a Buyer Letter to the Home Seller:

    Writing a letter to the sellers doesn't always help, but it never hurts. We'll never know with certainty if the seller will weigh a buyer's letter heavily, but they take little effort and we have seen them help quite a bit in the past.
  • Consider Writing Tight and Standard Terms in Your Real Estate Contract:

    The option period should be 5-7 days, earnest money should be 1-2%, the survey period should be 3 days, the HOA Addendum period should be 7 days, the buyer should pay 50% of the HOA Transfer Fee, & the Third Party Financing Period should be 10-14 days.

Low-Risk Terms for Multiple Offers in the Real Estate Market

  • Third-Party Financing Addendum is “Not Subject to Buyer obtaining Buyer Approval”:

    This means that you're 100% certain that your lender will approve you, the borrower. The appraisal contingency survives this term, in this scenario. It's important that you absolutely trust your lender (and their pre-approval) in order to exercise this term.
  • Write 20%, 30%, or 50% into the Financing Addendum:

    If you have the funds available, present a contract & pre-approval letter that shows that you're putting down 20% or more to purchase the property. The listing agent may ask for proof of these funds, so it's important that you can prove them. You can always change your mind and put down less money later, and it doesn't require a contract amendment to do so.
  • Offer a Seller Lease Back:

    Moving is stressful and seller leasebacks offer a lot of convenience to the sellers. Consider offering the home seller an inexpensive (or free) lease back to help them with their move.
  • Write Tighter, Less Standard Terms (that are still protected):

    Increase the option fee & decrease the option period, increase earnest money to 3-5% (or more), & pay 100% of the HOA Transfer Fee.

Moderate Risk Terms for Multiple Offers in the Real Estate Market

  • Special Provision Language:

    "Buyer waives the right to negotiate repairs or repair credits." In this scenario, you still have the right to walk away from the housing property if there are inspection items you're uncomfortable with. This language communicates to the home seller that you will not ask for any repairs or repair credits after you've had the property inspected.
  • $1000+ Fee for a 3-5 Day Option Period:

    Since the option fee is non-refundable to the home buyer, you're communicating to the seller that you have serious skin in the game. While you can always walk away from the buyer contract if the property inspects poorly, the seller will retain the option fee.
  • Partial Appraisal Waiver:

    As the real estate market goes up in value, many home sellers & real estate agents are concerned that the property will not appraise for the purchase price & standard contracts allow the buyer to re-negotiate or terminate when that happens. By partially waiving the appraisal, you communicate to the seller that you will not walk away as long as it appraises for some price that is not the full purchase price.
  • Waive the HOA Document Delivery Requirement:

    If the property is in an HOA, it's required that we add an addendum that addresses the HOA, resale certificate, and documents. This addendum is a well-known "easy out" and many listing agents prefer to see this loophole closed. We can waive the buyer's requirement that the HOA docs be delivered, which closes the loophole. The addendum also authorizes us to request docs, which the lender will require, so we still request the HOA documents. If the lender objects for any reason, you are still protected by the Third Party Financing Addendum.

Higher Risk & High Impact Terms to Consider in a Buying Contract

  • Buy w/ Cash & Delayed Financing

    If you have cash or liquid savings, you can purchase your new home with cash and use delayed financing to "pay yourself back." Delayed Financing requires a new title policy & another closing, so will cost 1-1.5% in fees.
  • Full Appraisal Waiver:

    By waiving the appraisal completely, you communicate to the seller that you will purchase the property, no matter what value the bank's appraiser places on the property. The risk is that the real estate property may appraise lower than the purchase price, in which case you have to put down more money with the bank in order to be approved for the loan.
  • No Option Period

    With no option period, you're communicating that you will either not have the real estate property inspected or you will have it inspected, but close no matter what (or lose your earnest money.) Many experienced listing agents prefer an exceptionally high option fee to "no option period" (more on that below.)
  • Exceptionally High Option Fee:

    When you offer an exceptionally high option fee, you are communicating that you are buying this house or walking from this high option fee, no matter what. The option fee is released to the seller immediately (not at closing, like the earnest money.) If one offer has no option period and another offer has a $10,000 option fee for 1 day (or even 5 days), the seller will almost always pick the $10,000 option fee. Why? They almost want the buyer to walk away so they can keep the high option fee. (They don't really want them to walk away, but that's a scenario that they're completely fine with because they get to keep $10k!)
It's important to understand that there is no "magic bullet" when presenting offers in multiple offer situations. Sellers will almost always defer to price before terms. However, your offer terms become extremely important when your offer is close to another buyer's.

Ready To Get Started on Buying or Selling a Property in Austin, Texas?

*Don’t worry, we hate spam as much as you and would never sell or share your information. Our privacy policy is available here.

Buyer Resources
First Time Home Buyers CLICK HERE
Relocating To Austin? CLICK HERE

2100+ Client reviews!

Will Mackintosh is very professional and persistent. My husband and I recently sold a duplex in Austin after falling through two deals. In one hand, Will kept us updated on the rapidly changing housing market due to the steep rise of interest rates; on the other hand, he stayed focused on finding the right buyer for us. Through the whole time, he provided sound advice on pricing and negotiation strategies. Ultimately, his persistent efforts sealed the deal

I reached out to Bramlett Residential August 12th and closed with keys in hand September 30th. Kathryn Strand facilitated a extraordinarily smooth process while providing expert guidance throughout the purchase. Kathryn can also be counted on to provide you with an amazing group of support from inspection to loan funding. She is in touch with what I think may be the best group of professionals I have ever had the pleasure to work with. I cannot recommend her and Bramlett highly enough.

Working with Craig and the Eric Bramlett team has been an absolute pleasure. It is my second time buying a house thanks to Craig. He has been diligent and helpful in sharing his knowledge over the last months. Craig has guided me throughout the whole process from research to signing. I’m very grateful, and I highly recommend working with him!

I highly recommend Tyson Hombroek at Bramlett Residential! He did a fantastic job helping my wife and I find our home in Cedar Park, TX. Tyson was easy to work with and made the whole buying process practically seamless. We enjoyed working with Tyson and cannot thank him enough for all of his guidance. We will definitely reach out to Tyson again for our future needs!

Will Mackintosh and his staff at Bramlett Residential are the definition of professionals. I needed a real estate expert to help me sell my late relative’s condo, and after a previous bad experience with a different realtor, I was anxious about being rushed into a bad deal. I needed someone who would listen and be patient with me and the probate process. Will came by the property, took a quick tour and sat down with me and listened to my concerns. He laid out everything that Bramlett would do to make my experience as smooth as possible and I was convinced I called the right place. The patience Will and his staff had with me was a god-send. The probate process ended up taking much longer than anticipated, and he stuck with me for 7 months! He always kept me in the loop, let me know what my next steps were, and he even answered my late night texts when I had a nagging question! The photographer Will has did an incredible job showcasing the property and he even connected me with lawn guys and a cleaning crew. The online accessibility to view the property was incredible, it seemed like the property was on every single realty website. Although I don’t anticipate needing a realtor in the near future, please believe that Will and Bramlett are going to be my first call. I truly could not have asked for a better team behind me during one of the toughest and most emotional times in my family’s life. Thanks for everything Will!

Becky is just awesome. She helped us find the best suited house for my family needs. Not only finding the house, as a first time buyer, she helped us to guide and mentor during each & every step till closing and after that. She is extremely awesome for following things until those are done in the way, it should be. No matter what time, she was always available. Becky is very committed to her customers. It was really a very nice learning experience, and never had such a smooth closing without Becky’s help. Once again, thank you so much, Becky. Will always recommend your name to all my friends and family members.

Stacy was wonderful to work with!! We moved back to Texas in early June and met with Stacy Zellner about what we were looking for. We did not want to live in Austin and were looking at smaller cities between Austin and Houston. Stacy was very straightforward about making sure we visited the cities first before making a decision. We had a specific timeframe to find a new home and Stacy kept in constant contact with us by setting up automated searches and responding right away to any requests we had about cities or specific property information. She took us to multiple small cities around Austin and gave us an abundance of information to help narrow down our decision. Her knowledge of Austin’s surrounding cities was exactly what we needed. Stacy was always available whenever we had questions big or small and her expertise was priceless during the closing process. We are new to Central Texas and are ecstatic to have found the professional real estate services we needed through Stacy. There is no doubt we will refer her to our friends and will definitely use her in our future property searches.

It sold ! The pictures were outstanding, like a work of art. I am convinced their staging and pictures contributed to it selling. Will, our realtor, was highly knowledgeable and great to work with.

I worked with Becky Welch for buying single home in Manor, TX. She is very friendly, knowledgeable and responsive. Really recommend her to work with her if you looking for buying/ selling or renting home property.

From our very first conversation, Linda Baddour established her credibility in the Austin market. Great insights from day one really helped us build comfort towards eventually making a decision in a very challenging environment. Linda always made herself available, promptly replied to all of our questions with pointed and useful advice (and we threw some quite difficult inquiries her way), and never pressured us into making moves at any point in the process. Even while we were early stage and apprehensive to explore buying further, when we did find a property we wanted to look at or had questions come up, Linda treated us with the same respect and devoted just as much time as if we were imminent buyers. After initial contracts were signed, she walked us through every step of the process each week, resulting in an early close. I was continually surprised at how smooth everything felt despite hearing about other friends/families challenges in that time window. Part of this brings me to yet another point, which relates to Linda’s connections in the marketplace. The lender we ultimately arrived upon was critical to the early close and have been great to work with so far – one of many excellent resources we tapped via Linda.

Stacy Zellner and the Bramlett Residential team are extremely helpful. Stacy will take note of your taste and make the house hunt mission a lot easier for you. Stacy was my trusted advisor throughout the entire journey of making my first home purchase.

My husband and I were a little concerned when we decided to buy a house, we have never done this before and mostly everyone finds it a very stressful process, but we were very lucky to have Vicki helping us through out this whole time. Vicki works for Bramlett Residential and was referred to us by a friend that she also helped a few years back. We were not living in Austin so we set up a call with Vicki where she explained us the whole process and referred us some local lending agencies we could reach out to in advance to make sure the process would go smoothly. I liked Vicki on the first call, she is very professional, has a good vibe and a genuine interest in helping people. We came to Austin for only a week and half to see some houses and Vicki made this whole process so easy and smooth for us. Vicki not only booked the viewings for all the places we wanted to see in a good order of location for us, she also provided a full background, details and specifications of each house.
She was always responsive and well informed to keep us updated. We landed an offer on our favorite house and this would not have been possible without Vicki to help us with the offer and negotiations. I’d highly refer Vicki to any friend/person looking to buy a house.