Buyers Competing

By Hayden Groves

Property listings in the Greater Fremantle area are down 34 percent on this time last year and with sales volumes up by a similar margin, it is hardly surprising that buyers find themselves making an offer to purchase in competition with others.

Agents have differing approaches as to how to deal with multiple offers but normally will inform buyers that their offer is one amongst others. When a property is offered for sale by private treaty, details of competing buyers’ offers are not normally revealed so as a buyer offering in competition with others, it is difficult to know what price and conditions will ensure purchasing success without paying significantly more than the next highest offer.

Buyers should remember that agents have a responsibility to act in the best interests of the seller unless it is unlawful or unethical to do so. Agents have a legal responsibility to work at getting the buyer to pay the highest possible price on terms favourable to the seller they represent.

One of the most effective ways to achieve this and discharge their fiduciary responsibility is to have multiple purchasers competing to buy. Naturally, buyers don’t like having to compete as it is much harder to gain a negotiable advantage in such circumstances.

My advice to buyers is to always ask the agent if there are any other current offers on the property before submitting your own offer. Agents are not obliged to state that there are and this knowledge might influence your initial offer.

Also, consider removing some of the conditions of your offer such as a Building Inspection Report clause especially for more modern homes and consider aligning the settlement date to suit the seller. A bigger deposit might make your offer more appealing or an ‘odd’ price offering rather than neat 5 or 10-thousand increments could make your offer stand out.

The notion that agents should assume the buyer’s first offer is not their “best offer” is nonsense. A buyer who tells the agent that this is their best offer should not assume the agent thinks it is a lie and remember that the seller is under no obligation to provide you an opportunity to negotiate further.

Please don’t shoot the messenger if you miss out. Being told your offer was one of many, choosing not to submit your best offer and missing out ought not to give rise to admonishing the agent.

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