Buying in Competition

Listings levels are down about 12 per cent on this time last year and as demand increases, home buyers will often 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 legal responsibility to act in the best interests of the seller unless it is unlawful or unethical to do so. They are paid to ensure the buyer pays the highest possible price on the best possible terms.

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.

Believe the agent when they tell you there are other offers in play. Buyers are prone to thinking the agent is telling fibs in a bid to encourage an offer but that’s not typically the case.

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 a lie and remember that the seller is under no obligation to provide you an opportunity to negotiate further. And being told your offer was one of many, choosing not to submit your best offer and missing out ought not to give rise to blaming the agent.

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