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Ask Will: How Can I Improve the Chances of My Bid Being Accepted?

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This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A  column is written by Will Wiard, Arlington-based real estate broker, voted one of Washington’s Best Realtors of 2015 by Washingtonian. Please submit your questions via email.

Q: I’m in the process of buying a home and have submitted a few offers that have been out bid. Is there anything I can do to improve my chances?

A: Buying a home in the Arlington can be highly competitive, particularly is there is limited inventory in your price range. You are not alone if you are having trouble navigating the bidding process. It can be tricky, but there are ways to improve your chances. Here are a few tips:

If possible, try to match the seller’s timeframe to close. While your offer may be competitive, your bid may not be selected because your timeframe to close does not match the sellers. If you have some flexibility on a closing date, ask your agent to speak with the listing agent to determine the seller’s motivations and if a shorter time frame would help improve your chances of having your bid selected.

Submit an offer at a competitive price. If you submit an offer lower than the listing price in an area where the comparable home sales support the listing price your chances of being out bid are higher. However, if you match the listing price and are still out bid your only option is often to offer more.

When buyers find themselves in this situation, they may want to consider offering more than the listing price, but ensure the offer is contingent on appraisal so in the end they don’t pay more than market value. This strategy could help you win in a bidding war and keep you from paying more than the house is worth.

Take a close look at your loan and lender. In some cases the amount of your down payment or loan terms can give you a competitive edge. Some sellers like to see a buyer with a higher down payment or a lender they are familiar with. When it comes down to these nuances, the seller is often looking for the deal that appears more likely to close within the ideal timeframe and less likely to fall through due to lender not meeting the closing date or approving the loan.

Be willing to discuss the removal of contract addendums. The selling agent may ask to waive some or all of the contract contingencies, which may occur when there are multiple offers on the home. Make sure to discuss each contingency with your agent and your options before removing them from the contract.

For example, the seller may ask to have the home inspection addendum removed. Instead of removing this addendum, you may want to replace it with a home inspection for informational purposes or a shorter home inspection timeframe. Removing the home inspection might not be a good idea, however – make sure to talk through the pros and cons with your agent.

Stand out with a personalized cover letter. If you’re competing with other buyers, including a cover letter personalizes the offer and illustrates for the seller why you want purchase the property. It can make all the difference for some buyers.

I’m hoping readers can share any additional advice in the comment section below.

Thank you for this week’s question. Please keep them coming to [email protected]. This is also a great place to reach me if you’re looking to buy or sell a home in the Arlington area.

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of


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