How to put in a backup offerIf you decide to submit a backup offer, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Don't get carried away. "I always suggest offering list price," says Juniper Cooper of Juniper Realty Group in Boise, Idaho. "It is not a good strategy to get stuck paying a lot more for a home than it is worth. There are other homes out there."
- Show them the money. "I always urge buyers to get pre-approved for their mortgage prior to placing any offers," says Brad Malow, a real estate agent with Rutenberg Realty in New York City and founder of BuyingNYC.com. Malow also recommends including verification that your credit and financials have been reviewed by your lender.
- Be flexible. "Some sellers may want to close as soon as possible," says Malow. "Others may have broader timelines. Be open to working with what the seller may desire."
- Reduce contingencies. "Removing as many contingencies as possible will always make the offer more attractive to the sellers," says Shackelton. For example, if you make an offer on a home that is contingent upon selling your current home, the seller will probably pass if they have another offer without contingencies.
- Court the sellers. When competition for properties gets stiff, some buyers will give their agent a personal letter to deliver to the sellers, introducing themselves and talking about what they love about the home. If your backup offer is one of many, a personal touch just might get your offer accepted in the primary position. "When four offers come in and three are anonymous and one is from the 'older gentleman' or 'teacher,' the seller might be more inclined to consider that offer,'" says Cooper. Obviously your offer still has to be competitive, but if you're head-to-head with other offers, it's certainly worth a shot.