What’s a Bidding War?! How to get Top-Dollar for your Home!

At the moment, the Maine market is a sellers market.  This means there are few sellers, and lots of buyers! Depening on the home, you are likely to see many offers placed for the same property.

Many buyers and few sellers is the most obvious reason for a bidding war, or ‘multi-offer situation’ as is the typical language in the real estate world.

However there are other times that these situations can happen as well.  This is especially true if the property is particularly unique, it has a unique location (i.e. waterfront, lakefront, unique view), or is highly desirable for another reason.

Houses of all sizes and in all areas of the country undergo bidding wars.  If your home is hitting the market at the moment, or has something unique to offer, your home could be one of them.

There are certainly types of homes and locations that are more desirable for buyers and more likely to have a bidding war. However, by carefully prepping your home and crafting your listing, you can attract plenty of buyers who are eager to make an offer.

Here are four of the best ways to trigger a bidding war for your house:

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1. Set the perfect price.

Pricing is the most important factor when trying to start a bidding war. Be thoughtful when setting your price, and look at other recent sales in your area to get an idea of your house’s value.

Once you know what your home is currently worth, list it for slightly less than that price. Over-pricing the house will drastically decrease interest, but asking for just under its value will get lots of prospective buyers to make an offer.

This method works best in a hot housing market, such as the current market in Maine. If the market is a buyer’s market (one in which there are lots of sellers and few buyers), you’ll probably get an offer if you under-price your house, but there won’t be a bidding war to drive up the price.

Also, avoid pricing the house dramatically lower than its market value. Prospective buyers may find this suspicious and assume that something is wrong with the house.

In order to properly price your property, make sure you consult your real estate agent.

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2. Plan showings strategically.

With COVID restrictions and safety measures, a typical open-house may not be possible.  However, you can strategically determine when your home will be marketed as coming soon, when it will hit the market officially, and when showings will be.

Scheduling showings over a short period of time, shortly after your home hits the market, such as over one weekend, and making it known that all offers must be in by a certain date, likely the Monday following the weekend showings, creates a sense of urgency and that your property is desirable to many people.

Arrange showings back-to-back so that buyers see each other as they come and go. People become much more motivated to make an offer when they know that others are interested, too. It’s human nature to want what you can’t have and wanting to win that home that everyone is desiring, so creating that environment usually drives more offers.

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3. Declutter and stage the house.

First impressions are key when it comes to selling your house. Staging your home for prospective buyers takes time and effort, but you’ll get far more offers by making your house look as pristine as possible.

Follow your realtor’s advice for preparing your home for professional photos and virtual tour. Photos are the number one thing potential buyers and their representing realtors look at.  This is the main thing that will get people in your home!

This means packing away clutter and personal items like family photos and collectables.  Less is more, so packed closets and stuffed spaces make your house appear smaller.  Professional photos should be a non-negotiable with your realtor.

Consider working with your realtor to hire a staging company if your home has awkward spaces or will be empty.  Furnished homes feel like home, and show better!

The purpose of staging your home is to make it easy for buyers to imagine themselves living there. When you’re done, it should look like a photo in a magazine. Your decor and wall colors should be neutral.

There should be no clutter or personal items, and every inch of the house should be spotless. This may take several months of cleaning and decluttering, so start this process long before you list your home.

Consider the curb appeal of your house, too. Many buyers will simply drive by a home to decide whether or not they’re interested, so your lawn, garden, and driveway should all be immaculate.Start A Website Image

4. Launch a website for your listing.

The internet is a valuable resource for generating interest in your home. The majority of buyers look at listings online before deciding to attend a showing, so your home’s internet presence can have a big impact on the number of offers you’ll get.

Your listing should appear on all the typical sites like Zillow and Trulia, but creating a separate website for your house as well will draw more attention from buyers. Your website can include high-quality photos, a description of the home, the floor plan, and even a video tour.

Creating a website for your home allows you to market the listing much more effectively. You can share the link on your social media platforms to help buyers easily access the information they need. It’s also a great way to promote a sense of urgency in prospective buyers. They may assume that a house that has its own website has lots of interested buyers, so they’ll be anxious to put in an offer.

Ultimately, the best way to trigger a bidding war is to present your home in a way that motivates buyers to make an offer immediately. You can accomplish this by slightly under-pricing your listing, staging your house,  and by strategically marketing it.

Not every competing seller in your area will go to such great lengths to attract buyers, so putting in the extra time and effort will pay off.

Starting the bidding war is only one step in the process of selling your home. When you have several offers, you and your realtor must carefully review each option.

Going with the highest offer in a bidding war isn’t always the best choice.  The benefit of a bidding war is that you have multiple buyers to choose from, so you can be selective in your decision. Your realtor can best guide you in evaluating each offer and choosing the terms that are the best fit to meet your needs!

About the Author
Stacy Salvo
Stacy Salvo is a mother, realtor and real estate investor in Southern Maine. She is fueling a passion for real estate and home design, while collecting family memories one adventure at a time.

Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram @soldwithstacy