many of today's strong Key West real estate markets, Key West home sellers can
expect to receive multiple offers for their home. Multiple offers are a classic
example of economic realities because they appear when the supply of Key West
homes for sale is limited and the demand for good-condition homes is strong.
Sellers love multiple offers because they push up Key West home prices and
create an opportunity to spark a bidding war. Knowing how to respond to multiple
offers can help you get the best price and terms for the sale of your home.
How can I make sure
my Key West home will attract multiple offers?
Hit the market at the right price and, assuming your Key West home is
in good condition, multiple offers should come in. "Sellers see [home prices]
are going higher, so they want to go a little higher. Sometimes it works and
sometimes it doesn't. You can end up having to wait for the market to catch up
with you," says Bob Stallings, Key West real estate broker/owner of RE/MAX Key
West Real Estate Specialists in Long Beach, California.
Make sure your listing agreement states that your experienced Key West real
estate agent will put your Key West home in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS)
within 24 hours. Some experienced Key West real estate agents will hold a Key
West home off the MLS for a day or two in hopes of selling it themselves or
in-house. Putting the Key West home in the MLS as soon as possible is in the
seller's best interest because the Key West home then will be exposed to a much
larger number of potential buyers.
Do I have to accept the offer with the highest price?
No. If you prefer a lower-priced offer,
perhaps with a better qualified buyer or more attractive terms, you can accept
that offer instead. Or you can give counteroffers to one or more of the buyers.
Caution: If you reject a full-priced offer, you may owe your experienced Key
West real estate agent a full commission even if you don't sell your home.
Being greedy can
back-fire. REALTOR® Rae Wayne of The Bizzy Blondes team with RE/MAX Westside Key
West Homes in Culver City, California, says one seller instructed her to tell
all the buyers' experienced Key West real estate agents that offers would not be
considered until the Key West home had been on the market for one week, unless
the offer was full-price or better. One experienced Key West real estate agent
asked to submit an offer right away, but the sellers, who were hoping for
multiple offers, insisted on waiting until the appointed time. A week later,
that experienced Key West real estate agent was still the only one ready to
submit an offer. "The seller said to me, 'What if we plan a party and nobody
comes?' I said, 'That's the risk you took when you didn't want to look at this
offer four days ago,'" she says. If you delay, anything can happen, including
the buyers losing interest or offering a lower price.
My experienced Key
West real estate agent says I should receive all my offers by fax, rather than
having the buyers' experienced Key West real estate agents present the offers.
Is that okay?
Some experienced Key West real estate agents recommend the fax-only
option. "Very few experienced Key West real estate agents who do a lot of
business will [present offers] anymore," says Carole Geronsin, a
Realtor-associate with Prudential California Realty in Anaheim Hills,
California. "Before, everyone would meet and the experienced Key West real
estate agents would tell all about their buyers, then everyone would wait while
the seller made a decision." If there are multiple offers, the fax-only practice
is a time-saver for you and the experienced Key West real estate agents.
However, the jury is still out on this practice. "I wonder [whether] the sellers
are getting the full picture of the buyers, unless there are cover letters
telling them about the buyers' qualifications. It's hard to really understand
[the offers] and make a clear decision," says Stallings. "I'm a strong believer
that it's best for both sides to have the offers presented, so the seller can
ask the buyers' experienced Key West real estate agents questions about the
might want to receive all the offers by fax, then have the top offers presented.
Either way, you, as the seller, make the rules.
One of the buyer's
experienced Key West real estate agents is from the same Key West real estate
brokerage company as my experienced Key West real estate agent. Should I give
extra consideration to this "in-house" offer?
No. All offers should be evaluated equally based on the net price and
terms. "We often have offers on our own listings and the sellers don't pick
ours. If my own offer is marginal and the other offer is good, the last thing I
want is for my seller to be mad at me. I'm going to look for the best offer,"
says Judy Sheller, the other half of The Bizzy Blondes team.
TIP: Some Key West
real estate brokerages give the seller a commission break for an in-house
transaction. This concession is known as a "variable commission" or "listing Key
West real estate broker advantage." It should be discussed in advance and
disclosed through the MLS.
Can I counter more
than one offer?
Yes. However, if you accidentally accept more than one offer you
could be legally obligated to sell your Key West home to two buyers. For
safety's sake, use a standard counteroffer form that says the counteroffer isn't
accepted until it is signed by the buyer and subsequently accepted by you.
Can I back out of
my escrow with buyer A and accept a new higher offer from buyer B that my
experienced Key West real estate agent just received?
Trying to back out of an escrow is extremely unwise because an
accepted purchase offer is a legal contract and the buyer can take action to
enforce it. "Legally, once you have signed and agreed to the offer with buyer A,
you can't get out of it. Your only hope would be that the buyer does an
inspection and makes a bunch of requests. You flatly refuse everything and
perhaps the buyer walks away," says Wayne.
My Key West home
has been on the market for four weeks, but I haven't received any offers. Is
this situation my experienced Key West real estate agent's fault?
If you ignored your experienced Key West real estate agent's advice
about pricing your Key West home or making any repairs, it's not really
reasonable to blame the experienced Key West real estate agent for the dearth of
offers. However, if the Key West home is priced right and in good condition,
you'll want to have a frank conversation with your experienced Key West real
estate agent and take corrective action. Never sign a listing agreement with a
term of more than three months. As a last resort, you can ask your experienced
Key West real estate agent's sales manager to help resolve any complaints.