How to Write the Winning Offer

By Victor Quiroz

After a long day of showing homes with your pre-approved buyers, they have finally decided to write an offer on the perfect house! The buyers are now looking to you for a suggested price they might offer and relying on your expertise to help them win the bid. What is a real estate agent to do? Advise offering the listing price? Advise the buyers to underbid and try to get a “deal”? Advise your clients to overbid and blow all other offers out of the water?

Here are some tips to help you write the winning offer:

Communicate with the sellers’ side.

First thing I recommend is to pick up your phone and call the listing agent. Yes you read that correctly … call. Don’t text, don’t email. Call the agent.

First thing I recommend is to pick up your phone and call the listing agent. Yes you read that correctly … call. Don’t text, don’t email. Call the agent. As a millennial real estate agent, it’s easy to forget our smart phones have the ability to make telephone calls. Emailing an offer without communicating with the sellers side can be efficient but not always effective. When you’re inquiring about the property your clients are set to bid on, it’s easier to get honest feedback from the listing agent through a simple phone call than it is to go back and forth via text or email.

Ask good questions.

Much like face-to-face interaction, a phone call requires immediate attention and often solicits honest and unfiltered answers to your questions. Simply ask the listing agent over the phone: “Do you have any offers on this property?” If the response is “yes” your next question should be: “Are the offers at or above asking price?” Most agents will not tell you the exact price offered by other buyers but these simple questions, if answered by the listing agent, can tell you a lot about how to write your offer. If there are no current bids on the home then offering the listing price will more than likely get an acceptance. If there are additional offers on the table above asking price, you may have to write a stronger offer to win the bid. But you’ll never know how to approach the bidding process unless you ask these questions first.

Get creative.

Sometimes getting creative with the terms of the offer are enough to win the bid without raising the purchase price. An understanding of all the ways to make your buyers’ offer stronger if needed is the hallmark of a savvy buyer’s agent. Increasing the amount of the earnest money deposit, shortening or removing contingencies, removing all seller concessions or including an escalation clause are all common forms of strengthening an offer. Be sure to explain how each of these tactics can help make your buyers’ offer more appealing to the seller and increase their chances of writing a winning offer.

VICTOR QUIROZ is an agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties in Ontario, CA and a member of the national REthink Council. Get in touch with Victor on his website or through Facebook , Twitter or YouTube.

5 responses to How to Write the Winning Offer

  1. Leslie McGonigal

    Great advice, I do have a question. I have always been taught that it would be unethical for a seller’s agent to provide such information as letting you know the previous offer is at/ above/ or below asking, as this gives your buyers an unfair advantage over the previous buyer’s offer. I understand that as a buyer’s agent you are looking out for your clients; however, isn’t this putting the other agent at risk?


    • @Leslie, We can only negotiate based off of the info we have and asking for more info isn’t against the rules nor is it unethical in my opinion. If the listing agent wants to volunteer more info than what is stated on the MLS why not use that info to help your client? Using any extra info given to you by the listing agent helps you fulfill your fiduciary responsibility of looking out for your clients best interest in my opinion.


  2. Leslie McGonigal

    I think you misunderstood my response. I never said it was unethical to ask, as a buyer’s agent, I was asking if it is unethical for a seller’s agent to answer if a previous offer was above/ at / or below asking and wasn’t this question setting them up to be unethical?


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