3 Extreme Home-Buying Tactics to Get the House You Want

Today, in many markets, homes move quickly, often with multiple offers. Some homes, called “pocket listings,” sell before even hitting the market. It can be an all-out war for competitive buyers, and some will go to great lengths to win.

Here are three tips for going the extra mile to make sure you come out the winning bidder.

Make your offer a “sharp” offer

If the market is competitive and you really want the home, you need to let the seller know you’ll do whatever it takes to win it. In some cases, buyers will make what we call a “sharp” offer. In this situation, a potential buyer will match the highest and best offer, and raise that offer price by five percent — or sometimes even 10 percent.

Offer to buy out the winning buyer

I’ve seen remorseful buyers, frustrated after losing out in a bidding war, track down the winning buyer and negotiate with them. In this scenario, the losing buyer offers to pay the winning buyer their earnest money deposit (sometimes up to three percent of the purchase price) plus any expenses, in return for letting them take over the purchase.

Write a letter to the new homeowners once they close

If you can’t try to snag the home from the wining bidder, there is one final option. Knock on the door or write a letter to the new owner. Explain that you missed out on the home and that you would like to purchase it directly from them. In this case, you’d have to make them an incredible offer — one that would cover their sales and moving costs, and put money in their pocket. If you hit the right number, you just might motivate them.

When all else fails, it’s time to move on. There will be another house — there always is. Take the loss and chalk it up to experience. When the next great house comes along, be the first to see it, get the first offer in the door and make your offer irresistible.

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Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.