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I have a confession to make: I have seen every season of The Bachelor. For those not familiar with the show, the premise is simple: a single, attractive man is given the opportunity to meet approximately 25 women over the course of the season in search of his future wife.
He slowly eliminates them, one by one, presenting a rose to those he wants to remain, until he proposes to the winning contestant during the season finale. There’s also a popular offshoot of the series, called The Bachelorette, with the same scenario but a female lead.
Perhaps part of the reason I am so drawn to the show is that it has many parallels to real estate, especially when it comes to bidding wars. The women vying for the bachelor’s attention and the symbolic rose gesture echo many buyers’ experiences in today’s market who are in their own “rose ceremony” of sorts when competing against other buyers for a home they want.
Each prospective buyer is competing and jockeying for the seller’s attention, hoping to be the lucky one with the winning bid.
Navigating this competitive landscape can be daunting for a buyer, which makes the wise counsel and support of a real estate professional invaluable.
Here are five tips I’ve gleaned from watching The Bachelor — and my many years in this business — that can greatly help you guide clients to victory in a multiple offer situation.
1. Assume an ‘all-in’ mentality
The infamous limo ride, escorting the rejected competitors away at the end of each episode, is filled with tears and feelings of regret. The vast majority of these contestants wish they had opened up and not held back when they had the chance.
Buyers will often ask me how high they should go with a bidding price, and I always advise them to go as high as they feel comfortable. I show them the comps and market trends but remind them that this is an emotional process.
Some buyers toss out all reason and logic as they bid a super high price that will not make rational sense. For this reason, my clients need to be prepared to go “all-in,” whatever that means to them in terms of dollar amount.
It’s critical that a buyer feels he or she has put forth his or her best effort so that if the buyer doesn’t get the house, there’s no regrets.
2. Make a heartfelt connection
The women who do well on the show are able to connect on an emotional level with the bachelor. They have substantive conversations and a genuine connection that leads to deeper feelings and (maybe) a rose.
Buying or selling a home can be a similarly emotional process. Many sellers feel connected to their home and neighborhood, and they want to make sure they find a good fit. A capable real estate professional will leverage that emotion and use it to the client’s advantage, presenting clients as real people and not just names on a contract.
I’ve seen buyers make this connection by personal letter, photos, links to YouTube or cell phone videos introducing themselves. They are often not even the highest or best offers; the sellers chose to accept because they felt a connection with the individuals.
3. Accept that it isn’t all about you
On many of the episodes, some contestants make the mistake of talking about themselves rather than trying to get to know the bachelor. They would have more success if they tried to be more interested versus trying to be interesting.
I receive a shocking number of offers that are nothing more than a number in my inbox. What else is the seller is looking for? Besides price, what are the key terms and conditions that are important to the seller?
These items can make a big difference between one offer and the next.
4. Present your best self
On the show, coming on too strong or being overly aggressive never goes well. In a bidding war, you likewise want your clients to win out (get the house), but if you badger the listing agent or create unnecessary pressure, it’s going to work against you.
Ideally, you would present an offer in person, but the next best option is to present the offer to the listing agent using a two-step process.
- I call the agent. I tell him or her that I have written up the offer and will be emailing it over to them, but first, I want to confirm the email address. While I’ve got them on the phone, I share key details of the offer and gauge the reaction.
- I then follow up with an email that includes any other supporting documents. In the body of the email, I include a clear, compelling case for the seller to accept my client’s offer. I count on the majority of agents forwarding the whole email directly to the sellers, which demonstrates very little panache.
5. Show stability
On The Bachelor, contestants who seem too high-maintenance are seldom successful. Their drama makes for great TV, but appearing out of control isn’t going to win a rose.
The seller’s attitude toward getting a home sold is much the same: they want a buyer who will proceed to the finish line via the smoothest route possible.
When presenting your client’s offer, the more you can do to convey a sense of security, the better the chances you’ll deliver what the seller prizes most: peace of mind. The more solid and stable you can paint the picture of the buyer’s financing, the more you will alleviate any concerns.
There are several ways the buyer can show reliable financing: tightening or removing contingencies, having non-refundable earnest money or even going with shorter timelines. The more skin the buyer has in the game, the more committed he or she will appear.
It’s never fun to compete against many other “suitors” for a home. But if your clients are prepared and you go all-in to support them, you’ll quickly realize that even if things don’t work out, there is always another season (and more homes in the market).
Hopefully, some of these tips will lessen any potential heartbreak for your clients as they search for the home of their dreams.
Aaron Drussel is the chief officer of big ideas and broker/owner of Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate Influence Partners in the Salt Lake City area. Follow him on Instagram or Facebook.