McGuire Real Estate

How to Win a Bidding War on Your Dream Home

by Eun Young Lee 11/03/2019

In a competitive housing market--like the one we have today--sellers are fielding numerous offers, especially in desirable urban and suburban hubs.

If you’re hoping to buy your first or second home, it can be tough to make offer after offer with no success.

However, there are some things you can do to help ensure your time house hunting is well-spent and to increase your chances of getting your offer accepted.

In today’s post, I’m going to give you a few tips on how to win a bidding war on your dream home.

All-cash offer

The most effective way to ensure that your offer is accepted is to make it in all cash. Cash offers drastically simplify the real estate transaction process, making things easier on the seller.

Most buyers, especially first-time buyers, won’t be able to make an all-cash offer on a home. However, people who are downsizing after their children moved out or are buying a retirement home may find themselves in the ideal financial situation to be able to leverage a cash offer.

If that sounds like you, consider a cash offer as part of your bidding strategy.

Waive the financing contingency

If you’re new to real estate contracts, you might be wondering what a contingency is. Essentially, a contingency is an action that needs to be completed before the contract becomes valid and the sale becomes final.

There are a number of different contingencies that can be found in a real estate contract. However, the most popular are for inspections, appraisals, and financing.

If you’re planning on taking out a mortgage to purchase the home, a financing contingency protects you in case you aren’t able to secure the mortgage in time. In other words, you’re not on the hook for a home you can’t pay for.

In some special situations, buyers might decide to waive the financing contingency, signaling to the sellers that there won’t be any hang-ups or delays from the buyer regarding financing the home.

Waiving this contingency comes with risks (namely, being responsible for coming up with the money to pay for the home). However, there are ways to safely waive a contingency.

The most common approach is to get a fully pre-approved letter from a lender. The important distinction here is that your mortgage needs to be pre-approved and underwritten (not just pre-qualified), otherwise you again risk getting denied the mortgage in the last moments before buying your home.

Crafting a personal letter

Sometimes all it takes to win a bidding war is to be the seller’s favorite candidate. Take the time to write them a personalized letter. Explain what you love about their home and why it’s perfect for your family.

Avoid talking about big changes you’ll make. Remember that they probably put a lot of time and money into the home, making it exactly the way they want it, and won’t appreciate you making huge plans to undo their work as soon as they’re out the door.


Using one, or a combination of, these three techniques, you’ll be able to give yourself an edge over the competition and increase your chances of getting your offer accepted.

About the Author
Author

Eun Young Lee

Eun Young “EY” Lee has been living in San Francisco for the last 17 years. Over those years she has fallen in love with this beautiful city, the great food, incredible parks and mild weather. She enjoys exploring San Francisco’s different neighborhoods and seeing the unique character of them all. This exploration of the City and its neighborhoods sparked her interest in real estate.

EY grew up in New Jersey and New York, and is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. She has over 15 years of experience in market research and client services. Her success in the corporate world was derived from understanding her clients’ needs. This translates to a real estate agent who excels at assessing what each client wants and needs. This, combined with her knowledge of San Francisco, positions EY well to help clients find and sell their home by the Bay.

When not working, EY is an avid tennis player and can be found playing tennis throughout the city from Golden Gate Park to the Golden Gateway along the Embarcadero. She also enjoys making pottery at the Sharon Art Studio, skiing, and enjoying all the great food in the City and the Bay Area.