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Warren County Ohio Real Estate News and Observations

Should I Write A Backup Offer On That Home?

Write that back up offer or not?Should I Write A Backup Offer On That Home?

A home that checks all the boxes on your list is on the market at a price that works for you.  Maybe it's brand new to the market or the sellers FINALLY reduced to a price that fits your budget, but it has your interest.  We visit, it still works for you, you're ready to write that offer.

But then it happens, the home goes multiple offers and we're not the accepted offer.  Or maybe you needed a day or two to check some things out and during that time another buyer put in an offer that worked.

So what's next?  Of course I'm asking if there are any contingencies on the other offer that would allow you to become primary buyer.  For instance, maybe they have to sell a house first and you don't.   But assuming there's nothing we can do to make your offer the accepted one, what can we do?

There are two choices:

  • Write a back up offer so if primary falls through, you're already the accepted offer and other than possibly adjusting dates on when the contract happens, we're good to go.
  • Not write an offer, but just watch the property for a status change.  Maybe we let the listing agent know you're still interested and ask to be notified if the home is going to become available again.

Now with either of these approaches, there is some risk. For the second approach, if another buyer does commit and write an back up offer, the first deal may fall through and the home will still not come back on the market.  And frankly there's no guarantee that even if the first deal falls through and there is no back up offer that the listing agent will give us a heads up before it goes back to Active in MLS again.

The first approach has pros and cons too.  If your back up offer is significantly sweeter to the seller (more money, better closing date, better financing), they might have incentive to play hardball with the first buyers to try to get them to walk.  Now a seller can't legally just say GO AWAY to the buyers with the accepted contract, but there are places in the contract that can create a potential "out" clause.

Buyers asks for repairs after inspections.  NO.  Uh no, we're not fixing a thing.  Don't like it?  Too bad, so sad.  Need a little more time with your financing?  No, we don't have to do that.  We agreed to THOSE dates, and either live up to them or get out of the way.  You want out of the contract?  Okey dokey.  Hello buyer #2!!

But on the flip side, it's not uncommon for a listing agent to let buyer agent #1 know in no uncertain terms that there IS another offer and it's now the seller's playing field.  Take it or leave it, we'll be quite happy to go to offer 2.  So how bad does buyer 1 REALLY want the house?  If they want it bad enough, your backup offer is just the leverage the seller needs to keep buyer 1 toeing the line all the way to the closing table. 

As you can tell, there's not really a one size fits all response.  We need to weigh your needs and determine if writing that backup offer is the best strategy, or if we should just watch while continuing to look for another home that sparks that "THIS IS IT!!" feeling for you!


Serving Warren County's residential real estate needs,
Liz and Bill aka BLiz

REALTORS(S) Serving Warren County Ohio & Adjacent Areas

The Liz Spear Team of RE/MAX Elite
Elizabeth & William Spear
Ask for us by name if you visit the office!

EHO Two locations: Lebanon & Mason, OH
Direct:  513-520-5305
Direct #2: 513-265-3004     
Fax: 866-302-8418

MailTo:  LizSpear@Go-Concepts.com

Our Website:  www.LizTour.com

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Comment balloon 1 commentLiz and Bill Spear • May 22 2015 03:54PM
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