It's not just about money
Experts say money is not always the only consideration. "Normally it would be a 'duh,' situation," laughs Stattner. "You'd pick the buyer who offers the most. But that's not always the right move."
According to Stattner, many offers come with an assortment of conditions and qualifications that could alter the basic financial calculus. "Clauses saying the offer is conditional on a property inspection or the buyer obtaining a mortgage are standard," he says. "But if an offer is conditional on the buyer selling his house, then watch out, because you have no control over that."
dates can be important
On the other hand, if a new buyer wants to move into your house immediately, and your new dwelling or apartment won't be available for several months, you could get stuck having to find a temporary residence and end up paying a couple of months of rent. You'll have to factor those costs into your calculations regarding which offer to choose.
Sometimes your heart
gets in the way
Snow cites an example of an elderly couple who sold their home after raising their family there to a couple who visited with their young kids. "The sellers formed an instant bond with the visitors and when they got an offer, they accepted it right away even though there was a second offer on the table and they could have encouraged a bidding war," says Snow. "It's possible the younger couple reminded the sellers of what it's like to be young, and they just wanted to pass their home along to nice people."
if you only get one offer?
One of the most important pieces of advice is that when in doubt, you should listen to your real estate agent. Your agent has likely weathered these situations many times before. He will also have access to a database of recent transactions and will be able to tell you whether the offer is in the ball park by comparing it with other similar houses that have changed hands in recent months.
Studies have shown that real estate agents tend to get better prices when they sell their own homes than they do when they sell their clients' homes. Although there have been numerous reasons citied, one key difference is the "rush factor."
Home sellers typically try to time their home sales with an offer they have made on the next house they want to move into. Once they've made that offer, or have bought the new house, they fall under serious pressure to get rid of the old one. Agents, on the other hand, know to wait for the best offer.
your time can get you a better selling price
But that strategy does have its risks. "It's a judgment call," says Stattner. "If you're getting a lot of traffic when you hold open houses and the phone is ringing with interested buyers, it often pays to hang on for a bit. But if you have an offer and you haven't had another call for weeks, you'd better take a close look at it."
Diekmeyer is the Montreal Gazette's management columnist.
|-- Posted: Sept. 23, 2005||