Winning the bidding war

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Are you always placing offers on properties only to be outbid? What do you do when you are placed in this situation, whether you are the buyer or seller?

Once an endangered species, multiple offers on properties are returning to the market, and buyers have to play their cards right if they want to come out on top

Homes that are priced right will always see plenty of activity, and many times sell for above the asking price. However, the sales price is not the only item to consider on the contract.

Three other crucial items to bear in mind when presenting an offer to the seller are the contingencies placed on the contract, the amount of earnest money being delivered, and the date of closing. These factors are as important as the sales price, if not more so.

As a buyer, if you know your entering a multiple-offer situation, start with your best offer. Many times, especially when dealing with bank-owned properties, there will be no negotiations. The lender will look at all offers submitted, choose one and decline the rest.

Many times, earnest money can make the difference between acceptance and denial. If you are purchasing the property in cash, it is advisable to deposit 10 to 20 percent as earnest money to indicate to the seller you are serious about buying.

A pre-approval letter or proof of funds is essential if paying cash. Normally, a seller will not entertain an offer submitted without one because it proves you are ready to buy and a lender has already approved you for funding.

There are also contingencies in the contract, which if they are waived, will help your offer, such as the inspection clause or even stating you will purchase the home in as-is condition.

When dealing with short sales or bank-owned properties, it always helps to pick up some of the lenders costs such as the survey on the home or village inspection fees. Small items like this will give you the advantage over other offers and are minimal additional amounts out of pocket.

As a seller, don’t delay in responding to buyers. Remember, yours isn’t the only home on the market, and buyers will continue to look even when they’ve placed an offer on your home.

Multiple offers can be a difficult situation to deal with, but never let it discourage you from buying or selling your home!

For more, call 773-407-8800, e-mail or visit

About Giuseppe Zerillo

Giuseppe Zerillo is the managing broker and owner of Zerillo Realty Inc. He is active on many boards, serving as village trustee of Harwood Heights and corporate secretary for Casa Italia. In 2011, he received the IANU Foundation's 2011 David Award for outstanding promise in the field of real estate, and in 2012 he was honored by the Illinois State Crime Commission for his community outreach. Constantly seeking opportunities to give back, he donates to several charities and raises money for children with disabilities.

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