Spark a Bidding War

Ready to make a move? Have a certain figure in mind that you need to sell for? Depending on your market, you might be able to get a little more than what you may be needing. Bidding wars have become the norm here in San Francisco, but setting yourself up for success is not as easy as putting a sign in the yard and waiting for the offers to roll in. Here are a few things to consider to help get your sales price over asking after starting a bidding competition. 



When there isn't much interest in a property, buyers get nervous and suspicious that there may be something wrong with the home that they may be missing, and that could sometimes be further from the truth. You want to price your home competitively to entice more showings. When you price your home under the market value, it leads to more showings, more appointments, and more excitement around your home. This all leads to more buyer interest and getting the winning buyer to give their highest and best. 



You want to make sure your price gets buyers interested in your property. The excitement from hoping they are the winning offer and landing your home sets the right mood for buyers to WANT your property. Always price the home in a way that is going to appeal to a large audience. Pricing a home at $1,499,900 can generally generate more foot traffic than one listed at $1,520,00. This is due to search parameters on most search engines that buyers use (Zillow,, Trulia, etc.)  If a buyer is searching up to $1,500,000 in your neighborhood and you priced just over that, you will be eliminating many buyers from even seeing your home. Advertising a home for sale that is listed for under the market value can garner a lot of interest, which can lead to the home selling for more than what you originally wanted. 



Make sure you work with an agent that has the ability to start up a coming soon buzz around your home. You want to let the market know that your home is going to be coming soon, and start up conversation and interest. This gives time for word about your home to spread to get more foot traffic and competition on your house. The bigger the open houses and marketing, the more eyeballs on your property.



It's without question that to get over market value for your home, it has to be in great showing condition. Discuss with your agent the importance of having your home professionally cleaned and staged to attract more buyers. Starting up a buzz won't lead to much if buyers walk into your home and are turned off by odors, unappealing lighting, or rooms that are not properly staged. Also make sure to de-personalize your home if you will be living there through the sale. This means taking down family photos and knick-knacks that are personal to you. You want to allow buyers an opportunity to see your home in the best light and imagine it as their own the first time they walk through your door. 



Have your agent set a date for reviewing offers, say a Tuesday or Wednesday, right after a weekend of doing open houses. This can generate a sense of urgency around your home, letting buyers think there is a large amount of interest and to get their best offer in. Setting them up with this sense of urgency and competition generally makes them want to put their best foot forward with their offer.



In this competitive market, contingencies can be the killer of all deals. Given that they are the way a buyer can get out of contract, a non-contingent offer is always what we shoot for in a bidding war. The main contingencies written into the standard contract are property condition, loan, and appraisal. From the seller's side, there's not much you can do to guarantee a buyer's loan will go through (other than accept all cash). However, you can take care of the pest and home inspection up front so that the buyers know the good, bad and ugly about a property before they put in their offer. In doing this, you eliminate the risk of having the buyer complete their own inspections and try to either renegotiate or back out of the sale based on what they find.