Profile picture for SteadyState

Can a buyer put multiple offers?

Many agents claim that there are multiple offers or will be multiple offers on a property. Is it possible for the buyer to place multiple offers on different properties and go with the first offer that is accepted?
  • November 19 2010 - US
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Answers (13)

Theoretically yes but VERY risky and really not good practice. The sales and purchase contract is a commitment to purchase a property. You could lose your deposit if two offers are accepted simultaneously.

By submitting multiple offers you are  misleading the seller unless you intend to buy more than one property or fully disclose what you are doing (which would make your offer very unattractive). Your agent may well and correctly refuse or advice against knowingly send multiple simultaneous offers.

  • November 19 2010
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I wouldn't recommend it  First of all, it's not ethical.  Second, you may be subject to legal liabilities.  Let's say you put offers on House 1 and House 2 at the same time.  If both offers get accepted at the same/similar time whereby you don't have the opportunity to withdraw one of the offers, you may be obligated to perform under both contracts. 
  • November 19 2010
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Yes, there are risks to this. If you want a home for you to live in I don't sugest it. If you are an investor with cash and you can purchase more than one property yes. There are many ways to back out of a contract but you do run the risk of loosing your deposit. Things have slowed a bit, there are homes that are sitting on the market longer that are not short sales. I have seen in the last few days REO sales in my area that have been on for more than a month.
Find an agent you trust, have loan approval with somone who knows what they are doing and enjoy the process.

Good luck
  • November 19 2010
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Profile picture for the_country_hick
It can be done safely with the proper contingencies. But as you see below few realtors know how to do this.

If you try this look for an investor friendly realtor who is more likely to understand this kind of approach.

Perhaps the links below can help you with this. The author knows about this kind of approach and its problems.

"Buying a Home Faster Than Your Competition: 6 Secrets to Winning the Offer Race"

"How To Find And Screen an Investor-Friendly Realtor"


  • November 19 2010
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This can often be done properly and ethically, particularly when dealing with short sales.  In an owner-occupant multiple-offer situation, offers will often be written with short expiration times, making simultaneous offers from one buyer unneccessary.  
  • November 19 2010
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I'm not sure if I understand correctly what you mean when you say "many agents claim there will be multiple offers". Sometimes a Seller, often a lender or institution will not respond to an offer for a number of days after a listing has been placed on the market. The Seller waits until day 10 for example and then compares the offers that have been send in. In case the Seller has received several offers he may go back and ask for "highest and best". Eventually the Seller will aceept the best offer. In reality, there may be not even one offer. You really don't know and if you like a property I would give it a chance and make an offer. That is something different than a buyer making multiple offers. A buyer can do that. Some buyers think it may be a good strategy to deal with Short Sales. they think they make offers on a few properties and then buy the one that gets approved. I personally think that it's unfair towards the Seller since this could end in foreclosure if the offer that the lender has worked on for weeks then suddenly gets pulled. On the other hand if you are open about it then in some situation the Seller may be glad to have an offer to get the Short Sale process going. That is something you should discuss with the Seller's agent. On the other hand there are so many properties for sale right now that are not Short Sales that you really don't have to go that route to get a great deal.
  • November 19 2010
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It is typical and recommended that you only submit one offer at a time. While a Seller may receive multiple offers, and often do when a property is priced below market, Sellers typically only place one offer at a time. When a Seller submits an offer, the offer can be accepted and executed at anytime after it has been presented. If multiple offers on several properties were submitted, the buyer could find themselves in a situation where they would have to perform on multiple offers.

I recommend that you "sunset" or set an expiration of you offer, so you will know when to move on to another property. Alternatively, you could add a refusal clause in the contract after a period of time. This will not keep you tied to an offer indefinitely.
  • November 19 2010
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Profile picture for user4364299
I don't think any of the posters here know what they are talking about, at least with respect to NY. 
An initial offer and acceptance concerning real estate is not binding on anyone, unless there is a deposit sent in with the offer, which is not customary in NY.  The parties need to sign a final contract for anything to be binding.  That's why a seller continues to show the property under a contract is signed after an offer is "accepted."
Given that, I don't see any reason why a buyer can't put pressure on sellers by letting them know the first one to come back with an acceptable counteroffer wins their money.
Or maybe I'm missing something?
  • July 23 2014
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Profile picture for user49716098

I WOULD RECOMMEND that you offer on several properties at a time if you 1) properly disclose that is what you are doing 2) are willing to lose a little deposit to get out of a contract and 3) have the proper wording in the contract.  In our market this is the only way I can get certain buyers a house!  Further, it takes a little wind out of the seller's sail because you are basically saying, "I like your house but I WILL buy another if you don't get where I need to be on price."  After all, if you have properly disclosed, the seller doesn't have to take your offer.  It is not only ethical, but it is savvy.

  • September 19 2014
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Yes, there are risk involved. Instead talk with your Realtor and make good offers with less response times. 

Try to get emotional involvement attached to your offer: 
 
Letter from buyer to seller explaining why you love their home.
Offer more  earnest money. 
Tailor your dates to their needs.

Give shorter acceptance times, so you can move on. 
 
 
  • September 19 2014
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Profile picture for Rebecca Marvel
This is a very old post - 2010 but I'm going to respond.

Yes, it happens and in my area it happens quite often. It is not a "normal" practice and it seems to only occur when there is little inventory.
  • September 19 2014
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Anyone reading these responses should take them all under the advisement that it all depends on where you are.  In many states, this is common.  In my state of Minnesota: don't do it.  Unlike NY, offers are sent as purchase agreements and constitute a binding contract once signed by both the buyer and the seller.  If both offers are accepted, you may find yourself in the situation where you will have to perform on both contracts.  (perform may very well mean that you just lose your earnest money)

The best advice is ALWAYS to ask your Realtor.  That is what we are there for.
  • May 06
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This is very risky.You could very well end up being legally under contract to purchase multiple homes. When you submit your offer- if the seller signs and agrees to your terms with no changes you are under contract. If more than one seller agrees to your terms, before you are able to withdraw your other offers you are then in multiple legally binding contracts. 
  • May 07
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