How to handle Multiple Offers when buying a house

There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to a multiple offer. In this article I will do my best to cover the important details.

Multiple offers can happen in busy real estate markets and slow real estate markets. In my opinion this can take the fun out of purchasing a house and add unwanted stress. Knowing how to proceed can remove most of the stress and can result in your offer being the one that gets accepted by the seller.


You’ve Found the Perfect Vancouver House For Sale

After weeks of house hunting you have found the perfect house. Your agent prepares a well written offer and you sign it at 4:00 pm on a Sunday afternoon. Offer presentation is at 6:00 pm Tuesday evening. On Sunday evening at 7:30 pm your agent calls and tells you there are two more offers on the property. All of a sudden, the mood changes and so do the tactics. The key here is to be prepared for multiple offers. I always discuss every potential offer scenario with my clients before we start the adventure of finding the perfect house for sale. This eliminates unwanted stress and allows for clear thinking on how to proceed.

Should I offer over the asking price?

Knowing what price to offer is determined by what the current market value is on the subject property. I do a detailed current market analysis of the subject property. I look at what similar properties have sold for as well as how often similar properties come up for sale in the immediate area. The true market value of the listing will determine the offering price. Another factor is when the listing price of the property does not reflect the market value. For example, the listing agent may have underpriced the property to get multiple offers. When a listing agent uses this strategy, you must proceed with patience and caution. I never let my clients get caught up in a bidding war. Moving forward in an informative and strategic strategy wins in the end.  In summary, the listing price should always be overridden by a detailed market analysis.

Should I write a subject free offer?

In most cases the answer is yes. Yes, but take care of the wanted / needed subjects before your offer is presented. A good listing agent will often choose a date for offer presentation that will allow potential buyers to have a professional licensed building inspector do an inspection, organize pre-approved financing and any other details needed to have a subject free offer. If you are able to write an offer with no subjects you will have a better chance of having your offer accepted at a lower price.

Should I go get a deposit?

This is where many offers are won and lost. I have been a listing agent in many multiple offers in my career. I have seen potential winning offers put aside because the buyer’s agent did not tell their clients about what is needed for the deposit. The deposit must be a minimum of 5% percent of the offering price by way of a Bank Draft. More importantly, a copy of the bank draft must accompany the offer. This means that if the seller chooses to accept the offer with a copy of the Bank Draft attached the property is sold right there and then. If the offer is subject free with the deposit to be submitted in 24 hours the property is not sold until the deposit is received.

Do dates matter for completion and possession when writing an offer?

Knowing the seller’s preferred dates of completion and possession is important. Accommodating the seller’s dates matters.

Everyone loves a true happy story

Writing a letter to the seller that tells the story of the potential buyers can go a long way when deciding which offer to choose.  Even if I am able to present the offer in person and tell the story I always have a copy of the letter attached to the offer. The seller can be overwhelmed having many offers in front of them. Having a letter attached to your offer can trigger an attachment and an emotional connection to the potential buyer.

Grammar and executive details

I am fastidious on how I write an offer because it is important to be presented in a professional and well written manner. Being professional and having good executive organization can make a difference if there are two identical offers in price and terms.


The above information is important if you are one of two or more offers being presented on a Vancouver house for sale or a Vancouver Condo for sale. Having a strategy and all the information available to you before this type situation arises can help to have your offer being the one out of many that the sellers choose to accept.

Neighbourhoods where multiple offers are most common.

Vancouver East Side Houses For Sale

  • Main Street houses for sale with basement suites on select streets priced under 1.75 million
  • Grandview Woodlands (Commercial Drive) character houses for sale with basement suites priced under 1.6 million
  • Mount Pleasant houses for sale with basement suites priced under 1.6 million

Vancouver West Side Houses For Sale

  • Kitsilano houses for sale with basement suites on select streets on 33 foot lots

Vancouver West Side Condos for Sale

  • Downtown one bedroom condos for sale in select buildings priced under 650 thousand
  • Yaletown one bedroom condos for sale in select buildings priced under 600 thousand
  • Downtown and Yaletown two bedroom condos priced under 850 thousand

Vancouver East Side Condos For Sale

  • One bedroom condos in the Mount Pleasant and Main Street area priced under 400 thousand


Please call or email me and we can go into further details about multiple offers. We can discuss “The Wild Card” scenario and how to detect it and how not to become part of it. Another topic is knowing who the listing agent is – and knowing the history of how they structure their listings to generate multiple offers.

Written by Don Urquhart – Vancouver Realtor for 25 plus years

Other articles that maybe of interest to you:

Buying a House or Condo in Vancouver

Selling Your House or Condo in Vancouver