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4 Strategies to Start a Bidding War

People touring open house sold sign on lawn

Once you have established an asking price, you need to market the house so that you get the best deal as soon as possible. In many cases, a seller will aim to try and get multiple offers on the property. This increased demand can drive up the bids and increase the final sale price. That typically translates into even more extra cash in your pocket.

To help sellers, here are four tips to help you elicit multiple bids for your home.

  1. Aggressive Pricing — A simple yet effective strategy is to under-price your home. This strategy initiates the typical bidding war, where buyers keep increasing their offer price in the hope they win the bidding war and the home. This strategy works particularly well in a hot market.
  2. Some Touch-ups Might Help — We’ve all heard that staging helps sell a home and there’s more than a grain of truth to this statement. If you make selective investments into increasing the curb appeal of a house, or the overall decor image of a condo, chances are more potential buyers will fall in love with this move-in ready, stylish home. While buyers often commit to buying based on facts and figures, more often than not, they end up buying based on emotion. If you can entice a few buyers to “fall in love” with your home, chances are you’ll end up in a bidding war with a higher sale price.
  3. Increase Market Exposure — Work with a Realtor with a well thought out marketing plan. It’s not enough to stick your home on the Multiple Listing Service, put out a lawn sign or hold an open house. While all of those tactics are important, your Realtor should have additional strategies for getting the right type of buyer to see your home. Talk to a few Realtors about how they market their listings. Ask questions about their process and how they attract buyers. When you find a Realtor you feel comfortable with and you like their plan for marketing your home, then you know you’ve got the right person working to sell your home for top dollar. The more people who know your home is for sale, the greater the chance you have of getting multiple bids on the property — and multiple bids is a solid strategy for higher sale prices.
  4. Remove the Doubt — Quite often a buyer will love one particular property but may have questions. Were permits pulled for the renovation work? How old are the appliances? When will the roof need to be replaced? What amenities are in the neighbourhood. To remove these obstacles consider creating a fact-sheet for your home. List (and even show) all the work that was done and when permits were pulled and closed; on a separate sheet consider listing the local stores, community centres and other amenities; and to allay upkeep and maintenance costs, consider paying for your own home inspection, then make this inspection available to anyone who views your home. The idea is to offer potential sellers answers to any questions. By removing uncertainty you allow buyers to fall in love with the property without being hindered by concerns.
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Romana King

Romana King is an award-winning personal finance writer, real estate expert and the current Director of Content at Zolo. Romana has contributed to business and lifestyle publications including CBC.ca, Toronto Sun, Maclean’s, MoneySense, Globe & Mail Custom Content Team, and The Toronto Star. Among her achievements, Romana won silver for her annual Where to Buy Now real estate package in the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. In 2015, she won a SABEW Business Journalism award. When she was editor of CI Top Broker, Romana helped guide her team to obtain its first KRW Business Journalism nomination, and in 2011, she was part of a small team that helped MoneySense win Magazine of the Year at the 34th annual National Magazine Awards.