How to Win a Bidding War in Toronto

By Aleksandra Oleksak, Real Estate Chick

It’s no secret; Toronto is experiencing some intense bidding wars in the housing market and there are a lot of disappointed buyers out there. It’s no fun losing, especially something so emotional as buying a home. As frustrating as it may seem there are some things you can do to come out victorious. Here are my top tips.

Bring A Certified Cheque

When submitting an offer, you also give a deposit once your offer has been accepted. Instead of waiting for that moment, show up with a certified cheque on offer night and show it to the seller. This proves to the seller you mean business and it’s also less risk for the seller.

Set A Limit

Just because that house is listed at $499,999 doesn’t mean that’s true market value. Make sure your realtor runs the comparables and researches the neighbourhood to come up with the market value and decide if you’re willing to offer this price and what your limit is beyond that and stick to it.

Bring A Handwritten Note

A handwritten note appeals to the seller’s emotional side. The seller may have raised their family in the home you want to buy. They have a lot of memories and may have reservations about selling their home. A handwritten note explaining why you want to buy their home makes them feel like a new family will build memories and take good care of the home they cherish.

Be Flexible With Your Terms and Conditions

Unfortunately in a multiple offer scenario, the seller is in control. In order to make your offer look favourable, agree to the sellers’ closing date and any terms they are requesting (within reason, of course). Consider taking out your financing or home inspection condition so that your offer is firm. What this means to the seller is their home is sold tonight and no backing out by the buyer through a condition in the offer.

Don’t Play Games With The Purchase Price

You may only get one shot to present your offer and purchase price, so don’t play games. You have set a limit in your mind; so don’t be afraid to offer it. You may not get another round.

Pre-Home Inspection

If you really want the home, but feel uncomfortable without a home inspection condition, think about having one done before the offer date. This will give you a piece of mind and either confirm your desire to purchase the home, or act as a deterrent.

Make An Appearance

Whether the offer presentation is at the listing agent’s office or at the sellers’ home, make sure you show up or at least stay close by. In the case that there are any last-minute changes that need to be made to the offer for the seller to accept it, you should be close by to react quickly.

Never Offer Whole Numbers

Almost everyone offers whole numbers on offer night with “00” endings, so to avoid having the same offer price as your competitor, try offering “50,” “200,” and so on. This may be the determining factor between you wining, losing, or being sent back for another round.

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Trust Your Realtor

Work with a professional that you trust and has handled bidding wars before.  They will have experience determining true market value and guiding you through the whole process and making sure you don’t overbid.

At the end of the day, it’s important to realize that the seller has control. They are offering an “item” for sale, that multiple people want. As much as you may not like the sellers’ rules, you will have to play by them if you want to win, otherwise there’s always someone next in line who will.

Aleksandra Oleksak is Her City Lifestyle’s “Real Estate Chick,” and a Toronto real estate professional with Sage Real Estate. As @RealtyQueenTO, her real estate blog has been named one of the top 50 real estate blogs in Canada.


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