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Multiple offers on a house? Here's how to respond – according to experts

Received multiple offers on a house? Here's what the experts suggest – to find the best deal for you and your property

small exterior of a cottage house
(Image credit: Benjamin Moore)

The question of how to navigate multiple offers on a house is increasingly prominent – as the current property market continues to exhibit increased demand. Competition for every type of property is high, so if you’re selling, it’s more than possible that you will need to consider more than one offer before accepting. 

And while you may have researched how to buy a house – the prospect of choosing – or competing against – multiple offers adds another layer of stress to the process. However, despite the added complexities, experts explain that having multiple offers on a house is a positive thing – most especially as you’re likely to receive a better price for your home. 

House with exterior in whtie and white front door, path to door, and foliage plants and flowers

(Image credit: Sadolin)

Why might you have multiple offers on your property? Well, maybe you know the best ways to add value to your home  (and those home improvements that won't add value). Or perhaps your house is in a prime, sought-after location. Whatever the reason, the process of choosing and accepting an offer remains the same. Here's what you need to know.

Is it OK to have multiple offers on a house?

Yes, it is certainly okay to have multiple offers on a house. In fact, Dennis Shirshikov, a Strategist at Awning (opens in new tab) suggests it is a good thing as you are likely to receive a better deal for your property. 'It’s absolutely ok to have multiple offers on your house and can be quite common in a hot market,' he says. Here's what you need to remember:

What happens when there are multiple offers on a house?

The purpose here is to get as much information as possible on what the seller wants – you may be surprised by what sways them in your favor.

'Does the seller need a leaseback or long closing period? Would they rather sell all their furniture and just leave the house as is?' says Christian, the CEO of Repair Pricer (opens in new tab). Being accommodating can count as much as extra money, but you won't know unless you ask. 

Christian cautions that sometimes, what a seller truly wants is a buyer who will give the property due respect: 'Do they want a buyer who will appreciate the house for what it is and not tear it down to build a McMansion? You’ll be surprised that what really swings offers in buyers’ directions is the small stuff that no one bothers to ask about. 

'An extra $15,000 may not be important to a seller who’s poured 10 years of their life into restoring a property and simply wants it to be preserved and appreciated by the right buyer.'

Front door painted in lavender surrounded by wisteria

(Image credit: Dulux)

The problem is that many buyers feel unsure of how to open this type of discussion – which is why often they end up walking away. 

However, you should acknowledge that multiple offers often generate 'tense situations' and find ways to 'leave the emotion out of it if possible' – even if this means never picking up the phone and doing everything in writing (email is fine, clarifies Christian).

Finally, once you've gathered as much information as possible, put in your offer 'even if you don’t think you’re in with a shot.' This is not just hoping for luck; there's a logical reason behind giving it a go: 'In markets where multiple offers are common, buyers (especially investors) will often place offers on multiple properties and actually walk away from executed contracts when they find a better option, which leaves the property available for another buyer. 

'This is where it’s important to make it clear that you are willing to be a 'backup buyer' should the winning offer fall through, and if your state law allows, make arrangements so that your offer becomes an executed contract if this happens.' 

Light blue front door on house with white siding open to hall and staircase

(Image credit: Benjamin Moore)

Can you put multiple offers on houses?

You can put multiple offers on houses – and it's a common practice amongst buyers. There is no law against making offers on more multiple houses. However, as a seller, this can put you in a difficult position, since you can never be sure if the buyer you have accepted an offer from or are considering is as serious as you are about your property.

Can a seller accept multiple offers on a house? 

No, you can only accept one offer for the home at a time. Dennis explains that you will need to wait for any offer to fall through before accepting another. 'However, you can get in touch with multiple offer makers and give them the opportunity to increase or adjust their offer to be more competitive.'

Plus, it is worth noting that, as a seller, you must decide which type of buyer is best-suited before accepting an offer. Before proceeding with any option, it is always best to ensure that the buyer has been accepted for a mortgage to prevent any deal from falling through when you're ready to sell. 

Content Editor

Anna Cottrell is Consumer Editor across Future Plc Home titles. She has a background in academic research and is the author of London Writing of the 1930s. She writes about interior design, property, and gardening .On H&G, she specializes in writing about property – buying, selling, renting, mortgages – sustainability and eco issues.