5 Ways to Win a Bidding War


By Angela Cabotaje

You’ve scoured the listings, toured the homes, and researched the neighborhood. Now you’ve finally found the one. But before you can move in your Eames lounge and Noguchi coffee table, you have to survive the bidding war.

It’s a seller’s market in Seattle right now, with a scarcity of new listings and the most promising properties being snatched up in a matter of days. And if you’re in the market for a modern home, where inventory varies from area to area, the competition may be even stiffer. So how can you stand out from the crowd? Here’s how to come out on top in a bidding war:

1) Figure out your financing

Cash offers are very tempting for sellers, who don’t want to worry about a sale falling through at the last minute due to financing. But if a cash offer isn’t an option for you, getting pre-approved, showing you have solid credit and steady employment, and putting down a fair amount of earnest money can make your offer stand out.

2) Waive contingencies

Today’s buyers are waiving contingencies left and right, from inspections to financing to appraisals. Although waiving everything isn’t right for every buyer, you can take certain steps—like scheduling an inspection before you put in an offer—to waive and keep your peace of mind.

3) Write a letter

It isn’t all about the money. Sellers are attached to their homes, and they want to know that the person who buys their property will cherish living there, too. Writing a letter about yourself and why you love the home can establish a personal connection with the seller. This is especially important when it comes to modern homes, where the architecture and contemporary lifestyle are a huge part of the property’s personality.

4) Move quickly

Remember when we said properties are being snatched up in a matter of days? That’s no joke. Heidi’s remodeled turn-of-the-century in Phinney Ridge is pending after 10 days. Kirsten’s Paul Hayden Kirk in Kirkland sold in 6. Be prepared to pounce when you find a home you love. Waiting a day or two can be the difference between having your offer accepted and having it stuck in a bidding war.

5) Enlist an expert

Great real estate agents are savvy, knowledgeable, and trustworthy. They know how to construct the best offers, they know how to negotiate, and they know how to guide you through everything from the home search to the closing. When looking for a modern home, it’s even more important to find an agent who is on the same page as you and who knows how to conduct a targeted search.

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