Pop quiz: What percentage of your client roster is made up of buyers? For Portland mega agent, recent MIT MBA graduate, and one of the last people you want to face in a multiple-offer scenario Sarita Dua, the answer is 65%. In a recent interview on KW’s Pivot: Shift Ahead Facebook Group with Vija Williams – director of growth for the Ben Kinney Companies (BKCO), and co-host of the popular Empire Building Podcast – Dua shed some light on how she almost always comes out victorious in multiple-offer situations.
Education Comes First
“I love educating buyers as if I’m a teacher or a professor,” Dua confesses, underscoring one of the main benefits of working with an agent – expertise. Good agents know the real estate industry like the back of their hand, but great agents know how to explain that information to their clients in a way they can understand.
While rules and regulations differ from state to state, Dua points out that all offers contain five common elements: the price; the down payment; the earnest money; the close date; and the miscellaneous bucket containing things like the inspection period, personal property, rent-back terms, removal of contingencies, appraisal guarantee, agent and lender reputation, and even a tasteful “love letter.”
It’s that last element where agents have the power and flexibility to make their offer stand out from the rest. “That miscellaneous bucket matters now more than ever,” Dua claims. “Think of all of these items as levers or buttons that you get to push or pull based on what you’re trying to do and what the objective is for that buyer.” But Dua reminds listeners that if you want to get behind the control panel, you have to earn your client’s trust. Only then will you be ready to bring them to the negotiating table.
Going Into Battle
Once an agent has thoroughly researched the market, explained their findings to the client, and earned their client’s trust, it’s time for the fun part: talking to the listing agent. These conversations are where multiple-offer scenarios are won and lost, and after many years of practice and research – and an MBA from MIT – Dua has discovered eight tips for improving your odds.
- Always Negotiate – But know when to ease off if it will cost your buyer the house.
- Be a Good Person – Be responsive, honest, and professional with your clients and listing agents.
- Honor and Respect Deadlines – But don’t be afraid to push the listing agent to see if they are flexible.
- Do Your Homework – Know the comps, know why another house is lower or higher in price and why, etc.
- Be a Teammate, Not a Messenger – Say things like “We want” vs. “My buyer wants.”
- Balance Data and Emotion – Know which one to use and when.
- Strive for the Win-Win – Make sure everyone leaves the deal happy.
- Always Build Rapport – Real estate is about relationships, and you never know when you might work with a client or listing agent again.
Agents who follow these eight tips will have what Dua considers to be the most important quality an agent can embody, especially during a shift: confidence. “You have to, as an agent, have more confidence than ever,” Dua insists. “This is not something to be intimidated by. You should be supercharged and excited by it. That confidence should show when you talk to the other agent, and it should also show when you talk to the client.” With the right amount of confidence, communication, and creativity, agents can take their client relationships to new heights.
Emerging a Hero
One reason Dua enjoys working with buyers is the opportunity to be her client’s hero. As Williams points out, “When you work with sellers, you’re representing what’s most likely their biggest asset, and it is a different relationship. And it is a lot more stressful.” Dua elaborates on how buyers and sellers differ at the close of a deal. “At the signing table, it’s the seller that’s getting the big check, but they always wonder, ‘could we have done better,’ ‘look at that commission line.’ But the buyers, there’s tears of joy when they get that key.”
As the old superhero adage goes, With great power comes great responsibility. If agents want to be praised as heroes, they have to put in the work. Fortunately for Dua, she thrives on that kind of responsibility. “I think if you’re a little bit of a control freak, buyers are where you have a lot of control. It’s kind of like looking for diamonds under rocks: We can keep lifting rocks and looking for them. We can vary price point, we can vary location, we can vary condition. Maybe we’re gonna go look for a townhouse. We’re gonna go look for a fixer. We’re gonna drop the need for a garage. There’s a lot we can do to control the situation.”
And control the situation she does. From the initial home search to the final negotiation, Dua has mastered the art of the multiple-offer scenario. For agents looking to up their win percentage or dip their toes in the buyer’s market, heed Dua’s advice and you may just become the hero your client has been waiting for.