5 Unconventional Tactics to Get Your Real Estate Offers Accepted Nearly Every Time

by | BiggerPockets.com

You finally found it.

It’s the perfect house for you to buy. It’s a perfect flip, buy-and-hold or even medium-term flip.

Your long search through MLS, hundreds of direct mailings, phone calls to absentee owners and even driving for dollars – all that work has finally paid off.

It’s awesome. The asking price is even below your MAO (Maximum Allowable Offer.) You can’t believe your good fortune.

Except there’s one problem…

You’re not the only one who’s interested in this magnificent piece of real estate.

As it turns out, there’s no less than a dozen other investors all vying for the same property. You enter your first offer and it’s quickly rejected. You feel like you are on the brink of a bidding war.

So what can you do?

Unconventional Offer Strategies

When you’re the only one bidding on a piece of property, it’s an ideal situation. If you’ve done a lot of direct-mail marketing and have contacted absentee owners who are willing to sell, chances are you’re the only one who’s bidding on the property.

In this case, you can influence the seller to meet your own needs. But when there’s multiple bidders on the same house, you don’t have that luxury.

This is when you need to think and offer unconventionally…here’s a few tips on how to do just that.

1. All Cash Offers

When you’re selling a property after the rehab is complete, a cash offer is often more appealing than a finance offer – no need to worry about financing contingencies, banks and all that. Cash offers are king!

The same hold true here as well. If the seller wants to accept an offer that has a higher likelihood of not falling through, all cash offers are the best.

If you are flipping houses with no money, then your cash offer comes from your private lender or hard money guy. You are financing the purchase but not through traditional means.

To learn how to flip houses with no money, click here.

2. Offer Above The Asking Price

Sounds crazy right? Not really. But it does to most traditional buyers because most other real estate investors never think of this – let alone any regular home buyers.

Typically, the reason that you have a lot of competition when buying the house in the first place is because the listing price is so low. If it weren’t so low, there wouldn’t be as many bidders.

This might seem counter-intuitive because the lower your by price, the greater your profits, right?

You know there are multiple bidders in the list price at or below your MAO, play coy and offer a lower price, is very little chance you’ll get the property. Although every circumstance is different, eliminate the competition so to speak by offering above the asking price – provided you have done all your house flipping math.

This is all dependent on good numbers to begin with and excellent analysis. However, we’ve acquired many properties by using this tactic – but before we do we analyze and reanalyze the deal to make sure our numbers are 100% correct.

To learn more about house flipping math, click here.

3. Offer a Super-Fast Closing

For every day a house stays on the market, the seller is losing money. Usually the reason that the property is listed for such a low price is because the seller wants to unload it quickly. You can capitalize on this need by offering a super-fast closing.

This doesn’t take a lot of skill to do but you do need to get your inspections, financing and documentation in place in a short period of time. If you know you can do this, you can say this to the seller with conviction.

Simply start by telling the seller that you are willing to close within two weeks or less. Chances that the seller will need more time anyway, but offered to do this tells them that you mean business.

4. Cater To Your Seller’s Needs

All sellers are different. Each has his or her own agenda, motivation, and desires. Some people are selling their own property meaning that they are less experienced and more easily influenced. Maybe the seller has just suffered from a divorce and is more eager to get rid of the property than anything. In this case, speed might be better than a high offer.

You need to show a level of professionalism and transparency to pique their interest.

Get to know your seller by asking your real estate agent or other people what their personal situation is. The more you know, the better you can make your offer. Don’t beat the cards, beat the player.

5. Waive The Inspection

In a typical offer, there is a clause that states that the sale will be finalized if and only if the house passes inspection. If for any reason, the house isn’t in ideal condition, the buyer can opt out of the purchase. If this were to happen, the seller would have to start all over and re-market the house.

Waving the home inspection is a very effective tool that we oftentimes use to entice sellers to accept our offers. Usually when you place an offer on a property, you plunk down $500 or $1,000 depending on the kind of property it is.

If you waive the right to an inspection, then all you have to lose is your offer deposit. So if you make your offer without an inspection clause, you’re still covered at this point.

But let’s say your offer is accepted and you found you need to replace the septic system – a considerable expense – in our market this typically runs $20,000 or more in some cases. Within accepted offer, and maybe some combination of some of the tips above, you can either renegotiate the price, keep the offer as is (provided it doesn’t conflict with your house flipping math) or you can drop out of the deal.

For newer investors, you should most likely get an inspection – as this helps reduce your downside and does serve to protect you should things go south – so bear in mind that this is more of an advanced strategy.

After your offer is accepted, get your contractor in the house as soon as possible and have him rip apart the home and tell you in precise detail what needs to be done in the renovation. If he finds some incredibly expensive costs in the renovation that will blow your numbers and your profit, like we said; renegotiate or drop out entirely.

If you’ve made it this far, please leave a comment below! What other techniques have you used to get your offers accepted? Leave a comment below and let me know!

About Author

Mike LaCava

Michael LaCava is a full time real estate investor, house flipping coach and the President of Hold Em Realty located in Wareham, MA. He runs the website House Flipping School to teach new real estate investors how to flip houses and is the author of "How to Flip a House in 5 Simple Steps".


  1. Good stuff, Michael, thanks! I’m still fairly new but this is exactly what we’ve been taught and what we use in our business as well. I’ve heard that a higher deposit will often help the buyer win out as well, as it lets the seller know you’re serious (lately, I’ve even been seeing some requirements for higher deposits on the MLS here in CT). Do you see that play out as such in “real life?”

    I also have a question re: hard money. I’ve always been a little unclear on whether it counts as a cash offer – in this blog you indicate that it is – and I thought I read elsewhere on BP that a bank might yank its acceptance of a cash offer when it learns you’re using hard money and calling it cash. Am I remembering correctly, and can you expound upon this aspect a little?


    • Good point Karin. Yes you are correct and I have put deposits as high as $10,000 but you best make sure you know your numbers because if you have to get out of the deal you don’t want to loose that deposit.
      I have heard of that in some cases and I did experience only once but it was not with the bank it was with the listing agent that saw the HM lender on the HUD and made an issue it was suppose to be a cash sale. Both closings attorney were fine with it but she had to make a point I guess, I called her and explained to her and she ended up being ok.

      I think the problem with some of the banks are they are getting those national proof of funds letters that a lot of new investors use that aren’t really a statement of funds.

      I have had more requests for bank statement showing the cash as of late and we simply supply them when asked.

      Hope that helps. How are you doing in CT.

      • CT’s great! Things are definitely getting harder to find on the MLS and w/HUD and the like, but deals are still out there. It’s time for us to revamp our marketing and find those off-market deals instead (a novel idea, eh?). It may take some more work to find properties, but it appears to me that the end buyers are back and are paying more. Our next property should go on the market w/in a couple of weeks, and I’m really excited to see the response.

        So just to clarify, when you make an offer, you mark it as “cash” on the Purchase and Sale Agreement whether it’s traditional cash or hard money? Seems to me the seller shouldn’t care as long as you follow through, but I want to make sure I understand correctly. I always feel kinda like HM falls somewhere in between … like, yes, it’s financed and there’s a mortgage, but not in a way that’s gonna hold up the closing. So let’s just call it cash. haha Does that make sense?

        • It does and it hasn’t been a problem for me. They have been requiring actual statements showing funds by your lender in some cases so just be prepared for you cash lender to be able to provide that. Some of those national POF letters are not cutting it.

  2. Oh, yes – yes – yes – yes – and yes!

    So well laid out! This is exactly what we do and, yes, we have recently paid more than asking price (first time in 10 years that’s been necessary, but it’s a seller’s market!).

    Such a fabulous post. Kudos, once again, Michael.

  3. Michael Dorovich on

    Hi Mike, great article.

    Do you confirm your true ARV value and rehab costs before submitting the offer when waiving the inspection? How long does it take to do that before submitting the offer?


    • Yes absolutely Michael otherwise you have no basis for making an offer other than just trying to get it at a low price. This is a huge mistake if you don’t’ determine those #’s first.
      In the beginning this was tough as I had to line up contractors to quote and different too many established Real estate agents on my team to get the ARV. However I took action and these things improved where now I can make offers the same day I look at a property.

  4. Michael,

    I am surprised you did not mention another powerful method of luring the seller to deal with you and not the other bidder – multiple offers. You could have a few or even three offers on the table for them. It could be an all-cash offer below the asking price on one, above the asking price offer with owner financing the portion above the asking price on the other, and a FPO with some combination of both cash and financing terms on the third. You could do your own structure of course, with whatever your goals are for that specific deal. Who brings three offers to the table these days? You are guaranteed to have seller’s attention. Just make sure the seller does not use three offers as a menu and does not chose an item from each 🙂


    • Hey David – Great idea and have not tried this one. We try to find out what motivates the seller and craft our offer around that. This of course depends on who the seller is being a bank or distressed homeowner. IF we can’t determine that then I like your idea of submitting different offer options. Thanks for the idea as I will share this with my acquisition team.

  5. I’m going into my 4th week of advertising to sellers. Gotten only about 10 leads, but 3 of them seemed like they honestly were interested in the offer I gave to them. However as a few days went by they became less and less interested.

    Does this happen a lot?
    Are these the people I must follow up over and over with?


    • Hi Adam – Always put yourself in the seller’s shoes and figure out what they want most.
      It is natural for them to want to get the most money and that is true for all of us. You must find out what motivates them and what their why is? Do they need to move now? Do they have plenty of time and looking to get top dollar? Are they stressing about emptying all their belongings. Make your offer around their needs and HELP them solve their problems.
      We recently got a house over our competitors because we told the owner don’t worry about the stuff you can’t get out of the house we will dispose of whatever you leave behind. Simple but we solved his biggest problem.
      Continue to follow up as the leeds are not dead until they sell. Sometimes the sleepers are the best ones. Everyone else has moved on buy you continued to follow up to help.

      Good Luck and love to hear your progress

  6. Good advice in the article and comments.

    I do most of the things suggested, and have used the high EMD idea in some above comments as well.
    I do have to admit I still throw up in my mouth a little bit anytime I put in an offer that is above the list. 🙂
    Not that it happens often since I am conservative in my numbers so I rarely have that situation where I have the numbers tease out so list is actually less than MAO. When you do see those it is pretty exciting though.

  7. Another great article, Michael. I am always weary of making an offer without any contingencies. If you find some black mold, foundation cracks, or the chimney needs to be replaced, then losing a 3% deposit could be extremely devastating but less of a loss than what it would be if you would have bought the house. Regardless, in the current market with tons of investors, it has become a necessary evil. Further, it will allow you to expand your business if you are yourself good at these inspections.

    • I get is Josh. On bank owned properties with multiple investors bidding you don’t have much of a choice if you want the property. This is where you must do the best job you can inspecting everything you can on the house so you don’t miss anything major.
      NO one like to lose their deposits including myself.

  8. I am going back and reading many of your articles from before I joined BP because they are all full of good information.

    I have found that combining several of these tactics can make an offer irresistible. If you can do the inspection equivalent yourself and waive inspection and financing contingencies, offer a quick closing with a big deposit it lets the seller see that you are serious and not going to back out. We had an offer that was $10k under others (that was what our numbers said worked for us) accepted . The others had one or both contingencies. Contingencies are a big issue right now from what I am seeing, I think too many people must have been abusing them.

  9. I wish your advice about raising your offer wasn’t so simplistic: “most other real estate investors never think of this – let alone any regular home buyers.”

    And so if I’m so bold to do what most other don’t do, offer more than asking price, I’ll have a better chance of getting my offer accepted? First of all, offering more than asking price isn’t a new or unusual concept. Plenty of buyers do it, to the detriment of other buyers. And offering more than asking price only works if the listing price is already too low, which probably doesn’t happen too often. If it is, it’s intentionally set too low to encourage a bidding war, but that only helps the seller, and hurts the buyer trying to buy for at least a fair price. The better solution is to get to the seller before the property is even listed, so the buyer has a chance to negotiate something directly without competing with other buyers.

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