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When entering a bidding war, you need to put your best foot forward. With multiple offers to consider, the seller needs to see that you’re serious and ready to act fast. Below are a few tips to help you knock out the competition.

Having all of your paperwork and finances in order is a key component of being prepared for buying a new home.

Having all of your paperwork and finances in order is key when preparing to bid on a home.

Be prepared. While it might seem smart to you to lay your offer on the table right away, don’t do so unless you’re fully prepared, pre-approved for a loan, and have all of your paperwork and finances in order. “Otherwise, the seller won’t take you seriously and will pass your offer over for someone who has completed their homework,” says Todd Hetherington, CEO of Century 21 New Millennium .

Be quick. “This may seem counterintuitive to being prepared, but it’s important to act fast when you see a home you like, or it will go to another bidder,” says Hetherington. This is why it’s important to get your finances in order before you even begin searching. That way, you can put an offer in right away when you find a good fit.

Don’t overbid. Offering more than the home is listed for may seem like a way to get a leg up on the competition, but overbidding and exceeding the home’s appraised value can decrease your chaces of a loan–and the seller (or their agent) knows that. “If you overbid, be sure you can afford the excess cost flat out,” suggests Hetherington.

Don’t underbid. “In a bidding war, your offer needs to be just right,” says Hetherington. Just like the seller won’t take you seriously if you overbid too much, they surely won’t consider your lowball offer if they have offers from many other buyers. To find your “Goldilocks” price point, figure out the maximum you can afford, and then offer that.

Get under their emotional skin. Last year, everyone was back to writing “love letters” to the sellers of a home they were crazy about. Now, you can one-up everyone and really stand out from other offers by making a video of you and your family talking about why you love this home, and why you can see yourself in it. “Does that third bedroom look perfect for your new baby? Then get her on the camera. That basement office perfect for running your business? Talk about that,” Hetherington notes.

For more information on buying a home, please contact Century 21 New Millennium at move@c21nm.com, 800-382-1101, or Century 21 New Millennium.

CENTURY 21 New Millennium. Smarter. Bolder. Faster. CENTURY 21 New Millennium, www.c21nm.com, is a full service real estate brokerage company specializing in residential and luxury properties. In addition to its newest Washington D.C. location, the Virginia locations are in Alexandria, Centreville, Culpeper, Fredericksburg, Gainesville, McLean, Stafford, and Woodbridge. The Maryland offices are located in Annapolis, Columbia, Dunkirk, La Plata, Lexington Park, Lusby and Waldorf. Its core services include: mortgage financing, investing, settlement services, property management, property insurance, global relocation assistance, and commercial real estate.

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