Should I Put Multiple Offers When Buying a Home?

There’s no doubt about it, buying a home is a stressful business. Just the thought of making such a life impacting decision, getting approved for a home loan and laying out all that cash is enough to make anybody feel overwhelmed. Then add to that the element of time pressure so often present in Madison Wisconsin home sales, especially if you are both selling your present home and buying a new one and you’ve got a recipe for extreme tension. Under these conditions, waiting to see if your offer on a desirable home has been accepted can be almost unbearable. You may try to beat the game by making multiple offers on various houses, in case some of your offers are delayed or rejected outright.


Unless the offers are written up extremely carefully, you may be taking an enormous risk – the risk of having several of your offers accepted. If you think paying for one home is complicated, imagine if you were to find yourself in the awkward position of being obligated to pay for two or more! At the very least you are likely to lose your deposit. You may cause legal difficulties for the seller as well, particularly in the case of a short sale. The seller may be counting on your offer to save his home from becoming one of the statistics on Madison foreclosures. Your backing out when one of your other offers is accepted can result in severe financial hardship for the current property owner in this type of case.

Protecting your Interest

In today’s volatile market, it can be a good idea to “qualify” – in writing – any offer you make. For example, you can “sunset” your offer – set an expiry date when it quietly drifts off into the sunset and is withdrawn. Or include a refusal option if the seller responds to your offer after a certain period of time. Either of these strategies will ensure that you are not tied to your offer, but can move on and offer on another property after a reasonable amount of time has gone by.

If You Go Ahead with Multiple Offers

In spite of the potential problems, you may decide to go ahead and make multiple offers. One reason for doing so could be that you are an investor playing the market and, yes, you are fully prepared to follow through with purchasing multiple homes. If you are not an experienced professional investor, though, it is strongly recommended to work with a real estate broker who is highly experienced in Madison home sales, and has dealt successfully with multiple offer situations in the past. Another frequently heard recommendation is that you practice full disclosure, so that all the potential sellers in the picture will be aware of what you are doing.