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A High Offer Isn't Everything: How Buyers Can Sweeten the Deal in Other Ways

August 24 2021

highnote high offersPalm Beach County, Florida remains one of the strongest real estate markets in the country due to great weather, lack of income tax, low inventory, and reasonable home prices. Jeff Lichtenstein of Echo Fine Properties says that buyers need to think beyond price when they find themselves in a bidding war.

Lichtenstein says that the highest offer doesn't always win, and offers some tips on being prepared in competitive situations:

  1. Educate buyers on the market, and stay in control of the situation. Agents must have a plan and a schedule.

  2. Find out what the seller wants. Sellers hold most of the cards right now, so it's critical to understand what their wants and needs are, and act accordingly.

  3. Speed is a major factor. Clients can't sleep on it overnight and think about whether or not they want to buy it.

  4. Include short periods of acceptance. If your clients see a house at 10 am, write up the offer and give the sellers until 5 pm to respond. Try to get the earliest appointment possible to view a home.

  5. Use an escalation clause. Include in the contract that if someone matches the buyer's offer in 24 hours, your buyer will match it and go up by $1,000.

  6. Escalation clauses can be used for other things besides money. Agree to be flexible if the seller wants to shift the closing date or lease the property back.

  7. Make a big deposit. In the past, 10% was always a good deposit, but offers with larger deposits (25%+) are being taken more seriously.

  8. Use a local lender. Local banks can usually close more quickly than a big national bank.

Having good communication and always acting/looking professional is also key, and Lichtenstein uses HighNote (a smart presentation platform) as a cornerstone of his communications efforts. He and his brokerage use the tool in multiple ways—introducing their agents and brokerage, showcasing their home selling process, agent onboarding and recruiting, etc. Several of his agents use it to send out a schedule of activities to their clients that includes links to developments and homes they'll be viewing on a particular day.

"We can communicate better with HighNote than if we just write and send a generic email without the pretty pictures. People absorb the information faster that way, by seeing the photos and the writing that's next to it—whether you're putting in a .pdf, video, link, a picture, or even a Word document," Lichtenstein explains.

"Plus, the analytics lets us know if they've opened it up—if they're looking at it for a long time, we know they're an interested party. Or if they haven't opened it, then we can call and ask if they've seen what we've sent. We love that feature," he says.

You can follow Jeff and the entire ECHO Fine Properties team on Facebook and Instagram, and learn more about HighNote at