How to Write a Winning Real Estate Offer in Massachusetts


|10 min read

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The Massachusetts housing market is highly competitive in most areas, and writing a winning real estate offer in Massachusetts can be a challenge. It is currently recognized for having low inventory with robust buyer demand. In a strong seller’s market, making your offer stand out to homeowners becomes crucial.

Many sellers are positioning themselves to receive multiple offers.

A winning offer is about more than just the price. It’s about the overall appeal to the seller’s needs and preferences.

Based on my many years of experience, I will guide you through crafting an irresistible offer. You will learn everything from bidding strategies to personalized touches.

From nearly forty years as a Massachusetts Realtor, there are specific things buyers need to do in order to win a bidding war. By following these timeless tips, you’ll put yourself in a better position to be smiling at a closing table.

It takes strength and perseverance, as you’ll probably write at least a few offers before getting accepted. However, following this advice will put you in the best position to succeed.

Let’s look at all the considerations for making your bid count.

Make the Highest Bid

Most people understand that money talks in real estate. By offering the highest bid, you put yourself in the best position to win a bidding war against other buyers.

Understanding the Market Value

While you would like to be the winning bidder, making a foolish bid isn’t wise. I recommend getting a comprehensive analysis of the property’s market value from your buyer’s agent.

Examine the recent sales of similar homes in the area, known as comparable sales or “comps.” These comps are vital for gauging the correct offer amount. They provide a benchmark against which to measure your bid.

Rely on your real estate agent’s expertise to gather and interpret this data. This will ensure your offer is competitive yet fair. You can also use it to gauge whether you must have the property and are willing to make an offer well above its value.

The Psychology of Pricing

The psychology behind pricing plays a pivotal role in making an attractive offer. A bid marginally higher than the competition can influence the seller’s perception, setting your offer apart.

This psychological edge can differentiate between acceptance and rejection in a tight market.

Strategies for Offering the Right Amount

  1. Market Analysis: Begin with a thorough analysis using comps as your guide to understanding the market value.
  2. Round Numbers vs. Odd Numbers: Consider whether a round or odd number might make your offer stand out more to the seller.
  3. Incremental Increases: Small increases above a round number can make your offer more competitive without significantly raising your bid.

These strategies are designed to make your bid appealing and compelling. They also maximize your chances of success in the Massachusetts housing market.

Use an Escalation Clause to Make a Winning Offer

An escalation clause is a powerful tool in a competitive housing market. I am a big proponent of using them as I have seen firsthand how they can help land your dream home in Massachusetts.

Whether I am representing a seller or buyer, it is usually a good idea to include one when you know there will be multiple offers.

An escalation clause increases your offer by a certain amount above other bids, up to a maximum limit you’re comfortable with. This ensures you remain the highest bidder without significantly overpaying.

Definition and How It Works

An escalation clause is added to your offer to indicate that you’re willing to outbid other offers up to a particular ceiling. For instance, you might offer $400,000 but include an escalation clause to beat any higher offer by $5,000, up to a maximum of $450,000.

Pros and Cons

There are pros and cons buyers should know about escalators.

  • Pros: Keeps you competitive without constant renegotiation. Provides a clear cap on your maximum offer.
  • Cons: You are revealing your maximum budget to the seller upfront. This may lead to automatically paying more than you initially planned.

Tips for Effective Use

  • Set a Reasonable Cap: Ensure your maximum aligns with the home’s value and budget.
  • Confirm Financing: Verify with your lender that you qualify for the higher amount if the clause is activated.
  • Use Sparingly: Reserve this tactic for homes you’re particularly interested in and when you anticipate a bidding war.

Waiving Standard Contingencies

Waiving standard contingencies can make your offer more attractive by reducing the seller’s risk. However, it’s crucial to understand the implications.

Being on both sides of the fence, I can see how powerful waiving standard contingencies can be. For sellers, it takes many of their worries off the table. For buyers, it increases their chances of coming out on top.

From experience, sellers love it when a buyer offers to purchase as-is. However, houses can have problems that nobody knew existed.

Overview of Common Contingencies

  • Inspection Contingency: You can renegotiate or withdraw if significant issues are found during the home inspection.
  • Financing Contingency: Ensures you can back out if you fail to secure financing.
  • Appraisal Contingency: Protects you if the home’s appraisal is below the offer price.

Risks and Rewards

  • Risks: Waiving contingencies can expose you to financial risk if unexpected issues arise with the property or financing.
  • Rewards: A contingency-free offer is often more appealing to sellers, potentially making your bid stand out.

When to Consider Waiving

  • Strong Financial Position: Can you absorb potential issues without a financing contingency?
  • In-Depth Pre-Inspection: Conducting a pre-offer inspection can mitigate the risks of waiving the inspection contingency. I recommend asking the listing agent if the seller will allow this.
  • Market Conditions: In highly competitive markets, waiving contingencies may be necessary to compete.

Alex Capozzolo of SD House Guys, a professional house buyer in California, offers helpful advice.

“Waiving contingencies helps win a bid when there’s much competition. However, this strategy shouldn’t be used lightly. We’ve made offers without a home inspection contingency, thinking a home was in good shape. After closing, we discovered the HVAC system was on the fritz and had to replace it. Even though we got the property versus other buyers, the deal could have been better. If we didn’t waive the inspection contingency, the home inspection would likely have caught this issue and saved us money.”

Giving the Seller Their Desired Closing Date

Flexibility around the closing date can be just as persuasive as the offer amount. Offer to close usually takes 45 to 60 days. However, that isn’t always what a seller wants.

Aligning with the seller’s timeline can significantly enhance your bid’s attractiveness. Some sellers must have a specific date, for example, if they are buying another home and want to avoid making a double move.

Having a buyer agree to the desired date can be a considerable plus.

Importance of Flexibility

Showing willingness to accommodate the seller’s preferred closing date demonstrates your commitment and flexibility, making your offer more favorable.

How to Negotiate the Closing Date

  • Open Dialogue: Communicate openly with the seller to understand their preferences and constraints. I always recommend my clients find out when the seller wants to close before writing the contract. I will ask the listing agent precisely the date the seller desires.
  • Offer Convenience: You can also propose a range of closing dates, allowing the seller to choose what works best for them.

Impact on Offer Attractiveness

An offer that meets the seller’s logistical needs can often tip the balance in your favor, especially if the seller is under time constraints or coordinating a purchase of their own.

These strategies emphasize the importance of understanding market dynamics and the seller’s unique situation. Using competitive bidding tactics, thoughtful concessions, and personalized terms increases your chances of a winning real estate offer in Massachusetts’ competitive market.

Writing a Personalized Letter to the Seller

In a market where sellers may receive multiple offers, adding a personalized letter to your proposal can help establish an emotional connection and set your offer apart.

It could work with an emotional thinker but is unlikely to impact someone with a straightforward business approach.

The Power of Personal Connection

A personalized letter to the seller can share your story, convey your appreciation for their home, and explain why it fits you perfectly. This personal touch can resonate with the seller, making your offer memorable and appealing emotionally.

Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do express genuine appreciation for the home.
  • Do share a bit about yourself and why the home is unique.
  • Don’t overstep by making overly personal remarks or requests.
  • Don’t criticize aspects of the home to negotiate a lower price.
  • Do not include a photo of yourself or your family. There is significant controversy within the real estate industry about sharing information that could be used to accuse the seller of discrimination.

Traits of Successful Letters

Consider mentioning specific features of the home you admire or how you envision making memories there. Successful letters often include sentiments about family, plans, and the emotional significance of owning a home.


Crafting a winning offer in Massachusetts requires a multifaceted approach. Each element is critical in making your offer stand out, from making the highest bid and utilizing an escalation clause to waiving standard contingencies and accommodating the seller’s desired closing date.

Adding a personalized letter can enhance your bid by establishing an emotional connection with the seller.

You position yourself as a serious and appealing buyer by employing these strategies thoughtfully and selectively.

Remember, the goal is to create an offer that meets the seller’s financial expectations and appeals to their preferences and emotional ties to the home. Doing so significantly increases your chances of landing your desired home in a competitive market.

Bill Gassett RE/MAX Executive Realty

Bill Gassett is a trusted resource in the real estate industry, having three decades of experience. He is an authority that buyers, sellers, and fellow real estate agents seek guidance and expertise.

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