Real NEastate: Secret offers

Q: I made a good offer, only 5 percent lower than asking, on a house in Lawndale. My agent told me the sellers got another offer and their agent asked if we wanted to make our offer better before they make their decision. I asked him how we know for sure there is a better offer and he said, “We don’t.” They want me to make a higher offer without actually seeing the other offer. How can I find out if there is really another offer?

A. One way to find out if there is a better offer is not do anything. Then if you lose the house to another buyer you will know there was a better offer. Obviously this choice is not a good one if you really want the house. If the sellers chose not to disclose the terms of the other offer you can’t force them. Of course they want to play one offer off of the other, especially if neither are full-price offers.

The thing, is you just have to go with the facts. The fact is you’ve been told there is another offer. It could be better or it could be worse. Maybe you’re thinking there is no offer at all and someone is lying. You won’t know anything for sure unless the sellers come back to you and tell you that you did not get the house because the other offer was better. By then it will be too late.

It’s all on you to decide whether or not this house is worth more than your original offer or if you’re willing to risk it. In fact, they could come back and tell you they didn’t like either offer and you’re back to square one. You could up your offer and the competing offer could still be better. The decision you’re faced with is not uncommon. If it doesn’t work out for you there are still 35 other homes for sale in Lawndale right now.

Good Luck!

Stacey McCarthy is a real estate agent with the McCarthy Group of Keller Williams. Her Real NEastate column appears every Wednesday on NEastPhilly.com. See others here. Read other NEast Philly columns here.

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