Bidding Wars. Secret to Winning A Home in the DC Area

Bidding Wars on Real Estate? Yep!

This post may self destruct, for it tells too much! Yep, I might remove this post after my 1,000 subscribers get it in their inbox (are you signed up, do so in the upper right). Hopefully the competition doesn’t get to it. (I have already had one request to take it down)

So you have probably read newspaper articles about bidding wars on homes for sale in the Maryland, DC and Northern Virginia area. Especially houses in Arlington Virginia.

The inventory is tight and people are off to the races. Sometimes 5 offers, sometimes more.

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So how does one “win?”

First, I do warn my clients that 5 other couples also spent 2 long hours trying to figure out a way to “win.” The good news is most buyer agents focus on price. Simply saying to their client “well, how badly to you want it” or “how high do you want to go,” or worst yet “If you really want this, we gotta go high.”

(for those that think the motivation for a higher price is the higher commission, this a common and incorrect assumption. Many agents care about % chance of deal completion.)

Some even using “Escalation Clauses” in their bidding war contracts. Personally I don’t like these, but it depends on the situation.

So how does one win? Well I’ll tell you just ONE of the dozen different ways. Heck, I can’t spill all the beans, but hopefully this bean will keep you satiated (yes i had to look up how to spell that!).

Sidenote: Also don’t be one of those that say “Oh, well, I’m smarter than that, I just won’t get into a bidding war.” Sometimes the best homes get bid up. Sometimes they are underpriced (sometimes even properly priced homes get bid up). I have always said, I would rather you pay $5k over list on a home than get $40,000 off on a home that is $60,000 overpriced. Heck, who cares what the starting price is? And that goes both ways, up and down. Don’t worry about your ego, check it at the door to your new home… (Sorry got carried away by the cheese fairy). This is about your next 10 years.

TERMS!! Terms matter. And one term in particular is… wait for it… waiving a portion of the appraisal. Make sure you see the video to fully understand why. It has in part to do with appraisals still being crap.

The other tip is to be READY!! Don’t just wait for something to pop up and expect a good agent to help some new unknown person write a contract in under 24 hours. Those are popcorn agents! Instead contact your agent early (hopefully us) and get email alerts, approval letters etc. Then you will be ready to pounce!

So give us a buzz (contact us button in the upper right). And if you want another tip… just email me, even if you aren’t using us or from around here. It is a one liner that 90% of agents don’t know. Seriously, you’ll be like “Wow, simple, why didn’t I think of that.” Just like Cat Potty Training.

Name that war movie: “Who is this person who speaks to me as though I needed his advice.”

Frank B. LLosa Esq.
Broker MD, VA, DC

(authorized to practice law in NJ only)

p.s. Photo is my son. Wife said a photo of him will make people more likely to contact me.

please report typos. beans image, cat image,

  • 14
  • October
  • 2012

56 Responses to “Bidding Wars. Secret to Winning A Home in the DC Area”

  1. Mike says:


    I’d be interested in hearing about the dozen ways to best position a client’s offer in a multiple offer scenario.



  2. says:

    Hey Mike,
    I emailed you the one freebie, tell me what you think. As for the dozen ways, we gotta leave something just for our clients.

  3. Pierre says:

    Handsome boy. Nice article. In full disclosure I’m a RE broker in Tx and I’ve been enjoying your posts for sometime. Mind sharing that extra secret? Curious also how you waive a portion of the appraisal.

    Thanks man.

  4. says:

    Hey Pierre,
    I just emails you the freebie. Hope you will post here your thoughts. As for the appraisal portion part, that I can also email you since you are not the competition, but that normally is for the eyes of our clients only.
    Actually listing agents (when we win bidding wars) will see it and be like “Damn, that is good, I gotta start using that.” Too bad you can’t patent or trademark that.

  5. Anne Bergman says:

    Great post! So true. It is all about selling your client as an unbeatable package to the seller and to their agent. In SoCal (Orange County), the competition is unbelievable…double-digit offers. As a listing agent, I am surprised at how many other agents still just email their offers in with no bells & whistles, just another in the crowd. When we represent our buyers, we make sure we color outside the box as much as necessary to get noticed, then present an entire package highlighting their ability to get it over the line solidly and securely, and, of course, how much they LOVE the home and are willing to make it happen (huge run-on sentence!). Relationship building with other local agents is very helpful, as well. Agents want to work with other agents that get things done.

    Again, great post. Love reading your blog!

  6. says:

    Anne, you should move to Virginia! Sounds perfect.

    Just came up with another tip: Ask the listing agent who their favorite lender is… how is that for “we will get this done.”

  7. Caroline Lewis says:

    Thanks again for great advice. Would love the bidding war freebie!

  8. Tim says:

    Could I have the freebie tip for winning a bidding war?

  9. Frank says:

    Sure, just sent it to you.

  10. Tom says:

    I asked Frank for the tip, and like he said in the blog post, it is totally simple, but smart. It is definitely something I won’t forget to do.

  11. Frank, I’d love to have the appraisal waiver tip, and to return the favor, I would mail you a copy of my book, Homebuyers Beware. I think you’d like the chapter titled, “Why You Need Agent Representation.”

  12. […] the highest they have gone before? All data that will help you with that bidding war (see post on winning bidding wars). While useful for users to see directly, experienced Frankly agents know how to extract meaning […]

  13. Maulik says:

    You’ve got me curious, what’s the freebie tip?

  14. Jim Reynolds says:

    Could I have the freebie tip for winning a bidding war?

  15. says:

    Yep, emailed to you

  16. Tracy says:

    Hey Frank –

    Would love to see what this amazing bidding tip is and also your info on appraisals. We had purchased land about 2 1/2 years ago, thought we were ready to build, got our approval loan and they land w/the proposed house didn’t appraise where we needed it to – so now we’re house hunting again. I love this website!!!

    Thanks – Tracy

  17. Tracy Hodges says:

    Hey Frank – thanks for the speedy response and the tip was awesome, something I do when I’m on E-bay, never thought to do it when trying to get me a house!

    Thanks again!

  18. Sandy says:

    Hi Frank!
    Love your site. Can I also get a tip of winning bidding wars? Thanks!

  19. Melanie says:

    I’m interested in this freebie tip as well, if it’s not too late. We want to purchase this spring and the good properties go fast.

  20. kristin says:

    Please send the freebie tip my way too? Thanks!

  21. John Shilo says:

    I’ve been trying to buy a home for several months, and am thoroughly disgusted with the process. I can testify that countless efforts and arrangements are made before making a good faith offer, only to find out that the purchase price is A LIE! It is a rotten system, based on greed – it wastes unfathomable amounts of other people’s time and resources. I’ve wasted the time of loan officers, loved ones, my real estate agent, not to mention a lot of gas money, ad infinitum. We should demand of our law makers an end to this scourge. Bidding wars should be against the law! When you offer a certain product for sale, and a buyer in return offers you what you are demanding, you should come through and instantly fulfill your side of the bargain. To do otherwise is unscrupulous! Reform of our present system is long over due!

  22. […] Advice. I previously spoke about Bidding Wars for Homes for Sale in Maryland, DC and VA in my post Bidding Wars. Secret to Winning A Home in the DC Area (of which about 20 people emailed me directly for my #1 secret […]

  23. Greg says:

    What is the magic bidding tip? My wife and I have lost out on 3 places now in DC – starting to feel like we should lower our target price range so we can plan to bid well above ask…


    PS – love the site, have been using it to monitor the market for over 1.5yrs

  24. Christi Mitchell says:

    Hey Frank,
    I would like to know the free tip

  25. Whitney says:

    I’d love the tip too!

  26. says:

    Just email me directly!

  27. says:

    You can try that strategy of looking at lower priced homes, but my bet is your taste buds won’t let you!

  28. says:

    Where are you buying?

  29. […] buyer DC area bidding war tips here including one crucial tip only supplied if you email me directly, or via a […]

  30. Rob says:

    Hey Frank,
    Can you e-mail me the tip as well?


  31. James says:

    Just won a bidding war with one of your agents, can you send me the tip as well, love your blog.


  32. says:

    Just emailed you, and I checked, your offer had that crucial tip in it!

  33. Aly says:

    Hi, I’d love to learn the tip you referenced. Thank you!

  34. Diane says:

    I would love to see the tip as well. Thank you!

  35. Joyce says:

    I would appreciate that tip as well. Also do you work with buyers in the price range 170K and under looking in PG County, MD?

  36. Heather says:

    Hiya Frank,
    Can you e-mail me the tip as well?


  37. B2 says:

    Hi Frank,

    Can you please send me the tip?


  38. Abigail says:

    Hi Frank,
    I would be much indebted to learn the tip. Please email it to me :)

    Many thanks!

  39. Sarma says:

    Hi Frank,

    can you please email me the tip we lost 2 homes already in DC area.


  40. Prav says:

    Mind sharing one secret with me ?

  41. Sridhar says:

    Hi Frank – Could you share that tip with me.


  42. Kimmie says:

    Hi Frank,

    Great info. Can you send me the freebie tip for winning a bidding war?

    Thanks. Kim

  43. Xavier says:

    Lost three homes in N Arlington. The last 2 contracts had no inspection, no appraisal. Guaranteed Financing, flexible closing date and with escalation clauses of 30k+ over listing price. We longer have a buyers agent and are waiting for winter. Looking to get a real estate lawyer and have the allow the listing agent to make both commissions.

  44. JB says:

    Love the articles. Subscribing now.

    You have my curiosity now — what’s the tip?

  45. Joe says:

    Hey Frank,

    This post seems to still be living so I thought I would reply and of cousre ask for the freebie. Also, after a quick perusal I didn’t see anyone answer your quote question. The quote was from Braveheart and was in the scene where the son’s friend was attempting to give unsolicited advice to his father. I don’t recall the exact timnig, but shortly there after he went flying out a window…

    Take care!

  46. Jenifer says:

    Hi Frank –

    I know your blog on this was written long ago, but I would love your freebie tip on winning the bidding war. Thanks!

  47. says:

    No problem. I still get that question once a week.

  48. christina says:

    I’d also love the free tip on bidding wars — We’ve currently lost 2 homes in DC and are feeling incredibly discouraged. Thanks for the site!

  49. MaryA says:

    Just subscribed. Like what I have read so far. How do I get your secrets on winning a bidding war, please?

    Thank you,

  50. John says:

    Hi Frank may I know what this tips is as well? Thank you.

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