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Receiving two offers on a listing at the same time—even on a listing that’s been on the market for a long time—is common. It’s not unusual for a seller to find themselves in a nice spot where they receive more than one offer (known as multiple offers); but as a buyer, it’s a tough spot to find yourself in.

It’s an odd phenomenon—a home can sit on the market for months without any offers, but the minute an interested buyer comes along, a handful of other buyers appear. There aren’t many incentives for an agent if there are multiple offers; unless they are the selling agent, who then gains a higher chance of selling the house and earning a commission. There isn’t much to earn via commission after the bidding war starts (unless bids rise dramatically).

Two offers on a listing can happen for a few reasons; some agents have pocket buyers, new listings can create a frenzy of showings, and a rise in demand can increase multiple offerings.

Two Offers on New Listings

New listings attract a lot of attention within the first several weeks of coming on the market. Interest tends to wane after that period and showings begin to decline.

Most multiple offers happen on newer listings with fewer than 14 days on the market. If the home has curb appeal, is priced right, is in good condition and located in a desirable neighborhood, many buyers will want it. Some tips for making an offer on new listings are to:

  • Submit an offer quickly.
  • Not give the seller more than 24 hours to respond.
  • Allow your agent to accept delivery of the offer.
  • Not give the seller a reason to make a counteroffer.

In a multiple-offer scenario, the seller’s agent might also ask prospective buyers to each submit a best and final offer.