It’s easy to get caught up in a bidding war, especially when you find your dream home. While sellers can only hope that they’ll list and a bidding war ensues, home buyers should tread carefully when this situation arises.

Remember that just because one hopeful homebuyer outbids your offer, doesn’t necessarily mean you should volley back. In the worst-case scenario, you might end up with a home you haven’t researched, in a neighbourhood you don’t love, at a price you can’t afford.

A real estate agent that you trust, who knows the local market, can help you navigate through a bidding war and rein in any over-enthusiasm. In the meantime, here are some strategies to help you make a smart bid and if all goes well, a smart buy.

Know your limit.

As a homebuyer, a mortgage pre-approval is step #1, regardless of market conditions. This step informs you of how much you can spend on a home. It’s your hard limit, should a bidding war ensue. A mortgage pre-approval also guarantees your interest rate for 90 days or more, bringing peace of mind around concerns of short-term rate increases.

Get the comparables.

How much is the home really worth? Your real estate agent will pull recent sales stats for you, offering valuable insight on the price of comparable homes in the same neighbourhood. You’ll then be better equipped to determine how comfortable you are taking on competing bids.

Know what you’re buying.

We all know that premium neighbourhoods come at higher prices. It could be proximity to the downtown core, access to lakefront, parks and recreation, good schools, shopping, or all of the above. Consider what you want and need, and why. Then decide if the home and community you’re considering is worth the price.

Short-term timing.

One trick to winning a bidding war is to avoid it altogether. Make an offer before the home hits the MLS system or gains buyer attention through an open house. Your agent will best advise you on how to proceed, so prepare to drop everything to tour a new listing and make your offer, before someone else does! (Note: Mortgage pre-approval in this scenario is key.)

Long-term planning.

The spring and fall housing markets see the most real estate action, with buyers out in droves and bidding wars bubbling at the surface. If you’re not in a hurry to buy, minimize your competition and possibly even price by shopping in the “off” season. Winter sees a drop in inventory, but also in demand, reducing your chance of being outbid.

Be smart about your bid.

You did your homework, right? You’ve determined how much you can afford to spend. And you know what the home is worth based on comparables. You also know what the home is worth to you. Make a bid that’s reflective of all of these considerations. Before jumping on the bidding bandwagon, have confidence that you’re getting a good deal.

When all is said and done, remember that the spoils don’t always go to the highest bidder. Make a clean offer, be flexible, and know when to walk away. The right home isn’t “right” if the cost to you is wrong.


Posted on Mar 14, 2019

Getting pre‑approved for a mortgage before looking at properties gives you a more realistic expectation of what you can afford. It also helps your Realtor narrow the field and only show you properties that will work in your financial situation. However, keep in mind that the pre‑approved amounts can overestimate what you can actually afford to pay...

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Ski Resort properties are more attainable than Western Canadians think

Posted on Feb 23, 2019

While ski resort properties continue to be relatively affordable, 67 per cent of Western Canadians don’t believe they can afford them. According to a recent RE/MAX survey of Western Canadians conducted by Leger, only 23 per cent of respondents claim to be able to purchase a ski resort property.

No longer just used as only winter vacation homes or wi...

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Posted on Feb 06, 2019

Determining whether you should buy a new home/condo or fix up your current one isn’t easy.  In fact, the decision can be steeped in so much drama, they make reality TV shows about it!  So, if you’re wondering whether to move or improve, here are three things to consider:

 1. Will a renovation truly fix what you don’t like about your property? If you’r...

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How Does Staging Help a Seller?

Posted on Jan 07, 2019

Here are some great points sent to me by my Home Staging Expert.  I have seen a couple of properties sell very quickly after being staged.  If you are thinking of selling in 2019 we should chat about this step.

  • Staged homes present and show better than competing houses for sale. Especially important as the market becomes more balanced.
  • Staged propertie...

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Posted on Dec 03, 2018

It goes without saying that spring and summer are excellent times to put your house on the market; the weather is warm and potential home buyers are in the mood to window shop.

That said, there are also some real advantages that come with listing in the fall and winter. The kids are back in school, people are travelling less and there's typically le...

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BC Assessments Vs.What Your Home is Truly Worth

Posted on Nov 12, 2018

A great article about property assessments;

BC Assessment notices have arrived in the mail, giving some homeowners a big smile and a bit more spring in their step (increased property taxes aside), while others wilt and lament at a modest gain or decrease in assessed value.

Neither this assessment document, nor either parties’ emotions, are tied to a...

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