In this wild and crazy hot market, it isn’t unusual to have multiple offers on a single property. In this situation, there are generally two options for a seller: ask all buyers to provide their highest and best offer, or give multiple counter offers.

With highest and best, you basically notify every interested party to submit their highest and best offer by a certain time, and then choose one to either accept outright or negotiate a bit more (though generally highest and best means just that). You can have backup offers lined up so that if the deal with “Buyer A” falls through, you can proceed with “Buyer B.”

With multiple counter offers, you basically go back to each offer with a counter, and then pick from their replies. The buyer signs the multiple counter form, but it is still up to the seller to choose one or not.  This option seems attractive to sellers: you get to make them compete! However, there are a few things that could go wrong in this scenario. One possible outcome would be that the buyers all walk away, thinking that the seller is wasting their time or jerking them around. The notion of signing the counter offer to go higher and still not being assured that the seller will take it is unsettling to many buyers.  Another possibility is that the counter offers are all the same, and the prospective buyers all accept, leaving you in the precarious position to try to renegotiate again, making it more likely that people feel jerked around and walk away.

For these reasons, we usually advise our clients to take the highest and best route, though each situation is unique. Not only are things simpler this way, but it’s also more polite in that it doesn’t waste anyone’s time or make anyone feel toyed with. When the market is this crazy, after all, time is very valuable!