How Much Should I Bid to Win the Home? You’ve found the ideal home, and now it’s time to make that offer. The offer to beat the other five offers you hear the sellers may be receiving.

When trying to determine an offer price, where do you start, or stop? Of course, your agent should be armed with the recent sales in the area to help you understand at what price the home you’re interested in could sell for.

Remember that in most cases, the buyer that was willing to pay more for the home than any other buyer is the one that typically wins the bid. So, you can forget about saying you don’t want to overpay in this market. By definition, if you won the home in a multiple bidding situation, you probably overpaid. But relax, now your home will be the sales comparable for the next buyers, that likely will now have to pay more than you did. Think of it to some degree like musical chairs, get your home before the music stops. The sooner you get into an appreciating market, the sooner you get to begin enjoying the appreciation, instead of bidding against it.

How to Set a Fair Price

Deciding what to offer can be a nail biting experience. You don’t want to lose the home, but you also don’t want to be blindly bidding against yourself. How much is too much? When you can’t afford anymore is one good threshold. But assuming you’ve looked at what the market bears for like properties, it’s likely that you’ll already know where you think the home should sell. So, pick a price and stick to it. Ask yourself, at what price am I willing to let go of this home? That way, if you win the bid, you’ll be happy and if you lose, you’ll at least know that going any higher just didn’t make sense. Remember, you have to sleep at night so you’ll have to live with whatever decision you make—choose wisely, and remember, sometimes you just have to let a home go if you are up against an overzealous buyer.
How Much Does the Home Need to Appraise For?

Lenders typically want you to put down 20% to have some skin in the game so to speak. Though as lending trends are beginning to loosen, some 10% loans are available.

Let’s say the offer you are going to make on the home you like is for $1,000,000. If you were putting down 20% that would be a $200,000 down payment and the lender would put up the remaining $800,000. Now the home must appraise for full value-—$1,000,000, as the lender will only lend 80% of wherever the home appraises. And that’s what makes sellers nervous—especially if your offer price is a new high water mark for the neighborhood. But if you could put down 25%, the home would only need to appraise for $937,500, giving both you and the seller some breathing room and peace of mind.

Here’s how the calculation works:

“X” = ((Offer price – Down Payment) ÷ .8) or (80%)
Where “X” is what the home must appraise for given the Down Payment.

So in our above example,

$1,000,000 — $250,000 = (25%)= ($750,000 ÷ 80% ) = $937,500.


We also wrote an article about Contingencies, which explains what happens when a home doesn’t appraise


Drew & Christine Morgan are REALTORS/NOTARY PUBLIC in Belmont, CA. with more than 20 years of experience in helping sellers and buyers in their community. As Diamond recipients, Drew and Christine are ranked in the top 50 RE/MAX agents nationwide and the top 3 in Northern California  They may be reached at (650) 508.1441 or emailed at

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The information contained in this article is educational and intended for informational purposes only. It does not constitute real estate, tax or legal advice, nor does it substitute for advice specific to your situation. Always consult an appropriate professional familiar with your scenario

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