8 Things to Expect and Not Expect in a Multiple-Offer Situation

We’re frequently seeing multiple-offer situations in the Wilmington housing market due to the shrinking home inventory, so it’s important for buyers to know what to expect if they find themselves putting an offer in on a home that already has one. Buyers need to understand that it’s not the listing agent who decides how to handle a multiple-offer situation. Ultimately, the seller chooses how offers are presented and dealt with.


  1. To be notified that there’s more than one offer. The sellers can choose to counter one offer and ignore the others while they wait for a response, accept one offer and reject the rest, or request everyone’s “highest and best” offer before making a decision.
  2. To get a deal. If you’ve decided to put in a low offer, chances are another buyer has made an offer higher than yours. Sometimes, listings end up in bidding wars and are sold for more than asking price.
  3. The highest offer to always win. Sometimes a quicker closing or a cash offer creates a better deal for the seller. So, explore those options when making your offer.
  4. A verbal offer to be taken as seriously as an offer in-hand. The seller won’t feel obligated to wait while you sign the paperwork, or get proof-of-funds or a pre-approval letter. It’s best you get everything you can done before making any offers.


  1. The details of your offer to remain confidential, at least by the involved Realtors. Thanks to the North Carolina Buyer Agency Agreement, they cannot share the details of your offer with any other buyer or agent until after the purchase is finalized, unless you give them permission to do so. However, that does not stop the seller from disclosing details. They can’t be controlled.
  2. That there is a chance your agent has another client who is also interested in the property. The chances are slim, but they exist and you may want to clarify with them how such situations will be handled.
  3. Each Realtor to work diligently on behalf of their client. The listing agent protects the seller’s best interests, just as the buyer’s agent protects the buyer’s. The Realtor Code of Ethics requires agents to be honest, work quickly, and cooperate with both parties involved.
  4. That you may be disappointed. Only one offer can be accepted. If it’s not yours, take it as a sign that it wasn’t meant to be. Brush the dust off your pants and be thankful you’re being given the opportunity to find the best home for you.

When suddenly faced with a multiple-offer situation, your initial reaction may be a feeling of defeat, but not everything is black and white. Always remember that your Realtor is there to provide you with their professional experience. Let them advise you on the different approaches you can take dealing with a multiple-offer situation. They may have insight you haven’t yet considered.

If you have any questions about multiple-offer situations, give us a call or send us a message through our Contact page.

About the Author
Meghan Henderson
Meghan is the Marketing Specialist for The Cameron Team and a published author of two young adult books. She also creates digital and printable planners and trackers, as well as coloring pages for Larkspur & Tea.