Bidding wars have reached a new 10-year high for Seattle homebuyers, and those who have been through it offer advice for coming out on top.

Share story

[RelatedBidding wars: Homebuyers fight to pay more for Seattle homes]

With the rate of bidding wars in the Seattle metro area at a new 10-year high, you’re now more likely than not to pay above list price — and to face others willing to do the same.

So what are frustrated would-be homebuyers supposed to do?

Agents and home seekers who have been through the process recently offered their advice:

Most Read Stories

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks

• Adjust your expectations: Be prepared to see the list price as a floor, not a ceiling. If the advertised price is already at the very top of your price range, you might not want to waste your time. And a cheaper place, perhaps in a different neighborhood, that might have been in the lower end of your price range might actually wind up close to your peak budget by the time the auction is over.

• Be aggressive: Tour a house as soon as you can and get your offer in quickly; some sell just hours or days after hitting the market. Have a home inspector on standby. Bring paperwork to tours proving you’re preapproved for a mortgage.

• Use sweeteners: If you can, add in a large cash deposit and promise to close quickly; some buyers even prefer offers with those conditions over a slightly larger overall bid.

• Get personal: Ensure your agent makes a relationship with the seller’s representative so you don’t get lost in a pile of offers. Write a personal note or create a flyer with pictures.

• Be a quick study: Assume you’re going up against multiple bidders who have already been through the process and are becoming increasingly desperate. Notice what tactics they use and study the market intensely.

• Use your network: Like job openings, the best houses never get posted publicly. Let everyone know you’re looking and you might be able to avoid an auction altogether by getting an offer in before a home hits the market.