With competition so fierce for the limited number of houses on the real estate market, some buyers are resorting to more aggressive tactics to influence sellers. One common practice is a “love letter” – a personal message from the would-be buyer to the seller to gain their favor. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) discourages “love letters” as they raise fair housing concerns.
Another tactic is the “preemptive offer” where a buyer submits a bid made before the seller’s designated date to hear all offers. This includes an “escalation clause” — where the offer guarantees to beat any other offer by a fixed amount up to a certain price. With homes currently selling to 103 percent of the asking price, this can be an effective technique although offers that are too high run the risk of far exceeding the appraisal.