How to Compare Multiple Offers

(Buyers: take note.)

There are not enough homes coming to market in the Boston area to meet the intense buyer demand.

As a result, it’s typical for sellers to receive multiple offers on their home—often within the first week and with an array of competitive terms. When reviewing them as the seller, it can seem like comparing apples to oranges.

Here are some pointers for evaluating what offer meets your priorities.

Not just price. What are the terms?

Assuming the top offers are comparable on price, you will want to consider how the terms of the offer provide the most benefit to you. Offer terms include method of payment (financing or cash), timeline for closing, and inspection contingencies. You’re looking for the right combination of terms that are important to you.


  • Are all offers contingent on getting financing? (Or are they paying with cash, which is a whole different consideration?)
  • If so, how much is each buyer’s downpayment amount? (In other words, how much financing will they each require?)
  • With high prices on the table, and all needing a loan, you may be concerned about what the property will appraise at for a chosen buyer’s financing. (Even if a buyer is preapproved for a loan of 80% of their purchase price, the bank will only lend a max of 80% of the appraised value determined by an independent appraiser.) Given that, is any buyer offering to provide more of their own funds to make up any potential deficiency between the appraised value and their purchase amount?
  • For a condo sale that involves financing, you also want to evaluate which buyer’s financing will require the least demanding review of your condo association’s budget, reserve funds and governing documents. (Borrowers putting down 20% or more are often entitled to a limited lender review of condo documents.)


Beyond the structure of financing, compare contingencies for inspection.

You may choose to prioritize a buyer who offers to absorb a high amount of costs for any repair items that may come out of inspection or one who is able to waive their contingency for inspection altogether.

In these competitive times, some buyers choose to consider the expenses of potential repair items—upgrading a heating system, replacing a hot water heater—as part of their purchase costs.


Finally, dates are critical: offer signing, inspection, condo review, purchase-and-sale signing, loan commitment, and closing.

If you have buyers vying to satisfy your ideal terms, consider whether you’d prefer:

  • a quick closing, which can give you cash in hand to move on to the next step;
  • a delayed closing, which may allow you time to transition to your next living situation; or
  • a sale-and-lease back, which can allow you both a timely closing and a specified period (usually up to a few weeks) in which the buyer allows you to remain in the property for an agreed upon fee and terms to give you the flexibility you may need.