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Once you decide to place an offer on a house, you have to be ready for anything. In a hot market where bidding wars are won by all-cash offers, or significantly above the list price, and promising hefty down payments—offer rejection may be a possibility. Rejections happen all the time, and it doesn’t have to be the end of the world! Here are some tips on how to move forward depending on your situation:

#1 BEST OFFER
If you haven’t given your best offer yet, consider pushing for the highest you can go (but still afford).  If you can’t stretch your budget, think of other ways you can make transactions easier for the seller. You can either offer less contingencies or agree to move in at the seller’s most convenient date.

#2 BACK UP
If your offer was rejected for a better one, you can make an offer to be in the backup position. This means that you’ll be the next buyer in line should the first buyer walk away from the deal.  If the seller accepts your offer as a backup, just make sure to get it in writing. This way, the seller will have legal obligation to sell you the property if the first deal doesn’t push through —  and for the terms you originally submitted. You can also include a right-to-refuse clause which protects you from being bound to purchase the property, while still being the seller’s first option when the current deal falls through.

#3 TALK WITH AGENT
If the rejection happened even with your best possible offer, it may be time to discuss further options with your agent.  Yes, that house could’ve been your dream home, but in a tight market, there are a lot of things beyond your control. The best thing you can do is to strategize with your agent so that you can be in a more competitive position for the next house you’ll be gunning for.

SOME REMINDERS
 1. Thinking of “that home” as “The One That Got Away” will prevent you from giving other houses a fair chance. Move on completely and accept that you’ll have to find a different dream home.

2. Don’t get emotionally attached to a house before you’ve even sealed the deal.  Imagining how you’ll furnish the house and thinking of the best shade of paint for that master’s bedroom will lead to even more heartbreak if the deal doesn’t work.

3. Learn from the experience.  Communicate with your agent about how you can make your next offer stand a better chance at getting accepted. Maybe next time, you can start with a stronger offer, perhaps by agreeing to pay for your own title policy, or not making the seller too many requests. Whatever it is you think you can improve, discuss it with your agent and come up with a solid strategy.