How to keep your cool in Portland & Vancouver’s hot real estate markets

You already know that the most important thing a buyer can do is create stability before submitting an offer on their next home. But how do you ensure it can compete in a hot Portland or Washington real estate market?

First, find a savvy, experienced and local Realtor. When you work with a world-ranked Realtor like Terrie Cox, you can expect unrelenting expertise and individual attention while drafting and submitting your offer. Terrie guides her clients through the entire real estate process, looking out for errors, reviewing forms, and negotiating on their behalf.

Step 1: Write a serious offer.

Once you’ve got Terrie on your side, get started on writing your offer. Getting pre-approved—a step beyond pre-qualification—shows the seller that a lender has verified your information, credit, and documentation to determine an exact loan amount. This speeds up the underwriting process, allowing buyers to act quickly and eliminating the anxiety of waiting for financing. It also shows the seller you’re prepared, enthusiastic, and trustworthy.

Including an escalation clause with your offer will guarantee it remains the highest submission, up to your maximum budget. For example, it may dictate that you’ll beat other offers by $5,000 up to $500,000, ensuring that yours is always on top.

As Terrie’s clients know, buyers shouldn’t take these steps before an inspection. Not only will that improve your knowledge of the home, it will streamline — or eliminate — contingencies. Most notably, your offer can move to the front of the pack, as it will not be awaiting inspection.

Step 2: Be accommodating.

Stay open-minded with your new home and separate your needs from your wants. If a listing meets most of your priorities, and you can let the others go (or take on a project later), place an offer. A less-than-perfect real estate property may signal easier negotiations and potentially less competition. And limiting contingencies—or even including an as-is addendum—will make you an attractive candidate. Know your deal breakers, though; you can walk away if the listing is more trouble than it’s worth.

Also, remember that the market is cutthroat, but you don’t have to be. Being gracious and making the seller’s life easier will work to your advantage. Limit negative comments about the home, be flexible with your closing and possession dates, submit a personal note with your offer, and be respectful. Your agent will fight for your interests during negotiations, so your interactions with the seller can stay light and cordial.

Step 3: Stay in the fight.

Even if your bid gets bumped for a bigger, better offer, it pays to keep tabs on the listing. Deals frequently fall through in financing, so you may find your offer on top again. Keep your credit and savings steady, and ask your agent to check in on real estate properties whose bidding wars you’ve lost to see if there’s a chance to win the battle.

Terrie Cox is RE/MAX’s top broker in the Pacific Northwest and among the highest producing in the world. She helps her clients turn their real estate dreams into reality, guided by decades of industry insights. To get her advice on how to submit an irresistible offer on your next home, call or text Terrie at (360) 607-4100, email

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