What Is A Bully Offer?

Q. What is a bully offer?

A.   A bully offer is a common term for what is known as a pre-emptive offer.

A pre-emptive offer is as the name suggests, an offer made by a buyer to a seller before the pre-determined offer date set by the seller. In such an offer situation, the buyer approaches the seller at an earlier date with a higher price offer than the already set price.

It is generally an assumed stimulation in such an offer that the offer made by the buyer is a one time offer with a very short time frame. These offers generally have a negative connotation in the field of real estate due to the controversy they cause. Sellers are often confused as to the correct response to bully offers made and of course, other buyers deem it unfair.  

From a buyers perspective, a bully offer if accepted is obviously beneficial to them. But the question remains, why not wait for the prescribed date to make the offer? A buyer making a bully offer can choose to do so for a multitude of reasons.

Here’s some clarity on some of the reasons a buyer would put forth a bully offer: 

1. Ignore the competition.

A bully offer is presented to a seller before the actual date that sellers are going to review buyer offers. This means that the offer is the first and only offer made to the seller at that given point of time. Buyers sometimes do not want to get into the hassle of bidding and out-bidding other potential buyers during the sale of a property.

Sometimes, once they’ve settled on the decision to buy a house, they want to close the deal without any fight. A bully offer assures a clean slate from any competition or fight.


2. I want it and I want it now.

Sometimes buyers are unable to close the deal on buying the house for a multitude of reasons, but none being the lack of trying. Other buyers winning the final deal or loan transactions falling short often lead to a buyer not being able to settle onto any deal. Exasperation from the volatile nature of the real estate business also leads buyers to sometimes proposition a bully offer on the next house they have their eyes on.

They want it bad and don’t mind breaking a few rules to get it, even if they need to mint out a bit of extra cash!


Generally bully offers pop up in the market when demand is not being met with supply. There are too many buyers on the market but not enough homes to buy. In such situations, people become restless which in turn leads to the creation of such offers.

It is simple really if the demand for houses is low your chances of getting the house at the usual offer-making period are high. In such a scenario, a bully offer is unnecessary. It is in a hot market wherein bully offers pop-up.

So for a buyer, the question then arises, is it wise to make a bully offer and if so how?

First and foremost you must understand what a bully offer entails. Such an offer is made at a higher price than the listing price.  The nature of the offer is such that it includes no conditions and no negotiations. This isn’t a hard and fast rule but is generally followed in such offers.

It’s important to note that you must be able to pay a down-payment upfront. The price is generally non-negotiable if the seller is unhappy they can wait for the actual offer-making date.

 Bully offers have a set time frame. The offer stands for a limited period of time and this is made clear when the offer is made. This rule is generally made so that sellers do not pursue other such offers at the same time, which is counter-productive because avoiding competition is one of the main advantages of bully offers.

As a buyer, one must first observe the market and decide if making a bully offer is necessary. If so, a buyer needs to be confident while making such an offer. Keep your documents in place and make sure you are financially strong enough to swoop into such a deal. Bully offers cannot be based on dwindling decisions.

While having negotiations, a realtor/buyer should know how many demands they can make and where it is that they have to accept what they get. It is not advisable for people inexperienced in the real estate market to go forth with such offers.

Now that we’ve observed a bully offer from a buyer’s perspective, let us look at it from a seller's angle.

Say suppose you are a seller, you have set a date wherein you will review all offers on a particular property, but you receive an offer from a buyer prior to this already determined date. Will you take the offer?

Many sellers are often left with this same question, and find it difficult to come up with an answer. They get confused on whether to wait it out or take the higher rate before the offer expires. A bully offer puts a seller in a spot, making it difficult to make a correct decision.

Here is a seller’s true dilemma when it comes to bully offers: 

  1. Should I take the leap?

Sellers often swing between waiting for the offer-date and jumping onto the present opportunity. While waiting seems like the systematic way, an enticing offer is in front of the seller pulling them to the opposite side. Either way, the seller is left with what if they wish they had the answer to. 

2. Is it high enough?

A bully offer has a higher rate than the set offer rate. It is one of the main attractive features of such an offer. But it leaves the seller thinking if its high enough to ditch the offer-date, with the thought in mind that there could be higher bids if she/he waits it out. 

3. Please close the gates.

Often what happens is that when a seller takes into consideration a bully offer, a flood of other offers starts flowing in. But due to the time barricade that bully offers have, there is often no time to review the available offers. This puts sellers in a tough and confusing spot.

There is no right decision when it comes to bully offers.

Accepting a bully offer involves a lot of careful planning and thinking. Make sure to read all stimulations of the offer before considering it. If the idea of receiving and dealing with bully offers gives you too much stress, inform your realtor that you do not accept any such offers.

Do not burden yourself with the what-ifs of a bully offer if you cannot or do not want to deal with it. As a seller, you should know the valuation of your house and look at the price offer made in the bully offer you can decide if it is worth considering.

When it comes down to it, legally a bully offer is allowed.

But if rules are set claiming no allowance of such offers, realtors are supposed to abide by it to be fair to all. It isn’t unethical to place or accept a bully offer, that is a matter of perspective but it is important to make an informed decision. Rash or hasty decisions can only be loss-making for any or all parties concerned.

For a seller, it is advisable to consider such deals when the price offer is especially high or the market is slow. For a buyer, it is advisable to place such deals in a high demand low supply situation or if you have found the perfect house and want to guarantee that it becomes your home.

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