Realty One Group Inspiration
Richard Vaughn

1. Offer Above-Asking

The seller’s market is not the place for making low offers and hoping someone will bite. You will have to make your offer strong enough to beat out a multiple-bid situation. If you want the house, you’re likely going to have to go above the asking price. Don’t allow the thought of offering over the asking price overwhelm you. Sometimes, you only need to offer $2,000 – $3,000 more to get the seller’s attention. Doing this will show the seller that you’re serious about buying the home, and that you want them to consider you as a potential buyer.

Making an offer above the asking price won’t end up costing you much in the long run. What you put down and what you pay monthly on your mortgage will only change significantly if you offer an amount far above asking. Keeping your offer aligned to the home’s value, while still above the asking price, will help you secure the home you’re interested in.

2. Escalation Clause

An escalation clause is a provision added to a contract stating that the buyer will escalate their offer above the highest sales price submitted. The buyer’s contract price is automatically escalated without the need to resubmit a new contract or amend an existing one. This clause usually has a maximum escalation amount. When a bidding war takes place, this tactic keeps your offer at the top of the list.

Here’s an example:
→ Homebuyer A has offered $400,000 on a $390,000 home, with an escalation clause to $3,000 above the highest bid.
→The house gets 20 offer contracts, and the highest bid is from Buyer B at $440,000.
→As a result, buyer A’s contract sales price is automatically escalated to $443,000.
This method is one of the most common tactics used to outbid the competition in a highly competitive market.

Obviously, you should only use an escalation clause when you can afford to escalate your offer above the list price. The pros of an escalation clause are that they immediately put your bid at the top of the list. The cons are that they can be manipulated by the listing agent and cause you to pay much more than your initial contract price.

3. Leaseback

A leaseback allows the seller to lease the property from the buyer after closing. Since some deals fall through before closing, it can be risky to move out of a primary residence before the transaction has been funded and completed. This method allows the seller to sell their home and then move out afterward, eliminating this risk. In addition, leasebacks offer security to the seller that they do not need to move until the deal is finalized.

4. Appraisal Gap

Appraisal gaps are among the most common strategies used by home buyers to get their offer accepted in a competitive real estate market. An appraiser will likely value a home for less than its contract price when homes appreciate faster than appraisers can justify. The low appraised value can cause a deal to fall apart entirely.

If a home is listed at $500,000 and ends up going under contract at $550,000, it can be challenging. If the appraised value comes back at $500,000, the buyers may need to bring an extra $50,000 cash to the table. The seller may need to drop the contract price to $500,000 to close the deal. Sometimes, the contract falls apart because no resolution can be found.
When buyers offer an appraisal gap, they state that they have extra funds to fill in the gap between the appraised value and the contract price. They also waive their appraisal contingency. This perk gives the seller extra assurance that they won’t be in a situation to drop their home price.

5. Earnest Money

Earnest money is offered with a sales contract to help the seller justify taking their house off the market. It’s a way of proving that the buyer “earnestly” wants to purchase the property beyond the contract alone. Here in Florida, its typically between 1% to 2% of the sales price.

Contact contingencies allow the buyer to retrieve their earnest money if the deal falls apart for different reasons. These reasons may include home inspection issues or financing problems.

If you offer more than the standard amount of earnest money requested, you are showing strong intent. You can also make your earnest money “go hard.” This term means that you will waive all contingencies to retrieve your earnest money if the deal does not close. This tactic shows serious intent to buy, pushing your offer above others that are less serious.

6. Use a Reputable Lender

When listing agents receive offers from buyers, one of the first things they do is verify the mortgage lender and pre-approval letter. If the listing agent is a high producer, they will know many of the local lenders. Some lenders have bad reputations for sabotaging deals. If you happen to be using one of these lenders, the listing agent will likely share that information with their sellers.
If you’re working with an experienced real estate agent, ask their advice on the best lenders to use to get your offer accepted. I work with the top lender in the area. They are “direct lenders”, meaning that they do not act as brokers and they control the approval process in-house

7. Offer to Pay the Sellers Moving Expenses

If you’re making an offer on a competitive home that is occupied, consider offering a monetary incentive to help pay for the seller’s moving expenses. This is a unique strategy that is not very common, which makes it more effective.

The higher the contract price rises above the listing price, the more likely the transaction will experience appraisal value issues. When you offer money for moving expenses, the seller gains the financial benefits without being added to the home’s sales price. This tactic bypasses the appraisal and mortgage process, making it appealing to knowledgeable sellers.

8. Offer to Pay All Title Insurance Fees

It’s customary for sellers to pay for the buyers’ title insurance in Florida. Fees typically range between $1,200 to $1,500, or more depending on the listing. To help your offer stand out, consider paying these title fees to alleviate that burden from the seller. If you’re in a highly competitive market, the chances are high that other competing buyers will do the same thing. This is an easy strategy that is commonly used.

9. First To View

If you’ve submitted offers on multiple properties and have had no luck getting one under contract, consider a more aggressive showing approach. Some sellers do not want a bunch of contracts to go work through. On the other hand, if you can be the first buyer to view the home and submit your highest and best offer immediately, you may entice the seller to accept your contract.

To be the first buyer, you’ll need an aggressive real estate agent who can schedule showings within minutes of a home hitting the market. You and your Realtor will need to be on a saved search from your MLS to notify you of new listings as soon as they hit the market. Once you see a new property that looks promising, you’ll need to stop everything and get it scheduled right away.

10. Waive the Inspection Contingency

Once a home goes under contract, the deal is not done. The next step is to perform a home inspection. This process is stressful for the sellers because they have no control over the home inspector’s competency. Ten different home inspections could yield ten different results. Sellers are on pins and needles in anticipation of the results.

Some buyers will offer to waive the inspection process to increase their contract’s chances of being accepted. This method is a risky move that requires plenty of research to understand fully. However, it’s also a highly effective move that can yield positive results. Take some time to consider if this aggressive tactic may be something you should try to get a home under contract in a highly competitive market.

11. Remove the Financing Contingency

In Florida, the sales contract has have provisions for the buyer to receive their earnest money back if the mortgage financing falls apart. If this happens, the seller ends up putting their house back on the market and starting the whole process over.
If the financing falls apart within the contract financing deadline, the buyers get their earnest money back. The sellers must start over with no benefit from the process. This scenario is exhausting for sellers and listing agents.

To alleviate the sellers of this concern, you may choose to waive your financing contingencies. This step allows the seller to inherit the earnest money if something goes wrong with your financing. This strategy is very appealing to sellers and helps strengthen your reputation as a strong buyer. As a result, the method is becoming standard practice in highly competitive markets.

12. Larger Down Payment

When sellers review contracts from buyers, they consider the down payment as a sign of financial strength. This is because buyers putting more cash down have more money in the bank to access if an issue arises. In addition, low appraisal value or expensive repair costs are less likely to sabotage a deal if the buyer has more cash.

If you have more money to contribute for a down payment, you may consider increasing this amount to show the seller that you are a financially secure buyer. On the other hand, if you’re using a VA loan, which requires no down payment, consider structuring your contract to show that you have extra cash to make the deal work. Sellers are likely to choose a buyer with the most money accessible to increase their chances of closing the transaction.

13. Have Your Lender Pre-Underwrite Your Loan

The mortgage loan process is always at risk of sabotaging a deal. Buyers may hide negative financial details that are later discovered during the underwriting process. This scenario is a concern for listing agents and sellers. No one wants a deal to fall apart due to discoveries about the buyer’s financial situation.
To alleviate this concern, consider using a reputable local lender who will pre-underwrite your loan. This method lets the listing agent and seller know that you have been thoroughly vetted and stand the highest chance of closing. This tactic can be very effective when competing with cash offers.

14. Use an Experienced Realtor

There are over 20,000 Realtors registered in our local MLS, but our area only had 45,572 closings in 2021. That leaves about 4 transaction sides for every agent.

This tension creates an environment where there are plenty of inexperienced agents actively working in one market. If you end up stuck with a Realtor who is inexperienced with competitive offers, you may waste many months missing out on great homes. Instead, be sure to choose an experienced agent who is closing transactions and knows the current market very well. The agent you choose will have a direct effect on your success in buying a home. Don’t underestimate their influence and ability.

15. Position Yourself to be Flexible

As a home buyer in a competitive market, it is essential to stay flexible to meet any unique demands that the seller may have. Every seller has different needs. If you are positioned to move fast and meet their requests, you can beat other competing buyers.

If you have a house to sell before buying another property, you may need to get creative. Sellers with multiple offers on their property will not accept contracts contingent on another home selling. Sellers are looking for the least amount of contingencies and delays as possible.

Consider selling your home and renting an Air BnB or short-term rental to give yourself flexibility. This is a risky move when there is limited inventory, but it may give you the edge you need to entice the seller to accept your contract.

Your lender may be able to offer you a special “recast loan”. This type of loan allows you to move forward with a new home purchase with a new mortgage. You then sell your existing home and use the cash from the sale as additional down payment on the new loan, lowering the balance (and the payment) and increasing the equity. In this market, you may be able to sell your home fast enough to avoid having to make an additional payment.

Some companies offer to buy your home after finding another house, but they do charge for it. Lenders and Realtors are getting more creative as the demand for homes rises every year.

16. Close Extra Fast on Vacant Homes

If you're making an offer on a vacant home, the seller will want to close as soon as possible. No one wants a vacant home sitting empty for very long. Position yourself to close as fast as possible on vacant properties. Since mortgage lenders are the ones who specify the time needed to close, you’ll need to coordinate your timeline with them. Having your mortgage pre-underwrite your loan will help with this. Hire a lender who can close fast so that you have some leverage on vacant properties.


As a homebuyer in a competitive market, you will experience stress and pressure each time your offer is rejected. Watching other buyers win homes that you wanted to buy is exhausting. I hope this list will help you feel more empowered the next time you make an offer on a home.

These tactics range from mild to extreme. We can mix and match different variations of these tactics based on the circumstances.

Stay positive and eventually you will secure a home and get it under contract.

The best way!
Get a guaranteed cash offer on your home and find out all the options before you go to market!

Get Started Here


Home Sellers
Get my FREE Book to discover smart methods to sell your home quickly for Top Dollar!     
More info here

Home Buyers 
Download my guide
Things to Consider When Buying a Home   
Request Here

Richard Vaughn - Agent with Colonialtown Realty
Realtor Equal Housing Opportunity Multiple Listing Service

What my clients are saying  

"Richard was great to work with on a tight timeline. He was friendly, responsive and very knowledgeable about the buying process; there is nothing he has not encountered. He also had a great support system in that he is has a partner also willing to assist in meeting a clients needs." howells216 5046 Harbour Dr Oxford, FL 34484


~ Howells

To whom it may concern Richard was a great help to our family thru a very difficult time he was supportive honest and truthful in selling our home we would highly recommend him as a realtor and friend - The Boyer's


~ Boyer

"I worked with Richard an excellent agent. He listed my place in July and we were on contract in 3 months, at asking price. He is an excellent negotiator with a very personalized touch. Highly recommended! He also helped us purchase our new home." Miguel Regus Ocala Ter North Pt, FL 34288


~ Regus

Richard is a great Realtor that’s well acquainted with the College Park area & Downtown Orlando. I was really surprised how quickly he had a team of folks helping me prepare myself & my home for sale….. including my yard, helping me get gravel/ stones and mulch. As he prepared the listing for the Internet, Richard sent it live and in ten minutes we had 2 appointments in the next hour for showings. My home sold almost immediately & over asking price etc. Richard, kept me informed of every step and of all the offers etc… Richard, is an very good communicator & negotiator, and he made the entire process appear simple, seamless, including the inspection and the closing. Thank You Richard! Alfredo Raton 416 W King St Orlando, FL 32804


~ Alfredo Raton

Richard has helped us buy our 1st home and has helped us recently sell it. Both experiences have been very pleasant and smooth going. He is 100% a people person, and absolutely loves his job. He is professional, knowledgeable, respectable, sincere and always reachable. I feel like I got the best possible deal both times. Highly recommend!


~ Nickki Childers

Richard was recommended to me by close friends. He helped them purchase their first home. Then helped me purchase mine. With the market being kind of wild I was honestly not in any rush to buy. But Richard was very patient with me. He was fast to respond when I found homes I wanted to view and sometimes get a viewing scheduled within an hour or the very next day. He would take the time to walk through the home with me and often has a few comments about things that I didn't notice. This being my first home I appreciated the time he took when doing all the home viewings. From time to time I would take a break from looking and he would wait for me to follow back up with him. He doesn't try to pressure you into any purchase. He negotiated with the other realtors or owners quickly as well. If I had any questions they were usually answered within a day. Thanks to Richard I believe I had the best possible home buying experience I could have for my first go around.


~ James Bloodworth

Richard was truly amazing with helping us sell our home. He was there from start to finish and took very good care of our home during an open house. (our personal property was still in the house). He had his wife come and assist and also assured us everything would be safe. The house received over 20 offers that weekend! He worked with us to review all of the offers and made the process painless. He also has contacts with stagers, movers and out of state associates should you need those services. We were very impressed and would not hesitate to hire him again when we have the need. Thank you so much Richard!!!


~ Sebastian Rodriguez

"Richard Vaughn is the best realtor that I have ever worked with. He has patiently and courteously worked with us through two years of indecision involving co-owners in different states, the death of one of the co-owners just before closing, the process of probate to allow the sale to go through, inspections and reinspections until the final closing. Throughout this time, he has worked tirelessly to help us find the best options. Never once did he seem irritated or ruffled. He is a consummate professional. I would highly recommend him." Richard Mitchell 2918 Castle Oak Ave Orlando, FL 32808


~ Richard Mitchell

"My family had a "dandy," non-combative and respectful experience with Mr. Vaughn during the selling process. He was tactful, (sensitive to our situation) and chiefly he was not obnoxiously "pushy" or annoying. He made several suggestions/recommendations, some we welcomed and acted upon; many were not. Mr. Vaughn respected our decisions without vexation. Job well done Mr. Vaughn! Hire again? doubt ---YES Recommend?............. no doubt ---YES HE WAS "KOOL"" jjnlaw1966 8851 Hillsdale Dr, Orlando, FL 32818


~ Lawrence

"We were so very lucky to have this gentleman represent us in buying our home. He knew exactly what to do and how to respond in every situation we encountered. He never- not knew- what to do!!! A 5-Star rating is too low for him-he deserved 10 Stars!" kellys2223 101 Cashew Ct, Longwood, FL 32750


~ Kelly's

"Richard's experience allowed him to point out items that required my attention in order to get top dollar for the property. That coupled with his knowledge on the neighborhood and his marketing/showing experience enabled the property to sell in it's first weekend on the market for well above market value. I would highly recommend Richard Vaughn if you want top dollar quickly for your property."


~ Todd S

We are extremely pleased that we chose Richard Vaughn as our realtor to sell our home. He was very knowledgeable in advising us as we prepared our house to be placed on the market. He was a wealth of information whenever we needed anything from the very beginning to the closing. He went way beyond expectations in assisting us with what could have been an HOA nightmare. His responsiveness to every detail and issue was exceptional. We highly recommend Richard Vaughn and would definitely use him again ourselves.


~ Pattie Smith

Richard is a great realtor - very knowledgeable and willing to go that extra mile to help you out in any way possible. he has sold a house to me and also helped me sell one. If you are looking for a home to buy or have one to sell, he is your guy.


~ Angela Turrentine

Richard was extremely knowledgeable about the local market and landscape. He is truly a professional’s professional. He went above and beyond at ever turn and was spot on with the market advise he gave me and I thank him and totally appreciate everything he has done to make my selling experience a good one. His marketing was exceptional and honest. He is highly recommended.


~ John Casson

Richard Vaughn is an incredible Realtor. He made sure we were updated and informed every step of the process. He also went out of his way in recommending professionals to help in other areas we were not experts in. They all lived up to the expectations set by Richard as well. I have already recommended him to a friend who is in the market.


~ Joe Denave

Richard was a joy to work with selling my home. Always kind and a smile on his face. I would recommend him to anyone that is looking for a good realtor.


~ Donna Russell

He is very kind hearted person who helped me and my wife a lot anybody would be lucky to have him as a realtor. He helped us look for a house for months always doing the best he can and it’s much appreciated


~ Marlon Barberena

Richard sold our house when other agents couldn’t. He went above and beyond to market our home and found a qualified buyer. He used his expertise and keen eye to recommend areas that we needed to improve in order to sell the house faster, and it worked. He was always available and made it his personal mission to get our house sold. He kept us informed throughout the process through email, texts, and phone calls. If you ever need an agent, Richard is the one!


~ Matt Clinger

"We enjoyed working with Richard. He was thorough, professional and caring. He showed great understanding of our needs and his determined approach was second to none. We would work with him again in a heartbeat and would thoroughly recommend him to anyone." Harpinder Chauhan


~ The Chauhans

Richard is an excellent realtor. He went above and beyond his call of duty. He didn't give up when I wasn't satisfied with some of the homes we looked at. He would just send me more and I would also find some and he made sure I was able to go see them even though they weren't on his website. He helped us find the perfect house. There was a few kinks but he took care of them. He gave extra time even after the sale to make sure everything was finished. If I sent an email, text or called him I got an immediate respond. I WOULD TELL EVERYONE I KNOW THAT IS LOOKING FOR A REALTOR TO CALL RICHARD whether they are buying or selling - HE IS THE MAN.


~ Alice White

Richard Vaughn did a great job selling our home. We were trying to sell our home on our own, but Richard called us and set up an appointment to discuss our home and the real estate market of our area, Winter Park. He was very informative, and not pushy. Over time, we decided to give Richard a try. It was listed right around a hurricane, and we had relocated to another state. Richard moved patio furniture and made sure our home was presented well for possible buyers. He held open houses multiple times, and was able to sell our home pretty quickly in the time frame we had given him. We would recommend Richard for anyone looking to sell their home.


~ Elizabeth Ledford

Patient and friendly, he was on the top of any deal when I ask for a showing, also he can help you to find a good loan and insurance if needed but I prefer to do my own homework.


~ Mohamed Abd el rahman

After meeting with 6 other realtors we finally lucked out by finding Richard Vaughn! He listened to our requests and lead us to different things that were still in our taste as well as budget. Super patient and not pushy. He is informative and kept our expectations realistic. Easy to contact and gave honest feedback. We feel that if we didn't use his advice when making the offer we would not be homeowners today. We would easily recommend him to all of our friends and family!


~ Maurine Sylverain

Richard was a great asset to have in my first time home buying experience. From the very beginning he was extremely accommodating to my last minute requests for showings, even going so far as to take my friends to see new listings at my request when I was out of town. I never felt pressured to act quickly and felt like I had someone on my side every step of the way. Being new to the process I had quite a few questions. Richard was knowledgeable, but more importantly honest when he did not know an answer and was happy to get back to me with the correct answer. Thanks again Richard.


~ Tyler Pyle

Richard was amazing! Our first ever real estate experience wasn't as seamless as we had hoped for, but Richard was by our side, helping us through the entire process. Without Richard, we may have given up on the house of our dreams, but with all of his help and "can-do" attitude, we persevered and are comfortably moved in to our new home! I would absolutely recommend Richard to anyone!


~ Overstreet

We were first time home buyers in the Orlando area so we selected the Mainframe Real Estate Team based on reviews we saw online and we were so lucky to have chosen them. We worked with Richard Vaughn and he was wonderful! He had a great knowledge of the surrounding area and knew exactly what we were looking for. He was very responsive to our needs and was always available when we needed him to be. Anyone looking to purchase a home would be lucky to work with Richard.


~ Mr. Stower

I happened across Richard when I was looking for another Realtor and what an amazing find! He's a breath of fresh air, He listens to your wants and needs, he's patient and kind, honest and very down to earth. He's not one to pressure you and however many houses it takes to find the one that's right for you. He will be right by your side through every one of them. Richard is incredibly knowledgeable and if he doesn't know an answer, he finds it. Richard will guide you through the entire process to the very end. My Husband and I HIGHLY recommend Richard Vaughn! We couldn't be happier.


~ Nicki "Goose" Heasley

Richard was very professional and attentive to all our needs. He provided excellent customer service and clearly explained the process of buying a home. Mr. Vaughn provided excellent referrals that did not disappoint. Richard Vaughn is highly recommended. The Browns


~ The Browns

Extremely helpful through the whole stress home buying process. Always there when we had questions, always answers our calls. Very knowledgeable of the home buying process. Made the entire process as enjoyable as it could be. :3


~ Gensler - Childer

Richard was a great help in selling our home. He brought his designer wife over who made some suggestions regarding staging our home, colors, etc., and after that our home sold. Richard also has a great rapport with the other agents and helped make this closing possible. I would definitely recommend Richard.


~ The Burtons

The closing on 2032 Illinois Street was the culmination of working five months with Richard Vaughn as my listing agent. I was quite pleased with the outcome on a number of fronts, and he has my full recommendation as an agent. Richard was a tireless advocate, undeterred, an exceptional problem solver and maintained a positive outlook despite some substantial obstacles we faced through the closing. He wasn’t afraid to spend countless hours to get the job done, keeping all parties calm, and he never passed the buck. And I would be remiss to add that I received a very strong value for the property – one 18 months prior I didn’t think was possible. The home was well marketed on a number of media platforms, and had strong interest from the moment the sign went in the ground. We were under contract within 3 weeks from listing – a time period that included both Christmas and New Years. I cannot recommend him more highly.


~ Marshall Hood

My wife and I were looking for property in FL. Moving there has been our goal for retirement. Our request to Richard was to own a property on or very near a lake, since we both love jet-skiing, sailing etc. We've been very happy with Richard's help and expertise. We'll be Floridians - soon!


~ The Veleys

I feel that we got Top Dollar for our home. Richard positioned us to get 8 offers for our home after only 2 days on the market. It was an all-around great experience with an all-around great realtor!! Trustworthy and smart and if he can sell our home in two days obviously he is diligent!!!!


~ Jessica Beman

Dear Richard, Thank you so much for your assistance in helping us find and purchase the home for our daughter! We could not have been happier with the service that you provided for us. My wife, Susan, and I have bought and sold homes in the past but this was our first experience with buying what turned out to be investment property. After letting you know what we were looking for in a property, you were able to put together a list of houses that met our requirements. Incredibly, we found the perfect property in only 4 days and closed on it the following month! You were able to guide us though all of the details of purchasing investment properties – and there were a lot of details to attend to before closing! We would (and will) recommend you to family, friends, and anyone else that we hear might be looking to buy or sell a house. Thanks again! Sincerely, Darrell Johnson


~ The Johnsons

More Reviews

Want to Know How Much Your Home is Worth?

Get Your FREE Home Market Analysis Report Right Now!