What is a backup offer? Should you make one — or accept one?

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In hyper-competitive real estate markets, particularly when inventory is low, it’s not unusual for a newly listed property listing to receive an offer within just a few days. It’s a situation that can leave prospective buyers feeling both frustrated and discouraged.

But even if someone else’s offer got accepted before you got the chance to bid, it doesn’t necessarily mean all is lost. Real estate deals have been known to fall through, for any number of reasons: for example, financing not being secured as expected, contingencies not being met or the home inspection uncovering something the primary buyer is not willing to take on. In such cases, it can be advantageous to position yourself as next in line. You can do this by submitting what’s known as a backup offer. It’s no guarantee, but if it pays off, you might still land that property you fell in love with.

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