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TL;DR

An acquaintance of mine wants to buy the same apartment as me, and neither of us is willing to back down.

Background

In short, we discovered before going to the showing that were both very interested in the same house (we discovered the listing independently). I don't want to enter into a bidding war with this person, where we would both lose out (by ending up paying more).

Problem

I of course feel that my reasons for wanting to move to this particular flat are stronger than hers, but naturally she feels the same since she doesn't want to back down either. I am staying with my parents and they have just put their property on the market, so I am in need of place. This apartment meets all of my needs, and also allows me to stay in the same complex as my sister and brother-in-law, who I have a good relationship with. She however has told me that she needs to enter the market soon so she can have her parents over in the holidays. She also said that I should look at something else since she has perceived that I earn enough to get a bigger place (and implies that she can't buy anything else), which seems to be a guilt tactic to me. So, I don't find her reasons valid, and she doesn't accept mine.

What I have tried

I told her I was going to put in an offer, to play open cards and show my seriousness (which might have encouraged her to put in an offer herself sooner than she might have without me telling her this). Because measuring who wants it more (or who has more right to it) is a pointless exercise, we are thus leaving it up to the buyer to decide without having disclosed our offering prices (going to put in our bids blindly against each other).

We also made the estate agent aware of our situation so he will not disclose the other's bid. This is the solution we have gone with, and at least one of us will end up not getting it. I am certain things could have been less stressful for both of us if we could have come to an agreement beforehand.

Questions

How can I ask friend or acquaintance to relinquish attempts to offer to purchase property so that my own attempts will be cheaper/easier?

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How can I ask friend or acquaintance to relinquish attempts to offer to purchase property so that my own attempts will be cheaper/easier?

You can't. She's free to do what she wants, as are you. For all you know another third party neither of you know about is also showing interest in the property and may be putting a bid in. The seller doesn't care about any of you; they just want to get the best price they can. The agency doesn't care about any of you; they just want to get the best percentage cut of the sale price as a fee (for them this situation is gold).

My advice would be to make it clear to this person - if you have anything to do with each other in your day-to-day life / work - is to let them know that whatever happens it's nothing personal and that you'd hope for it not to effect whatever relationship it is you have. That would be more decent than selfishly expecting her to back down; which I doubt you would like if the tables were turned.

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I think you will have a difficult time achieving your stated goal without a lot of extra legwork.

Your friend has indicated that this is the home for her, and she's apparently unable to look for another in time to suit her needs. If we assume that she's being honest about her needs then it's difficult to imagine her bowing out just so that you can save money and also get the thing that you both want for yourself, exclusively, while she gets nothing. Are you really surprised that this is not attractive to her?

If she's not being honest about how much she needs this place then we're stuck-- it's hard to suggest an option that she might like without knowing what she wants or why.

If you really want her to withdraw you'll need to address the reasons she's currently refusing to do so. If she really does need a place soon, and this is the only one she's found that meets her requirements, then your best bet might be to present her with similar apartments for sale. That way her walking away doesn't leave her completely empty-handed, nor does she have to invest her time and energy finding another suitable place to live.

Another possibility is to pay your friend to retract her offer. There might be some amount of money which would compensate her for her trouble but still be less than the amount you would have had to add to your bid to compete with her. You come out ahead, she gets something, and everything's OK. Whether or not she will go for that will depend on the amount of money involved and how unique this apartment is in meeting her needs.

I can't think of anything else that would even maybe sway me, if I were in your friend's shoes. If she really needs the apartment, or even just badly wants it, but you are dead set on preventing her from having it (not maliciously, but just because you can't both get it) then she may not mind you having to pay extra for it. Possibly even a lot extra. Why should all possible benefits accrue to you, and none to her? Besides, by leaving her bid as is she may well end up with the apartment she wants.

Finally, there are other parties involved. It's entirely possible that your "standard" bid for the unit would be too low to beat out other potential buyers, and only trying to beat her offer actually puts you in the running to get the apartment.

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Offer to pay her money, on the condition that you finalized the sales contract.

This is obviously of value to both of you, and like this, the money goes to the acquaintance, not the seller. It's most likely still cheaper for you to pay her something to get the flat that raise the price with a bidding war.

Also, if she is much more interested, she might offer the money to you.

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