What is an Escalation Clause?

Jun 14, 2023

An escalation clause is a real estate term that refers to a provision in a contract that allows for an increase in the purchase price if certain conditions are met. This clause is typically used in situations where there are multiple offers on a property, and the seller wants to ensure that they get the highest possible price.

How does an escalation clause work?

When a buyer includes an escalation clause in their offer, they are essentially saying that they are willing to pay a certain amount above the highest competing offer, up to a certain limit. For example, if a buyer offers $500,000 for a property with an escalation clause that states they will pay $1,000 more than the highest competing offer, up to a limit of $550,000, and the highest competing offer is $510,000, the buyer's offer will automatically increase to $511,000.

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What are the benefits of an escalation clause?

For buyers, an escalation clause can be a useful tool for ensuring that they don't lose out on a property they really want. By offering to pay more than the highest competing offer, they can increase their chances of winning the bidding war. For sellers, an escalation clause can help them get the best possible price for their property.

What are the risks of an escalation clause?

While an escalation clause can be beneficial for both buyers and sellers, there are also some risks involved. For buyers, there is always the possibility that the highest competing offer will be significantly higher than they anticipated, which could result in them paying more than they had planned. For sellers, there is the risk that the buyer will back out of the deal if the price gets too high.


How can you protect yourself when using an escalation clause?

If you are considering using an escalation clause in your offer, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself. First, make sure you set a clear limit on how high you are willing to go. This will help ensure that you don't end up paying more than you can afford. Second, make sure you include a provision that requires the seller to provide proof of the highest competing offer. This will help prevent any potential disputes over whether or not the escalation clause was triggered.


Overall, an escalation clause can be a useful tool for both buyers and sellers in a competitive real estate market. However, it's important to understand the risks involved and take steps to protect yourself if you decide to use one.