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5 Dangers That Lurk in Low-Ball Real-Estate Offers

By: Amy Woods, July 20, 2015

A recent National Association of Realtors poll found one out of 10 agents complained about buyers foisting low-ball offers on their clients. That’s the good news. The bad news is even though the risky real-estate move has declined, it still exists, and when it is put on the transaction table, negotiations frequently come to a stultifying halt.

Offending the seller

A low-ball offer is like a slap in the face to the seller. It’s personal. The seller’s home is one in which he or she has lived and perhaps raised a family and made memories. For a buyer to unilaterally mark down the asking price by 25 percent – the industry barometer for low-balling – is insulting.

Not getting a counter offer

The fallout from low-balling includes alienating, angering and annoying the seller to the point that a counter offer is not and never will be made. The counter offer is an important element in “the art of the deal,” and when the opportunity for a seller to make one disappears, the deal is damaged, if not dead.

Losing traction

Real-estate negotiations rely in large part on the relationship between agents and their clients. They rely even more largely on the relationship between buyers and sellers. If the buyer and seller are at loggerheads, everyone loses. The buyer doesn’t get the house, the seller goes back to the marketplace, and no one is in a good mood.

Having to back-pedal

There might be a chance for the buyer to undo the damage done by low-balling, but it’s dicey. Having to increase the initial offer to a reasonable number means the buyer has to negotiate with him / herself to get things back on track.

Damaging the marketplace

The NAR poll proves low-balling is dwindling because it is far from a best practice when trying to close. Simply put, it is not a winning move. Here are some other facts to know about low-ball offers:

  1. They tend to occur when there is too much inventory or a glut of homes for sale in a particular region.
  2. They also occur when asking prices don’t jive with real-world prices, outpacing economic realities.
  3. They often occur based on buyer mentality about the property. They buyer might say, “It needs fresh paint and new carpeting. The kitchen and bathrooms are outdated. The living quarters could use remodeling. The roof needs to be replaced.”

While buyers can’t be blamed for trying to get a reduced price – that’s human nature – there are ways to do so respectfully and thoughtfully. When buyers open their mouths before opening their eyes, they usually end up going home empty-handed.

We hope these tips help you get the most out of your home. If you need help determining the value of your property, use our easy Home Value Estimator here at

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