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5 Ways To Respond to Low-Ball Real-Estate Offers

By: James Abbey, July 21, 2015

You just received an offer on your home for sale. You’re excited about the news until you realize the buyer low-balled you. In other words, the buyer cut your asking price by 25 percent or more. You’re angry and perhaps insulted. But you want to sell. Where do you go from here?

Play hardball

“Veteran agents will tell you that any offer can jumpstart an ultimately successful negotiation,” according to Bankrate.com. “But don’t be afraid to play hardball with these lowballs. Unless you’re really time-pressured to sell due to financial or relocation circumstances, etc., you wield the clout.”

Buyers who low-ball do so for a variety of reasons. One of them is ignorance – they think the practice is customary. A second is fear – they don’t want to overpay. Third is gamesmanship – they want to push the envelope or test the waters.

Focus on your goal

You want to sell, right? In that case, the best way to respond to a low-ball offer is to counter it. Countering makes you appear open to negotiations. Countering makes you appear willing to deal.

“Don’t worry about how your willingness to counter is being perceived,” according to Bankrate.com. “What matters is the result. Remain gracious to all comers. Some sellers get so wrapped up in righteous indignation following an ‘insulting’ offer that they tell their agents to refuse all further communication from the offender. The only winner there is ego gratification, which has a monetized value of precisely zero.”

Don’t let the deal die

Many agents believe the psychology behind low-balling involves buyers who are, in fact, serious about your home. Such “lowbies,” as they are called, often will recalibrate and make a better offer. Then, they’ll make a better offer after that if you counter a second time. If the deal is going to fail, don’t let it be your fault, let it be the buyer’s.

Check the comps

Homes comparable to yours are good indicators of real-world sales prices in your neighborhood. Look at them and ask yourself whether you’ve set the bar too high. Comps change over time, so depending on how long your home has been on the market, it might be time to adjust how much you’re asking for it.

Consider the terms

Real-estate deals comprise much more than the price tag. They comprise closing dates, concessions and contingencies. If the offer made is lower than you had envisioned, but the buyer wants to close quickly, it might be worth a few thousand dollars. What if the buyer doesn’t care you conceded to replace the carpet or paint the interior as a condition of the sale. That could sweeten the pot. What if the buyer no longer required a home inspection? Look at the big picture, consult with your agent and make sure your decision is based on facts, not emotions.

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 FreeValues.com.

This article is brought to you by FreeValues.com, the #1 provider of Free Real Estate Values on the web.