Consider before you ignore or outright refuse a very low purchase offer for your home. A counteroffer and negotiation could turn that low purchase offer into a sale.
Check your emotions
A purchase offer, even a very low one, means someone wants to purchase your home. Unless the offer is laughably low, it deserves a cordial response, whether thatâ€™s a counteroffer or an outright rejection. Remain calm and discuss with your real estate agent the many ways you can respond to a lowball purchase offer.
Counter the purchase offer
Unless youâ€™ve received multiple purchase offers, the best response is to counter the low offer with a price and terms youâ€™re willing to accept. Some buyers make a low offer because they think thatâ€™s customary, theyâ€™re afraid theyâ€™ll overpay, or they want to test your limits.Â
A counteroffer signals that youâ€™re willing to negotiate. One strategy for your counteroffer is to lower your price, but remove any concessions such as seller assistance with closing costs, or features such as kitchen appliances that youâ€™d like to take with you.
Consider the terms
Price is paramount for most buyers and sellers, but itâ€™s not the only deal point. A low purchase offer might make sense if the contingencies are reasonable, the closing date meets your needs, and the buyer is preapproved for a mortgage. Consider what terms you might change in a counteroffer to make the deal work.
Review your comps
Ask your REALTORÂ® whether any homes that are comparable to yours (known as â€œcompsâ€) have been sold or put on the market since your home was listed for sale. If those new comps are at lower prices, you might have to lower your price to match them if you want to sell.
Consider the buyerâ€™s comps
Buyers sometimes attach comps to a low offer to try to convince the seller to accept a lower purchase offer. Take a look at those comps. Are the homes similar to yours? If so, your asking price might be unrealistic. If not, you might want to include in your counteroffer information about those homes and your own comps that justify your asking price.
If the buyers donâ€™t include comps to justify their low purchase offer, have your real estate agent ask the buyersâ€™ agent for those comps.
Get the agents together
If the purchase offer is too low to counter, but you donâ€™t have a better option, ask your real estate agent to call the buyerâ€™s agent and try to narrow the price gap so that a counteroffer would make sense. Also, ask your real estate agent whether the buyer (or buyerâ€™s agent) has a reputation for lowball purchase offers. If thatâ€™s the case, you might feel freer to reject the offer.
Donâ€™t signal desperation
Buyers are sensitive to signs that a seller may be receptive to a low purchase offer. If your home is vacant or your homeâ€™s listing describes you as a â€œmotivatedâ€ seller, youâ€™re signaling youâ€™re open to a low offer.Â
If you can remedy the situation, maybe by renting furniture or asking your agent not to mention in your home listing that youâ€™re motivated, the next purchase offer you get might be more to your liking.
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Marcie Geffner is a freelance reporter who has been writing about real estate, homeownership and mortgages for 20 years. She owns a ranch-style house built in 1941 and updated in the 1990s, in Los Angeles.
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