Home Buying in 95060>Question Details

Shakedown, Home Buyer in Santa Rosa, CA

If you offer full asking price on a house can the owners counter offer at a higher price?Is this a common practice?

Asked by Shakedown, Santa Rosa, CA Thu Nov 24, 2011

Help the community by answering this question:


The Seller/Owners can do anything they like. Is what you describe common, absolutely not. Is it smart, absolutely not. Were I you, I'd tell my agent to counter with 5% less than full price and the offer to pay for the Sellers to visit a doctor to find out if they have rocks in the head. Then I'd walk away. While it is a free market economy and the market absolutely will at one point favor Sellers again, this is not that time particuarly in California. It's a buyers market and unforntunately you've found one of the few Sellers that apparently hasn't gotten the memo.
Do yourself a favor and move on.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 25, 2011
If there are multiple offers on the house, then yes. It's a matter of how much demand there is for this particular property. Think of it as an auction, e-bay for instance. We're all in a market where the highest bidder wins. If there are no bids, and you're the only person offering to bid, then YOU are in the drivers seat and you can offer a LOWER price, if the seller is desperate enough, they may accept your offer.

It's a free Market society and it can swing in both directions.

Hope this helps on your bid.

Ray Garcia
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 24, 2011
I would have your agent try to find out more about why the seller is doing this. In the past, I have had Seller's who received Multiple Offers and issued Counter Offers to "Equalize" the various offers and let all the buyers' agents know the situation so the buyers that truly wanted the place could bid even higher than the counter that was received, like an auction. IF inspection reports were not previously provided by the seller, these deals can leave a sour taste when buyer finds problems. If you get the chance to be in back-up position behind an over-exuberent buyer, please take it, you may be pleasantly rewarded.


Molly Thompson, Broker Associate, APR
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 13, 2012
Hello Shakedown,
As Lauri suggested, if you presented a purchase offer that waived ALL contingencies, (i.e. appraisal, inspection, financing) and were the only offer (that's hard to know) you have placed the seller into a difficult position from which to negotiate a higher price. The seller DID make the first offer to sell the home at the listed price.

Yes, the attorney would love to be invited into this money chain. However, take care to know what exactly you hope to gain from such action and whether that is worth the cost and effort.

There is an additional factor to consider. Was the home a FSBO? Was the home listed by a 'no-service' brokerage? Did you respond to a bandit sign on blvd median to locate this home? When you choose to go the 'black hat' route, you should understand you going in naked.

Best of success in finding your new home.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 25, 2011
If you are the only offer, and you meet all the terms and full asking price of the seller, I would say no, they cannot raise the asking price, and you could seek a lawyer to make them perform. Just as if a Realtor brings a ready, willing and able buyer and the seller doesn't accept the offer, a Realtor may sue for their commission.

On the other hand, if you are asking for any kind of concessions such as asking them to pay any closing costs, etc., yes they may raise the price so they net what they originally intended. The problem with that in this market is the house must still appraise for the purchase price and may not appraise for a higher price.

Also, if they have another offer they are interested in, they could counter both offers with their terms and take whichever one meets what they are asking for.

The practice of asking a low asking price to get in offers and then arbitrarily raising the price, I would consider to be unethical. If a seller gives the price and terms he/she is willing to sell for, they should honor that contract.

Just remember, if they start out messing with you and there is already a lack of trust, they will more than likely mess with you all through escrow, and it may not be worth the frustration, etc.
Good luck in your hunt for a new home.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 24, 2011
Yes. The owners can counter at a higher price.

No. It's not a common practice. But it does happen. Sometimes a property will intentionally be priced low to get offers. Sometimes there will be multiple offers. Sometimes someone may offer full price, but with terms that aren't acceptable. Sometimes the seller develops "seller's remorse" or thinks, after the fact, that they priced it too low. Sometimes an offer will come in very soon after the listing, leading the seller to believe (sometimes correctly, sometimes not) that it was priced too low to begin with.

Hope that helps.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 24, 2011
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Fairfax, VA
Yes because listing price is not an offer. By listing agreement seller soliciting the offer.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 24, 2011

The seller has the right to counter any offers that are presented. Sellers will often raise the purchase price if the buyer is requesting closing costs. Also, sellers may counter the asking price when there are multiple offers resulting in a higher price.

Your realtor can prepare "Competitive Market Analysis" or CMA, on comparable properties, to help you come up with an educated opinion on the worth of the property. A seller may choose to raise the price but the home has to appraise.

Don’t get so caught up in negotiations that you lose sight of what you want and what you can afford! Best wishes in your home purchase.

Carol Perdew
Prudential California Realty
(209) 239-7979
DRE 985176
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 24, 2011
Yes, they can. Whether it's a good idea or not is a different question. The seller has no obligation to accept any offer, even one that meets their asking price. There are times that other terms of your offer may cause them to come back with a higher price - for example, if you have financing terms that will result in a longer escrow period or a lower chance of closing escrow such as an FHA loan. Also, in a multiple offer situation the price could be bid up. It's also possible they set the price lower than market value to stimulate offers.

I'm assuming you have an experienced agent with knowledge of the local market who is assisting you with your offer, and who is giving you good guidance about what the market value is of the home you are making an offer on. If that's not the case, you may want to seek that out. Happy Thanksgiving!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 24, 2011
In a word, yes. If you made a perfect full price offer, with no contingencies, you may have a legal argument that sellers are obliged to accept your offer, but in practical terms it would be difficult to enforce. Fortunately, this is not a common practice. I see this most often in response to some condition the buyer places on the offer. For example, buyer may make an offer contingent on the sale of their current home or buyers may propose an unusually long escrow period. Sellers may be reluctant to accept this condition unless the buyer is willing to pay more.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 6, 2014
The sellers can counter back for any reason they decide. If there are multiple offers the seller will certainly counter and ask for your "Highest and Best" possible offer. My best advice to any home buyer is to make their very best offer on the first attempt. Seller's like to see short escrow periods, no contingencies and pre-approved buyers. A nice sized earnest money deposit always looks nice as well.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 18, 2014
If you are the only buyer making an offer, it is unusual. That being said, crazier things have happened. Many properties are now receiving multiple offers, and that often results in a sales price above the asking price. List prices can set unrealistic expectations, so it's important to consult with your agent to evaluate market conditions and create a successful negotiation strategy.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 16, 2014
The market dictates what happens in negations. If there are multiple offer seller will often
ask the buyers to come back with their highest and best offer. In a hot market that could be higher than asking price. Your agent should be able to give you some guidance.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 26, 2014
If we have met the sellers price can the seller sell to a lower bid offer and exclude us because of race? Could we sue to make them sell to us.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 26, 2013
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