Homes in our area are not moving, sometimes sitting on the market up to 6 months. We have our eye on 1 home

Asked by Delancy, Saint Louis, MO Fri Nov 9, 2007

in particular that's been on the market for 4 months (OLP $390,000.) They've lowered the price $30K. Current owners purchased the home in 2003 for $329,000 when it was a seller's market. Would an offer of $334,000 be considered a low-ball offer? Thx

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Mike Kelly A…, Agent, Santa Rosa, CA
Fri Nov 9, 2007
Nope! Only issues you run into will be resistance to the Seller having to dig into their pockets to close the sale as the costs of the sale will make the property a "Short-Sale". In our market what a Seller purchased for is not really relevant to the MARKET price. Have your Realtor/Licensee run a comparable market analysis of the homes in the area and find out what the recent comparable sales look like.
Word of caution: If all parties sign the contract and make it "subject to lender approval for a "Short-Sale" then be prepared for a long, protracted escrow with the LENDER dragging their feet! Give yourself an "opt-out" clause in 30 days allowing you to back out of the deal if the lender has yet to agree. Also, keep your deposit small as you don't want to hang up cash waitng for this lender to get off the dime. Have all your inspection timeslines PLUS appraisal begin upon lender approval.
Word of caution: occasionally the lender comes back and agrees with the terms of the sale then wants it closed in 7 days!! Talk to YOUR lender and see how fast they can peform in this market.
Don't waste your time with this property and find someone with some equity!!!
3 votes
Cynthia, , Buffalo, NY
Fri Nov 9, 2007
I am not familiar with the Saint Louis market, however, real estate theory typically applies in all areas, so I would have to say to you that if I were your agent, I would encourage you to put the offer on paper and present it to the sellers. The reality is that no one has offered them anything better and a buyer is willing to pay what a buyer is willing to pay, regardless of what the seller is asking.

However, I would ask your buyer's agent to do a market analysis for you. Make sure that the price you are considering is appropriate for that market. What is the appreciation percentage for that area? The only way to know if it is a low-ball offer is to compare it to these types of statistics. Lowball offer to me is defined as an offer significantly less than current market value. If the number you are considering is appropriate for market value, then it could not be considered a low ball! Good luck to you.
1 vote
Jennifer Wil…, Agent, Lake Saint Louis, MO
Wed Nov 14, 2007
Delancy, if I were the Realtor representing the sellers, let me tell you, I would be glad to get an offer and I would encourage my clients to see it the same way. I would also say that in this market, making a large profit after only four years of ownership is unlikely. In our area, offers seem to be 'lowball' if they are more than 10% less than asking price. I would go by their current asking price, not the original list. It would also be helpful to have comps for the home, to back up your offer if possible.

I understand that some folks feel they don't need representation, but I'm not sure why you wouldn't want one in a buyer situation. It is no cost to you (seller pays all commissions, even to buyer's agent) and research shows that you will get a better deal with representation than going it alone, especially if the other party is represented. What will happen in the case of the seller having a Realtor and you not having one is that the Seller's agent will get the ENTIRE commission- don't think you will get a better deal by not being represented!
That said, I would be happy to help you out if you're interested and need professional advice. I am familiar with much of St. Louis County. My company is a small, independent brokerage with a focus on customer service and relationship building, and over 80% of our business is based on referral. My website is, and my direct number is 314-651-3210 if you would like to call.
In any case- good luck getting that home!
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Delancy, Home Buyer, Saint Louis, MO
Fri Nov 9, 2007
Actually, we don't have a buyer's agent - YET. My husband thinks because we went FSBO with our current home (purchased in 1997) that we don't need one now either. I don't agree with him. In area, homes have seen only a 2.4% increase from 4th quarter, 2006. Also, we have an enormouse amount of foreclosures in the area.

One final question regarding the sale of our home. Based on the West St. Louis Co. we'll be lucky to get $275,000 for our 3bed, 2ba ranch. We have a problem with our concrete patio (ouch $$$$) -- my husband wants to sell the house "as is" but I think we should correct the problem to ensure a quicker sale.

Thanks again!
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Sylvia Barry,…, Agent, Marin, CA
Fri Nov 9, 2007
Hi DeLancy:

What does your Realtor say? I will be interested in knowing that. Hopefully he has already giving you a COMP (Comparable Market Anaylsis) on the property.

So, the originaly listing price is $390K, they dropped the price to $360K (how long ago is that?) and you want to offer $334K?

Is it a low ball offer - depedns on the comp, and how long has the house been sitting since the last price drop, how many houses are on the market that's cmparable, etc.

I agree with Cynthia, if you really want the house, make an offer on paper and present that to the buyers. Make the other terms sweet - all cash offer, high % of downpayment; short contingent period, not contingenty on the sale of your current house etc; then you just might have a good shot at it.

No, the house being vacant does not bring the value of the home down, unless it's not being maintained, then you have to be very careful when you do the inspections (which you should anyway); The market value really depends on the good old supply and demand.

As far as what Michale is saying, that this might be a Short Sale. I think we jump on that too quickly due to the current lending situation. However, this might not be a short sale. The original owner might have put a huge downpayment down or they might have paid off a lot of mortgage in the past 4 years, who knows. Unless your Realtor asks the listing agent, I won't worry too much about whether this is going to be a short sale or not.

So, ask your Realtor to give you a comp, make sure you are purchasing it at the price you want. Make sure your realtor is proficient and knowlegable to advise you with a good offering package and knows how to smoothly negotiate the deal for you.

Sylvia ,
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Delancy, Home Buyer, Saint Louis, MO
Fri Nov 9, 2007
Thanks for all the information everyone. I forgot to mention the home is vacant. Does this affect the "value" of the home?
0 votes
Trisha Lee, Agent, Columbia, MO
Fri Nov 9, 2007
Delancy -
Columbia (Missouri) is in the same situation as St Louis and you need to talk with your real estate professional about the current market..things that have actually SOLD in the last six months. Cynthia is right that asking things verbally is just fishing and an offer is not an offer until it is written, backed with equity and presented to all parties.

You never know what the sellers situation is and they might take the offer even though they would have to come to the table with cash for closing. More than likely they will take your offer and counter back at something more palatable for them. This is where your REALTOR earns their money. Being a good negotiatior makes you worth your weight in gold.

The determination of a "low-ball" offer is not the asking price, but the show market price from comparable sales. Just know what all houses are not created equal and one with the same square footage in the same neighborhood might have been less due to condition, age, upgrades or lack of, curb appeal, floorplan, etc. The raw numbers are just a tool to get to the complete picture.
Trisha Lee
RE/MAX Boone Realty
Columbia, MO
By the way, since you're in my part of the world, if you know of anyone coming to Columbia or Mid-Missouri, I'd love a referral from you or any of your friends, family or co-workers. (573) 999-1000
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