With this crazy market, what should you offer? Should I worry about offending the seller?

Asked by James Johnson, Niceville, FL Fri Nov 30, 2007

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Phil Fowler, Agent, Brandon, FL
Fri Nov 30, 2007
Ask yourself this question. Would it matter if you lose the property because of a low offer? Do your homework. Have a Realtor research the property and give you a current Comparative Market Analysis, CMA. Have them look at the foreclosures in the area also. See what homes are selling for in the area and what particular features does the home you are considering have. Everyone wants to come away from the closing table with a sense of satisfaction. The market is not that crazy in as much as people will just give away their homes. A low ball offer can certainly offend the seller if not presented properly and if you have not done your homework. Hope this helps.
Web Reference:  http://www.PhilFowler.com
3 votes
Karen Butler, Agent, Fort Walton Beach, FL
Sun Jan 13, 2008
Hi James, I do service the Niceville area, and as has been said the comparable sales will be a good indicator. Sometimes people think a ridiculously low offer is a good starting point, but that isn't necessarily the case. While you may want to offer $30-50-$100k lower, understand that this area and the surrounding Fort Walton Beach area is a relatively constant turnover with military relocations. And many homeowners who purchased their homes in the last 2-4 years have found the market dropped from under them, and they may not even have that equity in their homes today. It would be difficult for them to accept an offer for less than what they paid for thier home. That's why you are seeing short sales.

As the market has corrected itself, many are caught in that lurch, so definitely get with your Realtor to do the comps for you before making an offer you think may be offensive. But it is definitely a buyers market and you have a lot to choose from in the area. But all in all, sellers are trying to work with you, because you do have so many to choose from and they have their home on the market to sell it.

If you are not being represented by a Realtor, I would be happy to assist you with a market analysis of the property you are considering.
Web Reference:  http://www.KarenButler.com
2 votes
Fred Kissin…, Agent, Sparks, NV
Fri Nov 30, 2007
You always take a chance of offending the seller if you give a lowball offer. Especially if it absurdly low (like $150k for a $325k). But if you can back up the offer with current comps that show it is actually a realistic offer, you won't offend them, you will probably enlighten them. If their house has been on the market for more than 30 days, and assuming that where you are looking is still adjusting downward, it may well be listed too high. The only way you know is as Phil said, have your realtor run a new CMA and make your offer based on the latest comps. You will have much better chance of it being accepted.
Good luck!
2 votes
Peter Mohyls…, Agent, Destin, FL
Tue Jul 24, 2012
The local market is changing. it is never wise to really low ball an offer. Consult with a professional, do your research and make the offer you feel represents what you are willing to buy the property for.
1 vote
Sylvia Barry,…, Agent, Marin, CA
Fri Nov 30, 2007
Hi James:

Other than what was mentioned below, it also helps if you have a Realtor who has all the facts and is great at negotiating. They are the ones who will be able to work with the listing agent, present your case in a positive way, and help keep the deal together without offending either the listing agent or the seller. Yes, it can be done.

1 vote
Jim Olive, Agent, Key West, FL
Thu Jul 10, 2014
Sorry people...James has left the building! This question is 7 years old! But what I love the most is when agents answer the SAME question, many months apart and don't even realize it! Wouldn't it be helpful to review the other answers before responding? At least then you'd know that YOU had provided one of them.
0 votes
Michael Jose…, Home Owner, Gulf Breeze, FL
Thu Jul 10, 2014
I personally would never worry about offending a seller. I've seen sellers list their property up to 50k over value. On one I made an offer 40k less than his asking price. The seller countered giving me a price about 5k less as the lowest he would go. I walked away, that was a few months ago. The home is still on the market for almost 6 months now. He has lowered the price below his "lowest he would go" and it still won't sell. I've seen sellers list a property at market value or slightly above and list it in immaculate shape while it's in horrible shape. They waste my time and others as do the listing agent who would make such a statement. A home is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. Condition of the home and major components are a factor as is the economy. If a seller gets offended let them. It would be more of a lose for you if you didn't make the offer, because you were worried about offending someone and it ended up selling for that price or less.
0 votes
Sharon Skelly, Agent, Niceville, FL
Thu Jul 10, 2014
Offer what your Realtor can show as the market value. I know that sounds obvious but one thing I have learned in 25 years if that sellers want more than a house is worth and buyers want to buy for less than a house is worth. The middle ground is usually the real value.
0 votes
Peter Mohyls…, Agent, Destin, FL
Sat May 25, 2013
The percentage of houses that sell at list price is incredible. The bottom line is how much you are willing to buy the house for. Or how upset you will be if you don't get the house.
0 votes
hammerdrvr, Home Buyer, Fort Walton Beach, FL
Wed Sep 5, 2012
is the market still crazy?
0 votes
Sameer Punja…, Agent, Vallejo, CA
Mon Aug 30, 2010
wow, this post was from 3 years ago and its still getting answers. It sure is still a crazy market, isnt it?
0 votes
Mike Harris, Agent, Mary Esther, FL
Sun Aug 29, 2010
A good starting point on a house is about 10% lower than a good CMA.
Of course the price should reflect the age of the home,. The condition and area.
Get an aggressive buyers agent.
0 votes
James Johnson, Home Buyer, Niceville, FL
Mon Mar 10, 2008
Well, we have found a house. We close soon. I do understand your value of a CMA, but I offered what I thought was reasonable and below the CMA. The market is declining and where it goes is hard to determine. Many sellers will look at the CMA and pass up opportunities to sell and still walk away with a profit. Those who bought in 04-06, will have problems. Many current sellers saw what their neighbors made few years ago and expect the same results. They won the lottery, the rest of the market needs to search themselves for what a reasonable offer is.
0 votes
Sherry Carro…, , Destin, FL
Thu Feb 28, 2008
James, Your agent should present your offer with a CMA showing what other homes have sold for in that immediate area. It would be reasonable for your offer to be on the low end of homes sold. In this market we have some buyers going from home to home making really low ball offers just to see which offer will be accepted. In most cases the sellers will not even counteroffer. If you are looking for a home to live in then your priority should be that you love the property, you can afford it and you feel it is a good investment for you and your family. Good luck!
0 votes
Myke Atwater, Agent, Santa Rosa Beach, FL
Sun Feb 24, 2008
contact me here in Niceville, and I will assist you in making an appropriate offer on an appropriate property--looking out for you. If your offer is serious and not ridiculous, you should not be concerned with "offending" anyone. Every buyer loves a good deal, and a seller wants a "fair" deal!!
Web Reference:  http://www.MykeTriebold.com
0 votes
Paula Bean, , Orlando, FL
Fri Nov 30, 2007
James, you are right - this market IS crazy! Having said that, I would highly encourage you to take the advice given so far by Sylvia, Fred and Phil.

Many buyers listen to the media about how bad the market is... but real estate is local. Not sure where Niceville is, but I would encourage you to get a good buyers agent and do comps to see what the house is worth.

Most sellers right now are in a tight spot, BUT that does not mean they can take a ridiculously lowball offer, they have to pay the mtg off, closing costs and their agent, and hopefully have enough left over to move. How would YOU feel if you got an offer of $300 on your house you knew was worth $400 -$450?

You have to decide a fair market value, couple that with how much you like the house, neighborhood, schools, etc, and make a fair offer so that you and the seller are both happy.

It's about a win-win situation, not a rape-rape scenario. As a buyer, you have many other hurdles to go through after the price negotiation that you will need the sellers help with, so you do not want to insult them with a real lowball offer.

In the long run, you could lose more by having a home inspection issue, you'll need more negotiation on that and if you make the seller upset, how willing are they to help you with that?

Survey, appraisal, and closing. What if paperwork from your lender takes too long to get to closing agent and you need to request a one or two day extension? This happens often, so in the long run, my advice is to get a good agent, offer a fair price and try to keep everyone happy........ you are in stage ONE of the buying game, many other stages to go through still!

Then again, as Phil mentioned: would you care if you lost the deal? do you really want the house? what is most important to you? A home - or feeling like you won the price war?

Only you can answer that question, but please don't put sellers in that position if you aren't truly interested in their house. As a sellers agent for almost 30 yrs, I can't tell you how distressing this is when they think someone loves their home as much as they do, then get an offer that is insulting.

Would you want someone to do that to you? I'm not saying don't try to get a good price, just don't beat someone up over it, because the behinds you kick on your way up the ladder, may very well be the ones you have to kiss on your way back down the ladder.

Be nice, play fair, have fun, but most of all, look for a HOME, and don't make price the most important issue to wage a war upon or depress a seller who thought you might be the one they'd love to see move into their "home". It's an emotional thing.... and I'll guarantee you if you go way too low, you will lose in the long run over the other issues such as home inspection, appraisal, etc. . . . get a GREAT AGENT and follow their advice.
0 votes
Lorie Gould, Agent, Duluth, GA
Fri Nov 30, 2007
If an offer is presented properly and supported by recent data and market predictions than you should not offend the seller... it might bruise the ego but it should not shut down communications if the offer is supported. Are you wondering what I mean by market predictors? If your market is still correcting meaning prices are still slipping downward than you would want to bring forth an offer below that last comparable.

Sellers are very aware of the current market. I would just strongly suggest not personally knocking their home in the hopes of getting a better price... that would offend. I see people do it all the time.
0 votes
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