Countering a counter offer: We recently submitted an offer for a home in Carmel Valley at $80,000 below

Asked by Monica, Carmel Valley, CA Mon Mar 17, 2008

asking (about 12% of price) and got a counter offer that was only $10,000 less than asking. If there is a $70,000 gap between the offer and counteroffer, does it even make sense to counter the counteroffer? If so, what is a solid number that's not too insulting? We are not willing to meet them half way, but can go up about 10,000 to 15000 more....

We feel that in a declining market, we can't offer them any more than that....

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Steve, Both Buyer And Seller, Arizona
Wed Mar 19, 2008
Move on......most private sellers are in denial about home prices. Unless you are "in love" with the property, which is the only reason that you would pay more than it's "worth", find a more realistic seller.

"The deal of a lifetime happens about every other week" - Robert Ringer
4 votes
Monique & Joe…, Agent, Beverly Hills, CA
Tue Mar 18, 2008
Hello Monica,

If you want to meet them half way you are probably going to have to come up a little more than 15k. I would respond to there offer. The deal is dead if you don't so it's a ball in the air!Your offer of 70k below was a low ball offer (good work) now keep going until you stop where you can go and it's your best and final.


Monique Carrabba
3 votes
Robert T. Bo…, , San Diego, CA
Wed Apr 30, 2008
It sounds like you have already decided to move on, and that is great. I recently did an analysis of what the eventual sales price ends up being relative to the listing price and as importantly, the old listing price (they drop over time). You can find it at labeled as "Foreclosures and Short Sales".

In short, a properly priced home still moves quickly and reasonably close to the asking price (but that makes sense if it was well priced). Badly prices properties languish on the market and their price drops over time. The report contains several charts that clearly demonstrate the statistics.

That being said, every property is different and every seller is different. Check the comps and make your offer accordingly.
2 votes
Don Tepper, Agent, Burke, VA
Tue Apr 29, 2008
First, don't worry about insulting the sellers. And, frankly, apparently you didn't. You submitted an offer, and they countered. If they'd been insulted, they wouldn't have countered. What their offer says is, "We want to sell reasonably close to what our house is listed for. You appear serious enough that we'd like another offer from you somewhat closer to our price." And that's fine.

What you've got to do is determine: (1) the real value of the house, and (2) what you can reasonably afford to pay. The lower of those two numbers is the maximum you can or should pay...not a penny more. Then you decide how much you really want the house; the more you want it, the higher your offer can be...but still not one penny more than the lower of those two, earlier numbers. And if you can only go up another $10,000 or $15,000, there you have your ceiling.

Hope that helps.
2 votes
J.D. "Dan" &…, Agent, Orange Park, FL
Wed Mar 19, 2008

You need to have your agent look at recent sales and determine if the seller has a realistic price or if you have a realistic offer.

JD "Dan" Weisenburger, GRI
Vanguard Realty, Inc., GMAC Real Estate
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2 votes
Dot Chance, Agent, Burbank, CA
Tue Mar 18, 2008
Hi, Monica. Ask your Realtor to run comps for the area and see what other like homes in the area are going for. That will give you the answer you are looking for. If the homes are going for $70k less than the asking price of this home then point that out. However if they are priced right according to the comps then maybe you should look at a different property.

As far as insulting them, it is probably too late to worry about that at this point! They were probably insulted with the first offer and that may be why they only came down $ can always submit your highest and best and then walk away if that is not good enough.

All the best to you!
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2 votes
fredeckert, Agent, San Diego, CA
Tue Mar 18, 2008
Have you considered asking the sellers to pay for points to buydown your interest rate on the loan you would use to buy the home with. You could offer slightly more than you have so far and ask that the sellers pay for 2-4 points towards closing One point on a loan of $500,000 would cost the seller $5,000, two points is $10,000 etc. Since 1 point is about a 1/4 % difference in your interest rate, you could get a better/cheaper loan. This tactic could make it more affordable for you to buy the property, even if you didn't get it for the price you wanted.
If you go to the site shown below, you can see an article about seller incentives. You might get other ideas on what else you could ask for. Please feel free to call me if you have questions. 619.507.5688
2 votes
Sarah Dupree, Agent, Carlsbad, CA
Sat May 24, 2008
I'm curious to know what happened. Did you end up getting the house? Counter offers can be tricky because you never know who is on the other end receiving it. Some are people who really want to sell and others become very upset if they feel an offer has belittled their home. A lot of emotions go along with selling.

So, I wanted to know what you did and if it worked.


1 vote
Roberta Murp…, Agent, Carlsbad, CA
Fri May 9, 2008

Your question is a good one and I appreciate your barganing prowess.

Though choosing a future home is an emotional process, it is important to look at the real and probable value of a home. In other words, how fairly-priced was the home to begin with? Many sellers are recognizing the raging buyers' market we are in and price their property aggressively and accordingly.

These homes may need little if any negotiation.

Other properties have sellers who still imagine we are in the market of two years ago. Market realities are unwelcome in this environment.

Our best advice is to independently determine the fair market value of a property within the context of current market conditions--and to construct your offer accordingly.
1 vote
L. Ann Mitch…, , Snellville - and surrounding areas
Wed Mar 26, 2008
Although I am not a realtor in your area, if the seller only adjusts the price by $10k and you were hoping for $65 -70k below maket value and that is ALL you can afford to purchase then you are wasting your time by making another counter. It is a buyers market but you have to keep in mind that all sellers are not willing to give away their homes. If you are willing to counter $20k below the asking then you may be able to work something out with the seller.
1 vote
Monica, Home Buyer, Carmel Valley, CA
Wed Mar 19, 2008
Thanks for all the advice. Steve hit the nail on the head. When we tried to go back with a higher offer, the owner won't hear of anything other than a price within $15,000 of the asking! I consider that pretty shocking considering the market... We'll be moving on to find better opportunities.
1 vote
Catherine Ba…, Agent, Carlsbad, CA
Tue Mar 18, 2008
Hi Monica,

I think as a buyer you need to decide how much you are willing to pay and make the offer accordingly. Whether it is 10,000 or 15,000 more that your current offer. I would explain this to your agent so they understand that this is your max, that way they can tell the other agent. This sometimes helps with the seller realizing that this is all you are going to offer and if they are really movitvated, they might just re-think what they are willing to take.

Hope this helps...
Catherine Barden
1 vote
I realize these posts are quite dated now, though for the sake of others reading this in the future I personally wouldn't recommend telling your agent what your "max" is. I don't see any benefit in the other agent/seller knowing what your max is, as that removes any chance of bargaining further. I would play the counter offer game (or choose to put in a "final offer") until the other side gives up.

Readers - please realize that many of the responses on this forum are posted by agents. While they have vast experience and knowledge of real estate transactions, always remember that they earn income based on whether homes sell or not. It is your job as a buyer or seller to act in your own best interest. An agent's best interest is to complete a sale, while your best interest may vary widely (from purchasing the ideal home, to paying an ideal price).
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Cindy Greenw…, , San Diego, CA
Tue Mar 18, 2008
If you are comfortable offering 15K more than the last counteroffer then have your agent write another counter offer and ask him/her to let the seller's agent know that this will be the FINAL offer. Many times that's just a ploy, but in this market sellers have to understand that they may not see another offer for a very, very long time. Sellers have to be very careful not to blow the one and only deal they may have for a while. I appreciate that you are sensitive to the seller's feelings but this is a business transaction and everyone has to understand this is business. Good luck.... I hope you get your house!
Cindy Greenwald Prudential CA Realty 619-971-4584
1 vote
Joan Patters…, Agent, Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Sat Nov 24, 2012
Do you know what the comparable homes are selling for in the market? Remember, they don't have to sell to you. Your price may be too insulting. The problem you are facing is there is a lack of inventory out there right now. If the seller does not need to sell, and they know how much their home is really worth-why would they need to lower their sales price? They can just wait for someone who is willing to pay the price (if it really is not out of line with the current market). We are not in a declining market right now.

Make sure you know the true value of the home, otherwise, you are wasting everyone's time. If you really don't love the home then maybe you should look at others out there. Your realtor should be able to tell you if the home is listed too high. If it is, then decide what price you would like to pay. It looks like the seller is not willing to go $80,000 below asking. So, you need to decide to come up to their asking price or someone else may.

Joan Patterson, B.A., G.R.I., Realtor, License #01431647
Keller Williams Realty
0 votes
Robert Miller, , San Diego, CA
Wed May 7, 2008
The market is declining more in some areas than others. Carmel Valley is enjoying a very stable market and has done so for some time now. If you go to Carlsbad, Oceanside, Escondido, Chula Vista, or El Cajon, you can start your offer lower as you did. Many of the North County Coastal zip codes haven't been as affected as the areas I just mentioned. Because Carmel Valley's school test scores are so high, it is one of the many reasons why it is such a desirable place to live.
0 votes
Caroline O'B…, Agent, Delafield, WI
Tue Apr 29, 2008
It all depends on the original price of the property, condition of the property ect. Was it priced properly? You need the expertise of a professional buyer's agent to help you negotiate. I would suggest continuing with your negotiations after being fully informed by a professional
0 votes
David, , La Jolla, CA
Mon Apr 7, 2008
Just this week, I lost out on a home close by that had over 12 offers. Of course it was bank owned! Isnt that the only thing selling these days? Well, there is the exception to every rule... but I would let the sellers, "sweat it out" for a couple of days.. Real sellers today wont let qualified buyer walk.. unless someone else is making the decisions, like a bank or 2 banks...

Have your agent knock on a couple of doors next door, he might just find a seller in the midst of a quick sale. You will be surprised to find how many sellers are waiting in wings to strategically position their listings for spring and summer rush..

I have 3 pocket listings in Carmel Valley just waiting to hit the market... Gated, pool and next to preserve.
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0 votes
A, , San Diego County, CA
Mon Apr 7, 2008
I definitely agree with Maryann---Carmel Valley isin demand due to location and schools...houses prices have not nose dived there like in other areas. Here is my best advice; have your agent do the comps and have them present them to you with photos etc.... Maybe you are off and you don't know it? If the sellers are unrealistic and you are not willing to meet them half way..then know that. Go ahead and counterback and see what happens. If you don't get the house..then move on.
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0 votes
Hi, , Virginia
Tue Apr 1, 2008
your offer was probably more than reasonable
wait until its foreclosured REO
then you only have to deal with a bank


good luck

0 votes
Marilia Cath…, , 92101
Wed Mar 26, 2008
This is your market and you should make an offer that makes sense to you.
If the seller is stuck on their price you should increase the offer another $10K and if that is not acceptable to the seller then you should move on.
There are plenty of sellers who will want to work with you.
I have been a realtor in San Diego for the past 34 years and I always tell buyers that they should make their offer on what makes sense to them and be willing to compromise if it is the home that they want and it it properly priced.
Don't hesitate to call me at 619 300-5008 or visit my web site if I can further assist you.
0 votes
John the Bru…, Home Buyer, Connecticut
Wed Mar 19, 2008
Steve's right. If your Realtor(tm) is not embarrassed presenting your offer to the seller, then you're offering too much.
0 votes
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