Home Buying in Somerset>Question Details

Allison, Other/Just Looking in 08873

What does the phrase "motivated sellers--present all offers" really mean? I'm seeing this more and more, but how low can you go below

Asked by Allison, 08873 Tue Jul 20, 2010

asking price. That's what gets me--when I see this phrase, the list price is way too high!

Help the community by answering this question:


Hi Allison.....

I think terms like the one above just mean, "make me a stupid offer, I'm exhausted and burned out from trying to sell my home, just throw something at me and maybe you'll get me at the right moment and I'll say yes, SOLD!" This is a prime example of 'not knowing where someone's head is on a particular day. Maybe they're going through a divorce, probate, difficult financial times, who knows.

In a perfect world, a home listed for $500K will sell for $375-400K. I think that's a good starting point, about 30%.


Scott Miller, Realty Associates, Boca Raton, FL
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 20, 2010
it also may mean:

"I know the list price is too high - the sellers won't listen to me (their agent) - they really DO want to sell, so Please Please, Please make an offer, and let's see if we can work it out! PLEASE - just put it on paper and let's talk!"

3 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 20, 2010
It means they are interested in seeing an offer come in. You should not hesitate to write what you feel the property is worth and not feel you are insulting the seller. The seller and agent are essentially saying no offer will insult them, however if they don't like what they see, they will probably counter-offer. You will see "present all offers" in uncertain markets.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 17, 2010
Several good answers for you already Allison. As to what does "motivated seller - present all offers" really mean: If used properly, with the permission of the seller, it SHOULD mean that the seller NEEDS to sell. That would imply that the property will be sold and that the seller is not just testing the market to see what they can get and if they don't get what they want they will take it off the market. "Motivated" should mean that the seller has to sell for some reason. The reason could be any variety of situations, like they have bought another home; they have been transferred or found a job elsewhere and need to move on. There could be financial pressure to sell but they are not in a short sale situation. And myriad more possibilities about their motivation.
Work with a good buyer’s agent, preferably a Realtor®, in your locale to get the best information about a particular property of interest. If the seller is represented by a competent listing agent you should be able to get a good sense of what offer is appropriate. While you are 'just looking' start interviewing agents in the town where you intend to buy. then, when you become a serious buyer, you will know which agent you will hire.
Web Reference: http://www.GWalsh.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 21, 2010
It means don't be afraid to make any offer. Sometimes buyers are afraid to make what they feel is a low offer because they don't want to offend the seller. A smart seller will look at anything and decide if it's something they want to counter or work with. The worst thing that can happen to a buyer is the seller can say no.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 20, 2010
I couldn't agree more - price is the driver in this market. Tucking incentives into the narrative will NOT do the job and it may well do more harm than good. Similar to overpricing, phrases like this may draw low ball offers. The answer is to adjust the pricing - and yes, just below market is a great idea - to the point that buyers come forward and are motivated to put pen to paper.

Jeanne Feenick
Unwavering Commitment to Service
Web Reference: http://www.feenick.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 17, 2010
Think about it; there are a limited number of spaces to describe the property. When an agent has nothing else, she will often type "motivated seller etc." But a seller is always motivated to sell, otherwise they would not sign a listing agreement to market their house. If a house has plenty of features, there is no room for fillers such as motivated seller. Present all offers- an agent is required to present all offers to seller by law. So the value of this is less than zero. Again, nothing else to say. As a buyer, you may be thinking, a desparate seller, maybe they will take a lot less than list price. If that were the case, they would price it at that lower level.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 29, 2010
It's an old school marketing ploy. It would be better to price it right. My read of that is usually it's overpriced and or market worn.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 26, 2010
I agree with Nathan. Sounds like mumbo jumbo marketing ploy to me. Best to be straight forward. Buyers are smart and will not fall for this.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 25, 2010
A motivated seller will list their home at 5% below what comparable homes are selling for. That phrase should be outlawed because it doesn't tell anyone anything.

And the last time I checked, the agent has a responsibility to present all offers.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 24, 2010
The truly motivated homeowner should consider lowering the asking price rather than advertising there property in this manner. It seems to beg for a low ball offer.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 24, 2010
Hi Allison,

There is no one meaning for it. It may be overpriced, and the Sellers can't seem to bring themselves to price it in the market. They don't want to commit that low in hopes that someone might come in over market price. Or it could be, as said before, that it is expiring and the agent is desperate to get something going while they have a chance to sell it. It could indicate a level of desperation on the Seller's part. I won't put that in a listing without the Seller's permission, or unless they direct me to do so. Is the property in short sale? Maybe it is a last ditch effort to get the process started and they need a contract to do it. I find it means little in this market. I do like to see that in some cases, because I do get asked if I think the Sellers would accept a lower price on listings, sometimes. I figure if the buyer is willing, it's worth a shot if they really like the home. I find for the most part that it is useless in a Buyers' market. Pricing the home as low as a Seller is willing to go and cutting to the chase is the best bet. The home doesn't continue to drop in value, it doesn't become stigmatized on the market, and the Seller realizes the highest rate of return for a quicker sale. The idea that a buyer "will make an offer" on an overpriced home doesn't work in a Buyers' market. There may be dozens of other choices on the market and Buyers start in the bottom of their range and work up. With all of the homes to choose from these days, they are almost sure to find their home before they reach the top of their range. They also don't have to get sentimentally attached to a home they may not be able to afford. Even though they are motivated - they still may be unwilling or unable.
Web Reference: http://www.DianneScott.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 22, 2010
A lot of times it doesn't mean squat other than ... "Listing agent is about ready to lose the listing 'cause his seller is ticked off at him, please, please, please bring me an offer ... please"
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 21, 2010
Hi Allison,
Motivated Seller quite simply means time is a factor more than price.
There is no hard set rule for how much of a discount you can take.
However 5% may be reasonable. Shooting for more than that is not realistic.
You stated motivated seller on a high list price,....
In my opinion it means the agent is motivated and not the seller.

Harold Sharpe - Broker
So Cal Homes Realty
(951) 821-8211
California Department of Real Estate License # 01312992
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 21, 2010
Nowadays it means "I hope someone offers me more than my house is worth, but if you're a smart buyer and know it isn't, please make an offer". I will not put this on one of my listings. I explain to my sellers most buyers think the phrase reeks of desperation. Price it right and they won't have to beg for offers. Allison, I'm sure you're educated about what homes are selling for, if you see a home you like, have your buyer agent do comps and make your offer accordingly. I do usually advise my buyer clients, however, that when a home is overpriced the seller likely WON'T listen to a reasonable offer. They're head is in the ground. Or somewhere else. :)
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 19, 2010
Many sellers decline to reduce their price when advised by their own agents. After multiple buyer showings and feedback such as, "great home, but priced too high" the seller often responds "I can't believe no one has presented an offer, even if low". This usually results in agents marketing the home as "motivated sellers" in search of new interest and offers. A serious seller will listen to the agent they have hired and price the home to fit the market conditions from the start. A knowledgeable buyers agent from your area can guide you to the right home at the right price.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 19, 2010
This can mean many things. Often, it results when a seller won't take the advice of their agent on pricing. Sometimes, the seller insists that if someone want's it, they'll make an offer and if it's priced at the price they'd accept, there'd be no negotiating room. Sometimes the seller decides that it's worth the sum of the upgrades they put into it-even though they may not be the upgrades the buyer would have paid for. There are many theories sellers can come up on how they'd get the most money. Many times, the agent must list high and let them learn for themselves how it plays out. Being an agent reminds me of being a Mother in many ways.

At the same time, many of these sellers really need to sell. They don't have a lot of experience in selling homes and they aren't sure whether to trust the agent because they just met them. They may even be convinced that pricing high is the way to go and their agent would get them the price they want...or at least an offer... if the agent was "any good".

What would you write if you were their agent?

The agent representing a buyer in this situation should do a CMA (comparison of prices of similar homes in area). From this, the buyer should write a reasonable offer. The agent should then call the listing agent and make an appointment to meet with the seller and their agent and present the offer. This consists of talking up the buyer's qualifications and why they like the property,, presenting the offer and using the CMA as support for the offer & the buyer's hesitancy to go higher.
Web Reference: http://coronasbesthomes.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 17, 2010
Often sellers decline to reduce their price when coached by their sellers' agent to do so. When buyer visits generate feedback that the property "is nice, but priced too high" - the seller often responds "Why don't they just make an offer?" A sellers' agent will explain that some buyers will, and many others will not, just make an offer. Some buyers, instead, will move on to an alternate property.

This is s a typical conversation that results in the listing agent placing "motivated sellers - present all offers" in the listing. Some sellers will respond to a low offer defensively. The most serious sellers will listen to market feedback and make price adjustments accordingly.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 14, 2010
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Brick, NJ

Good question! A few year ago, it often meant that one could acquire a property for a signicant amount off asking. Today, I am finding that I can puruse one "motivated seller" who is willing to negotiate substanti\ally off list, but more often than not, I'm find that "motivated sellers" mean little and this verbiage is merely a avenue within which listing agents get offers to be written. That is not to say that there are not truly "motivated sellers" out there, but again more often than not I'm finding myself as an RE Agent scratching my head over this terminology.

Love and Peace,
Francesca, ePro, SRES
732.606.2931 (24/7)
Web Reference: http://www.PatrizioRE.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 14, 2010
Hi Allison, to expand on my prior response, giving this more thought, I'd advise my seller who was considering adding "motivated seller - present all offers" to the comments that a price reduction would be far more compelling. The fact is this - today's buyers know the market and pricing well largely due to the wealth of info available online. As a result, buyers recognize when a home is priced correctly and when it hits that "strike price" bingo, action in the form of activity and offers, and ultimately a sale/

So to the "motivated sellers" out there I say this - take a step back and review your price. If you are priced correctly, you've said it all. If you are not, then adjust now. In either case, your price will do the talking.

Jeanne Feenick
Unwavering Commitment to Service
Web Reference: http://www.feenick.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 14, 2010
Don't worry about asking price. Asking price doesn't matter. It's irrelevant.

First, have a Realtor do a CMA to determine how much the property is really worth. That establishes the ceiling--the most you should pay.

Second, take the claim "motivated sellers--present all offers at face value." Maybe it's true. Maybe it's not. But there's only one way to find out how motivated they are: Make an offer.

So, your question is how low can you go. Not how low below the listing price. But how low you can go beyond what the CMA suggests is the market value. After all, the sellers claim they're motivated to sell.

Investors consider a seller motivated if an offer of 35% or more below the after-repair value, after subtracting for needed repairs, is accepted. Example: A home would be worth $500,000 after being fixed up. So you drop the number down to $325,000 and then subtract needed repairs. Say it only needs $10,000 in repairs. An investor would offer no more than $315,000. If the seller accepts, that's fine. If not, then the seller isn't motivated enough.

That's just a rough guide and in "retail" real estate the number to determine if the seller is motivated would be somewhat higher. Maybe, in the example above, $375,000-$400,000.

No one's a mind reader. (Well, except perhaps for the Amazing Kreskin!) So it's difficult to gauge whether the seller is really motivated, or whether the seller can even afford to accept a low offer. Therefore: Don't worry about it. If the listing says the seller is motivated, all you can do is assume the seller's motivated.

You may actually run into some resistance from your own agent, who might be embarrassed to make such a low offer. Don't worry about it. If you don't make an offer at all, your agent has no chance of earning a commission. If you make a low offer, at least there's a chance.

Hope that helps.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 14, 2010
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Burke, VA
Sometimes it just means that the sellers are not convinced that they are priced too high and need an offer to have them to see the light. A frustrated owner and/or seller might add this verbage to the listing information, either in the public or agent notes. When it is visible to the public, it is usually a sign of desperation.
How low you go is really up to you. Just don't be surprised if the sellers come back with a ridiculous counter offer. If they are priced too high and are saying they are motivated and present all offers, what they usually mean is you can present a low offer, but don't count on me agreeing to it!
Web Reference: http://www.dianeglander.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 12, 2010
Jeanne, "the seller doesn't need to sell" (which I find particularly ridiculous.) Agreed.

Did that listing realtor realize that the buyer does not NEED to buy a house? They could rent.

Should a buyer go into such a realtors office and say" I see you have a buyer who does not need to sell. I do not need to buy. Can you introduce us so we can have coffee and chat about not moving anywhere?"
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 27, 2010
The true motivated sellers are the ones who price their house right or just below market value.
And what is the right price? Only the buyer knows - yes the buyer. Although the seller asks the price, the buyer sets the value. Today's buyers know value and look for value. However, a buyer should never be disuaded to making an offer on any house. Whether it be an overpriced one or not. A seller's motivation changes everyday and so does their selling price point. If it states 'motivated seller-present all offers" then present all offers.
To all you sellers - consider underpricing your home if you are so motivated. You will produce interest and a biding war. Which, by the way, will bring your final sale price to marlket value. And isn't it better than no offers at all.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 22, 2010
Well, first, that phrase can only be placed in a listing with the approval and direction of a seller. In this market, many of us have found the buyers are nervous and often hesitant to make any offer that might not be what a seller is asking for fear of insult, wasting time, etc. I have found that many times this phrase is an example of a seller that wants to encourage a buyer to take a chance and would just like some options or to just see what someone thinks the home is worth in writing. It may not necessarily mean they will sell for significantly less. However, what it does mean is that you will have both an agent and seller that will be receptive to a starting point and will have an open mind. I believe that is the real key in negotiating a mutually beneficial deal these days. Hope that helps.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 21, 2010
It's a nice way of saying

"It doesn't mean what kind of offer you write....just write an offer and I'll look at it!"

"Don't be afraid to offer less.....much less...I'll still look at it"

"Yes, i know it's priced higher than where it's supposed to be....make me an offer I can't refuse"

Good luck!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 20, 2010
Hello Allison,
Like the other responses have already stated, it means the seller likely overpriced the home to begin with; has taken several price reductions; viewings have dwindled and it has lingered on the market. The seller is ready to move on and also ready to make concessions. These may include price, terms and personal items; such as window treatments, washer, dryer, etc.

In our local Somerset market, since the end of the Home Buyer Tax Credit program, we are starting to see an increase of housing inventory and this is putting pressure "motivated sellers" sellers to make price reductions. With mortgage rates dropping recently, now is an excellent time to make an offer.

How low can you go? That will depend on how much YOU really want the property or if you are are shopping the deal. The seller has opened the door to consider all offers. Be forewarned that a property that is priced to give exceptional value may elicit multiple offers and drive the price upwards.

Best of luck to you in your home search.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 20, 2010
Jeanne is right.
You list to sell or you just waste every bodies time.
Motivated followed by a sellable price equals a good chance of a sale.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 17, 2010
If the agent who wrote this is being fully honest, this simply means that the seller is flexible about the price. Though, as others have pointed out, lowering the price so buyers know how flexible would be a better idea.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 3, 2010
Motivated - Desperate - All Offers Considered

Our MLS is filled with these words. Come on Realtors (and Sellers), break out of the herd and come up with something different. (Or maybe, try cutting your price to way below your competition).
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 3, 2010
So in conclusion, Motivated Seller means nothing. As I said, when an agent has nothing else more useful to say, we say the obvious. Motivated seller, Will consider all offers, Anxious to sell, Must see, Not a drive by, and my favorite, Pride of ownership (evident).
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 3, 2010
This statement cracks me up when I read it on a listing. I once showed a listing that claimed "motivated seller." The buyer liked it, and wrote an offer of $200,000 on a $230,000 house. The seller wouldn't budge more than $2,000. Is that really motivated?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 3, 2010
In my opinion, it simply means the seller is willing to negotiate. I also believe the term "motivated seller" puts the seller at a disadvantage, the seller is letting everyone know they'll take less for the property. If I represent the buyer, and I see the term "motivated seller", I will advise my client to be more aggressive on pricing or terms, unless there are existing offers on the property.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 2, 2010
A good real estate professional knows what a home is worth. If the Seller is "motivated", they will sell it for below market value. "Motivated Sellers" means they are bluffing on the list price... If it were a poker game I'd move all in...(Give them your dream offer. Don't be shy... really try and insult them here as if William Shatner was coaching you).
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 2, 2010
In my opinion that statement is used to show how eager the seller is to sale. In lots of cases its very true, but in some maybe not. It is like you say used alot.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 2, 2010
This is an over used marketing phrase that many agents are currently using during these tough economic times.

It can mean what it says, but if it's true, marketing agents should be more specific regarding the real reason behind the motivation.

Short Sale, Divorce, Loss of Job, Transfer, etc. would motivate more buyers and agents to look hard at the home, but the question is priced right in the first place should come first. I agree with your statement that most the time when this is the headline, it's priced to high for the marketplace.

Different motivations can create different negotiation tactics. If it's a short sale the bank is going to decide the sales price anyway, so lets get that information out on the table to start with.

If it's a divorce, has it been finalized or are they still negotiating to determine who gets what? If it's a job transfer, when do they have to move?

A listing agent needs to get approval to share this type of information with the general public, but if it's going to help the seller sell it's part of the listing agents job to educate the seller on what works.

It's also part of any buyer's agent job to determine the same thing so they can make recommendations to the buyer on what to offer. Just saying your motivated doesn't mean a thing to me.

Allison, keep asking questions! Your doing the right thing.

George Martin, Jr.
Associate Broker
Sun Valley, Id
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 1, 2010
Allison, motivated sellers = sellers willing to negotiate
present all offers = bring in your low ball offer and the seller will counter, then play hard ball.

Allison, find out per property what are the comparables.
What are the attributes, and location. Then one can adjust price based on similar properties.

There is no set formula, it is based on # of homes available, trends in sales ( UP or DOWN),
number of homes in Foreclosure, number of homes underwater etc.

Work with a Realtor who can guide you as a consultant.
Best Regards
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 1, 2010
It's the way agents tell buyers that they seller will take a lower offer cause in most cases the home is overpriced or it would have sold. The agent should just price it right without saying the seller will take a lower offer. I would say make a offer 5-10% under market value and go from there.

Chris Martindale
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 1, 2010
It's not always about price.... home may be priced right and the seller is moving...maybe relocating out of the city... bottom line its about motivating the buyer to come and take a look at the home...did it make you look... if so.... maybe you would not have do so ... and maybe it generated an offer...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 1, 2010
Its certainly a sign of the times. I normally entered these catch phrases on listings that were aged or overpriced. Now it seems we still have way to go before the "bottom" is officially reached. Asking prices are just a starting point, the trick is to stay in the negotiation phase without alienating the selling agent.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 1, 2010
As a Realtor I always suggest that the seller reduced his price to what he thinks is realistic as opposed to "motivated seller" ads.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 1, 2010
I'm out of here . What commission?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 1, 2010
Motivated Sellers, Means the seller wants to hear offers given to him or her. Upon the advise of her realtor on the range she was given and discussing this issue, they will either accept or reject the offer. Usually the seller is very anxious to leave!!! But that does mean they are giving their home away for a riducolus price!!
Web Reference: http://robertawasser.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 1, 2010
It means the seller is looking for offers and if you bring in one that they like they will accept it or negotiate it.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 31, 2010
Offer what you think is reasonable based on the comparable sales in your area. If they are really motivated they will work with you!
Web Reference: http://www.sellyourden.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 31, 2010

As you have read motivated can be used in many ways. Is it Somerset in Estero / Ft. Myers FL that you are looking at? If so I may be able to assist you please contact me at 239-898-9933 and I can provide further information.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 31, 2010
It may mean the agent just needed to fill some space available for description. I would take for granted that , if the house is for sale that the seller has a motivation to sell it. If the price is already within reason of comparable sales, make your offer one that YOU are willing to pay. The seller will either agree or not...and you move on from there.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 30, 2010
Motivated seller
It is a nice way of saying you are not desperate but anxious to sell.

Present all offers:
You welcome all offers but you make the decision which one you will accept
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 30, 2010
It means give the highest purchase price you are willing to put in or MOOve on....

What's so complicated about that?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 30, 2010
Allison, I only use this phrase when it's true and at the instructions of my sellers.... when they truly ARE motivated and will consider ALL offers. This phrasing should be used very carefully because it indicates to buyers that there is a sense of urgency without going into details.

How low can you go below asking price? You have to remember that every seller has a bottom line to pay off a mortgage if they have one, real estate fees and any other costs associated with the sale. When you are ready to make an offer on any property your buyer's agent can help you determine fair market value. When deciding how much to offer you need to consider YOUR motivation as a buyer. If you really want the house then you may want to consider your offer carefully. You may be able to come in low and meet some place in the middle where you are happy. If your initial offer is completely unreasonable you run the risk of insulting some sellers and they will not take your offer seriously. I've seen buyers and seller who were very far apart end up making a deal. You never really know until you try. Good luck!
Web Reference: http://savannahgahomes.net
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 29, 2010
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