bidding on a house

Asked by Susanne, Massachusetts Wed Jul 2, 2008

How do you figure out how much you should offer???

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The Hagley G…, Agent, Pleasanton, CA
Fri Jul 25, 2008
Very simple...your Realtor pulls neighborhood comps....then takes other thing into days on market, other similiar inventory on the market, condition of the home, etc. He/she then analyzes all of this and can make a recommendation.
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Linda Carroll…, , Lacey, WA
Fri Jul 25, 2008
Oh yikes! All this talk about "putting one over" and "inept agents" and "we won" hurts. Hurts the industry.

The truth is that price is decided by the Seller and the Buyer. It's ok to for a Seller to have a hopefully high price. It's ok for a Buyer to make a hopefully low offer. The agent is there to facilitate and advise, not to keep some imaginary score card.

In my state, all licensees are required to treat ALL parties fairly and honestly.

Susanne, get referrals to agent from your friends, or call up a few floor agents, or somehow find some Buyer agents to talk to. Ask them that question.

Hopefully they will tell you that when you find the home that makes you say "yes!" then they will sit down with you at the computer and run comps on it. This will help you figure out a reasonable price range.

The rest is how much do you want the home?

If you make an offer that the Seller thinks is too low, your agent will encourage the Listing agent to have the Seller counteroffer. That might happen a few times.

Sometimes there is further negotiation after the home inspection. Actually, negotiation isn't over until the transaction is closed and funded.

Stay focused on the negotiations. It isn't always a train wreck--it can be subtle and persistant. And it isn't over until its over.

Best wishes, Linda
1 vote
Galileo, Home Buyer,
Fri Aug 1, 2008
Go to a website like or where you can see all of the previous sales in the neighborhood. You might discover that houses that actually sold went for much less money than the houses that are on the market. Tour other houses in the neighborhood. Talk to agents openly about neighborhood prices (not just your own agent, but listing agents as well---of course, the information they give you will be biased, but they will point out useful things you weren't aware of). Talk to locals in the neighborhood. After a few weeks of research, you should have you a pretty good sense of what the "fair market value" of the home is.

In fact, you may have a better idea than the home seller does, especially if the market has been declining and the seller doesn't realize this (or is in denial). Because of this, even if you make a fair or slightly below fair market value offer, there is a risk the seller will brush you off or make an unreasonably high counteroffer. Don't let that bother you. Don't let your agent pressure you into offering an unreasonably high number. Just be patient and keep making serious offers until you find somebody you can work with.
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jimgatos, Agent, Westborough, MA
Thu Jul 3, 2008
It doesn't depend on any "trends" or statistics. As a buyer agent, I was able to "chop" the price down even a couple of thousand dollars MORE than what my buyer clients suggested they offer only because I "felt" I was dealing with an inexperienced and inept listing agent. I suggested to my clients they make an even lower offer and guess what? We WON! This thing happened to me twice in 2007 and I AM SO PROUD OF MYSELF BECAUSE I DID MY JOB AND MADE A HAPPY CLIENT EVEN HAPPIER! One of the two agents I was just talking about sorta figured it out after the negotiating was finalized and even asked me if I "put one over him", but I brushed the answered off. You have a duty, you do your job, enough people will find out, you get referrals.. GET A STRONG AND COMPETENT BUYER AGENT !!!
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Maria Morton, Agent, Kansas City, MO
Wed Jul 2, 2008
Julie, Dick, and Mike are right. In the 1990's consumer advocacy groups petitioned lawmakers to provide the buyers of real property with the same rights of representation that sellers had. Through their efforts, the Buyer's Agency was created. When a buyer enters into an Exclusive Buyer's Agency Agreement with a realtor, that realtor then owes fiduciary responsiblity to that buyer. This agency agreement is for your protection. The buyer's agent/broker is paid at closing. The commission is determined by the contract signed between the seller and their agent/broker. Generally speaking, the seller's agent/broker offers one-half of their commission to the buyer's agent/broker. if you purchase the house as an unrepresented buyer, the seller's agent/broker will take all of the commission.
Since buying a home is usually one of the largest financial investments most people make in their lifetime, why would you choose to be unrepresented?
Think about this: most people buy or sell a house once every 5 or 10 years. Realtors transact business 5-7 days/ week every week of every year. How do you think you are going to come out ahead when the seller has professional representation and you don't?
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Mike Hughes…, Agent, Newton, MA
Wed Jul 2, 2008
I absolutely agree with Julie. Buyer agency doesn't cost anything -- I think it's crazy to not have a professional on your side. I know that many buyers think that they'll get a better deal by going direct, but this is just not true.
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Dick Murray, , Westerville, OH
Wed Jul 2, 2008
It all depends on your local market and how homes are selling. If your market is going well and homes are in short supply and sell almost the day they are put on the market then a full price offer may not be enough. If your market is sluggish like some markets are today you may want to do a little research along with your agent to determine the % of Sale price to List Pice and also the price/sq ft that homes are selling for in your area. A Real Estate agent can help you with all of this research.
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Julie Duncan, Agent, Lexington, MA
Wed Jul 2, 2008
Hi Suzanne,

The process of making an offer on a property involves many variables. What you need is an experienced Buyer Agent representing you to help evaluate these variable. There is no quick, rule of thumb way to do it. It involves comparable sales, days on market, your other terms, etc.

You will only buy or sell a few properties in your life - find someone who does it all the time to help you through this process.

Julie Duncan
RE/MAX Landmark
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