how low can you go when making an offer on a house?

Asked by Nancy Celia, Delaware County, PA Wed May 4, 2011

looking at houses that range from 150K give or take and less...realize lots of conditions when making offer, but if a house is at 159K for 405 days on market, dont know why, its a nice house, orig. listed at 179K then lowered to current 159K....and i want to make an offer on it, how low should one go when making an offer?? whats acceptable i guess , 20K less 10K less or whatever??

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Phil Rotondo, Agent, Melbourne, FL
Wed May 4, 2011
Short answer - Get a comparable sale figure from your agent and make an offer which you would consider acceptable.
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Irene Barnes…, , West Chester, PA
Wed May 4, 2011
Hello Nancy, the answer to your question isn't very different than what you might ask if you were the seller. What amount would seem fair to you as the seller that you would feel comfortable accepting from a buyer, that your neighbors wouldn't be shocked to hear of and that won't pull the area's home values down? Because remember this is what will set the precedant for future sales in YOUR new chosen neighborhood if your offer is accepted.
Two, what amount seems fair and resonable to pay according to comparable sale that you are happy to pay that still leaves the seller happy? That is a win win situation that can go a long way if potential issues come up where every party in the transaction needs to bend a little. Upsetting a seller early on does not help when these types of problems come up! I used to give a report out about this very topic.
Good luck and don't feel you can't ask your Realtor! They will be honest and leave the last decision up to you of course but they should be able to help in this regard! Good luck!
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Sally Grenier, Agent, Boulder, CO
Wed May 4, 2011
First of all, are you working with a Realtor? If not, you should be. If you are, then what does your agent say? A Realtor will be able to work for you as a Buyer's Agent, and research things like sold comps in the neighborhood, and give you an idea of what fair market value is. As a buyer, the agent's commission typically doesn't cost you anything - they are paid by the seller in most transactions. A Buyer's Agent will also help in writing the offer (which is more than just sales price). There are many other issues up for negotiation that all factor into whether an offer is accepted or not. Are you asking for closing costs? What kind of loan are you getting or are you paying cash? Who is going to pay for title insurance, appraisal, survey, HOA transfer fees, etc. What kind of closing date are you looking for? (can you move quickly, or not for 60-90 days)? Do you have a property to sell first?

What I'm getting at is that there is no easy answer on what you should offer. It would be wise to have a professional helping you in what is likely one of the biggest purchases of your life.
Good luck!
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Phong Lam, Agent, Philadelphia, PA
Wed May 4, 2011
Good Morning Ms. Nancy,

How are you? Thank you for your inquiry. This question should be asked to your buyer's agent who supposed to be advising you on all of this. If you do not have a buyer's agent, I recommend that you do.

But to answer your question, there is no magic number as to how much is "acceptable" or not. Your buyer's agent got to do their due diligence of their homework to run a CMA (Comparable Market Analysis) for comps within the past 3-6 months of data that has been SOLD/PENDING in the market nearest to your subject property that you are planning to write up an offer for and that will provide you with an idea of how much homes are selling for in the area. This will give you an idea of how much to put in an offer for.

If you are not being represented by anyone, please feel free to email me at or call me at (267) 918-1880 and I'll be more than happy to discuss with you a negotiation strategy plan.

Thank you for your time and good luck! Have a great day!

Hope that helps!

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Phong Lam, CSM
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