When is a final offer really a final offer?

Asked by Ms, Massachusetts Mon Mar 29, 2010

I recently had a buyer from California make a first (and final) offer on my house in Massachusetts. As sellers, we rejected the offer and made a counter offer. The buyer rejected our counter offer and we both moved on.

In the mean time, we have held a very successful open house with many buyers expressing interest in possibly making an offer to our broker. My broker is diligently (love her) working these buyers.

Today my broker got a call back from the California buyer and has received another (I suspect final again) verbal offer from them that is higher than their original "final offer", but about $5000 below our drop dead price.

Do we counter again (we will be dropping our original price we gave them by $5000), wait to see what the buyers from the open house might do, or just accept their new offer outright?

Note: The wife loves the house, but the husband is the one drawing the line in the sand.

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Ms, , Massachusetts
Tue Mar 30, 2010
Thanks for all the responses. I love using the Q&A of Trulia and getting the different responses. It helps with this whole selling process (especially in these uncertain times for selling ones' property).

As an update, we got the offer last evening from the open house local buyer. It was $15,000 above the California buyers and just as good in the terms associated with the deal (dates, mortgage, downpayment, etc.). My agent did get back to the California buyers to give them an opportunity to come up. The wife's response was "I love the house, but husband will not pay that much for it." Call us if the deal falls through.
So we can go back to them, if this deal falls through.

For anyone selling a house in this time of uncertainty, I would give this advice. Price is key. A well priced house will get activity. Length of time on the market no longer carries the stigma is used to, especially if you are active. Since they have so many choices, buyers are just doing their homework and taking their time to find the absolute right house for them. If you are inactive, drop your price. Also...and I can't stress this enough....make your house (inside and out) look the best it can be and better than you competition, so that buyers remember it when they leave.
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Emelia Sanch…, , Ontario, CA
Mon Mar 29, 2010
If your realtor is also representing the California buyers then she knows what you want. Why dilly dally with best and final she already knows what your "drop dead price" is. $5000.00 is stopping them from buying and you from selling? Meet in the middle unless this new offer is better.
Good luck!!
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Patrick Thies, Agent, Anytown, IL
Mon Mar 29, 2010
If you are getting another offer in writing, work with that offer. A verbal offer isn't an offer, it needs to be in writing to have any merit.
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Roxy Van Boc…, Agent, Kailua Kona, HI
Mon Mar 29, 2010
When the property sells (and closes)
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Don Tepper, Agent, Burke, VA
Mon Mar 29, 2010
The California folks are playing games with you.

First they make a "final" offer.

They then make another offer, this time verbal. As they say, a verbal offer is worth the paper it's written on. In other words: It's worthless.

Technically, you have nothing to counter.

Meanwhile, (heh, heh) they need to move by June. That means they've got very, very little time left. That strengthens your position.

Next (heh, heh) the wife loves the property. You want to know a little secret? In about 90% of the purchasing decisions, it's the wife who decides. In this case, hubby is trying to be a master negotiator. And my guess is there's quite a bit of behind-the-scenes friction with the wife wanting the house and hubby trying to get a great deal. She's going to win, not him.

Plus (heh, heh), you have a great open house and may be getting an offer from someone who looked at it yesterday. That's good news.

Discuss all this with your Realtor. What you might consider asking your Realtor about is: Notifying the California couple that you had a very successful open house and you're expecting an offer. You can't even act on their verbal "offer"--it's not an offer. If they're serious, they should make a "best and final" written offer immediately. Oh, and make sure that the California wife is on that call.

Good luck.
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Ms, , Massachusetts
Mon Mar 29, 2010
My agent is working both sides of the deal. It is her buyer from California, since they contacted her after they saw the house at a prior open house and have been working with her. They didn't make their offer right away because they were waiting to see if anything cheaper came on the market that was as good. They finally made an offer after nothing better came on the market and they need to move by June as the husband is being transfered here.

However, I did get a call from my realtor just a short time ago saying that another realtor called her and said that an offer is coming in this evening from one of the buyers of yesterdays open house. So we will sit and wait to see what the offer is before answering the California buyer.
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John Juarez, Agent, Fremont, CA
Mon Mar 29, 2010
Your California buyers are negotiating. Their first “final” offer was not final. Whether you care to engage with them is up to you. Verbal offers are not binding. You may want to tell them to put it in writing if they are serious. That will buy time to see if there is anything forthcoming from other potential buyers. On the other hand, if their new offer is still unacceptable, tell them so. Tell them the “drop dead” price that you will be willing to accept and if they don’t meet it, move on.

What does your agent think?
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Dan Chase, Home Buyer, Texas City, TX
Mon Mar 29, 2010
Many people have gotten a good offer. They refused it and months later end up selling for much less. The choice to make is yours. The risk is obvious either way you go.
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Jeanne Feeni…, Agent, Warren, NJ
Mon Mar 29, 2010
An offer is final when both parties agree and sign to acknowledge that agreement. It sounds like posturing to me, but how lucky you are to have interest, from these buyer and good interest from your open house. Verbal offers are worth nothing, if the buyer is truly interested, have them commit their offer to paper, fully supported by a mortgage preappoval from a reputable lender...then you can consider it. Even though they present as their best, if it is not acceptable to you, then counter to try to keep the process alive and see if you can get them up.

Good luck to you,
Jeanne Feenick
Unwavering Commitment to Service
Web Reference:  http://www.feenick.com
0 votes
Mack McCoy, Agent, Seattle, WA
Mon Mar 29, 2010
Just so you know, there is no "right" answer. If you accept their offer, you're in business. If you counter, the future is uncertain. Risk vs Reward, the saying goes.

All the best,
0 votes
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