What Do You Do with a Buyer's Offer? So you've finally got someone interested in purchasing your home? That's great news! But what if you aren't pleased with the offer they've made? Is it a wise decision to make a counter offer? Or will that potentially scare away the prospective buyer? That depends! Before we address when you should make a counter offer, let's go over the situation where you shouldn't. If you only have one buyer's offer on the table, it's typically a wise decision NOT to counter their purchase offer. This is especially true if your home has been on the market for awhile, and no one else has put in an offer on it. The reasoning behind this decision should be fairly easy to understand.
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Why risk losing the sale over a few thousand dollars? If you seriously want to sell the home, you should accept any reasonable offer, but the key word here is “reasonable”. If a buyer gives you a low-ball offer, you need to make a counter offer that is closer in the price range you're willing to accept. If the prospective buyer's offer isn't quite as high as you'd like – but still respectable, go with it! If this is hard for you to accept, perhaps you aren't ready to sell your home, and should consider taking it off the market and waiting until the economy fully recovers. So, when should you make a counter offer? The answer is – when you have leverage. If you have more than one buyer who is willing to purchase your home, it gives you control over the situation. After all, you can stand strong and not worry about the buyer walking away. If they do, you still have others who are interested. In fact, making a counter offer may actually help you determine who is most serious about buying your home! For example, if you have three prospective buyers, and two of them don't want to negotiate the price, but the third is willing to, they were probably the one who was most interested anyway. But in order to pull off this strategy, you have to attract multiple buyers.
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So, how do you do it? By accurately pricing your home! If your initial listing price is higher than it should be, you may not have as many interested parties as you want. If it's too low, you may have a lot prospective buyers putting in competing bids, but they may not able to afford the home if your counter offer is much higher than their initial offer. That's why the most important aspect of selling a home is listing it at a price that's fair to all parties!
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This way, you'll only have to deal with serious buyers, and there's less wiggle room in the price negotiations. If the buyer thinks they are getting the home for a fair price, they're likely to put in an offer. If you get multiple offers, it gives you more leverage, and you’ll be able to stick closer to your initial price in your counter offer. One final thing you should also remember is that making any change to an offer is considered a counter offer. So if a buyer puts in an offer at a price that you find acceptable, but makes some sort of descriptive mistake that you must correct, that is legally considered a counter offer, too. In this scenario, have your real estate agent notify the buyer that a change has been made, but assure them that you haven't adjusted the price or purchase date, so they will know that it's only a minor correction. Happy countering!
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