Working in real estate I've learned that most home sellers receive at least one offer that is too far below their asking price. After all, people love getting a good deal, and many buyers offer a low price at first hoping to haggle with the seller. I've also learned that the offer process isn't easy on anyone, especially the seller. But there are a few tricks you can use to make sure you submit a good counteroffer. Take these for example.
Decide on Your Lowest Price
Home sellers often list their house and then wait to see what offers they get, assuming they'll decide as the deals come in. For example, my mother is selling her house. She recently received an offer that was $30,000 less than her asking price. When she told me about it, I asked her how low she was willing to go. She knew she wouldn't accept an offer that low but wasn't sure how much she was willing to take off the price.
Personally, I would go about offers a different way. Before they started rolling in I would decide how much I wanted to sell my house for and then decide the lowest offer I was willing to accept. Knowing this information upfront will make it a lot easier to counter.
In my mother's case, she decided that she wants $20,000 more than the buyer offered. That is a big price difference and not something all buyers will accept, however, she can sweeten the deal with some incentives. For example, she could offer to replace the carpet in the house, which will save the buyer's money. She could also offer to pay for the buyer's closing costs, which will save them several thousand dollars and might be a huge incentive.
If you want to work with the buyer, try offering an incentive in your counter offer. Your real estate agent can advise you on what incentives might work with your house.
Include an Acceptance Date
Finally, before submitting a counteroffer to a buyer, make sure that the offer includes an acceptance date. This is simply the last day that the buyer has to accept, reject or counter your offer. Once you have an acceptance date you'll know when you can proceed with other offers, and you won't be stuck waiting for one buyer to respond. However, make sure you give the buyer's a reasonable amount of time, say a week or more, to respond. Otherwise, they'll feel rushed and may reject the offer quickly.
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