After a few days on the market, your agent calls to tell you there is an offer on the home. Unfortunately, it’s too soon to celebrate. The offer is lower than what you’re asking. Much lower.
Keep your feelings in check. It’s normal to be disappointed — maybe even a little insulted and angry. But resist the urge to tell your agent to fire off a nasty rejection note.
Time to talk. Sit down and have a discussion with your agent. A good agent will talk you through a low offer and help take emotion out of the equation. The offer may be all the buyer can afford or perhaps the buyer is looking for a good investment and is hoping for a deal. If the buyer didn’t have any interest in your home, he or she wouldn’t have made an offer to begin with, so it’s up to you and your agent to find common ground.
Time to counter. Oftentimes, it takes several counter proposals to reach an agreement. Pay attention to the amount of the counters to provide a clue to how much the buyer can or is willing to pay. If the buyer, for instance, offered $50,000 below listing and then countered with a difference of $45,000, the buyer likely has maxed out the budget. If the buyer ups the offer by $15,000 to $20,000, that’s a signal of greater flexibility.
Other factors. Price isn’t the only consideration when mulling over an offer. Is the buyer offering cash with a quick closing date? How much is it worth to have your home sold in two weeks as opposed to sitting on the market and waiting for another offer? What is the buyer’s financing situation? When does the buyer want to close? If you’re facing two mortgages or a temporary move, accepting a lower price might actually be a better deal.