When To Write That Lower Offer?

The number 1 question we all get as Realtors is “how low will the seller go?” No one can answer that question but the seller. But there are ways to find out and then choose your timing to write the offer.

In a market such as we are in now, 2019, it’s a sellers market. It’s always a sellers market in the spring. So if you are looking for a deal, spring is probably not the time you’re going to find one. BUT, if you are still bent on getting a deal on a house, then wait. A listing new to the market is not going to negotiate or accept a lower offer but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go check it out because you will want to compare it to others that have sold. And then wait and hope it doesn’t go under agreement in the first week.

You can also check older listings as well. Many people laser focus on only new listings yet there are listings that have been on the market and have dropped to page 2 of searches. Change your search criteria to show oldest to newest instead of focusing on the new listings.

If a home is still sitting on the market after a few weeks, well then that seller is likely ready to negotiate with you so that is a great time to test the waters with a lower offer. But before you do that, you’ll want your agent to check public records for the outstanding mortgages and liens (if any) on the home because that will be a pretty good indicator as to IF seller can actually entertain a lower offer. Let’s face it, there are homes that a seller needs to sell but the sellers doesn’t want to take money out of their pocket to sell so they list high. That’s a dead end and not worth pursuing because if a seller doesn’t have the money to pay at the closing, it won’t sell. Even if you are willing to pay their price, you’ll likely have appraisal issues and now you’ve spent money (inspection and appraisal fees) and time that you will not get back.

Then next step is to have your realtor do a comparison of similar homes that are in the same condition and then those homes that are similar but have been remodeled. Because you will want to know that after you do all the renovating, painting, remodeling, repairs, etc. what the home WOULD be worth. Then you have a pretty accurate baseline of what you should be offering. We have run into properties where the seller has taken out a bathroom (but left the plumbing intact and capped off) or made 2 small bedrooms into one big bedroom but they want the same price as if that 2nd bathroom is still there or that there are 3 bedrooms buyer has to pay to put up the wall to divide the rooms back into the 2 bedrooms.

If possible, you’ll want to go back to the property you are interested in and possibly bring along a contractor if the jobs that need doing are big i.e. structural issues/concerns, electrical service, plumbing, etc. Most buyers will over estimate the cost of projects as a way of justifying a low offer but you need to be reasonable because the google is a tool for sellers and buyers and the cost of a project can be easily determined by both parties.

When it is finally time to write the offer, you want to be reasonable and not insulting. Too many people want to “see what the sellers comes back with” and this often results in you, the buyer, not getting a counter offer or response from the seller. If you truly want a home and to build sweat equity, then you must always be reasonable because once you’ve thrown the low ball offer out there to the seller, you’ve just made it harder for yourself during re-negotiations. This is where you must rely on your realtor and the information they’ve given you to help get the offer price you’ve decided on. Your realtor will then present the offer with a bullet point of reasons why the offer is what it is. If you just make a number then it’s harder for your realtor to justify the offer and the likelihood of acceptance is low.

A lower offer can get accepted, but it’s not just as easy as making up a number and then putting it to paper. There always has to be some justification behind your number and that requires some time and effort between you and your agent and some due diligence.

Fall & winter are other greats times to get lower offers accepted even on homes in great shape that do not need repairs done. Because the buyer pool is small, no one really wants to be moving during snow storms, etc., so sellers are much more receptive to offers because if they are selling during the winter, they usually HAVE to sell thereby making them extremely willing to negotiate.


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2 thoughts on “When To Write That Lower Offer?

    • Yes Kathy. This pertains to buyers only. Thanks for reading the blog!

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