To Handle Low-ball Offer, Minimize Emotion

Monday October 3rd, 2011
Julie McCoy of RE/MAX Accord

Julie McCoy of RE/MAX Accord

It's a common scenario in today's real estate market: Sellers have their eyes on getting a certain amount for their home. Buyers make a low-ball offer that insults and offends the sellers and they refuse to even consider it. No sale.

How do you, as a seller, turn such a situation around in your favor to achieve a successful sale closer to your asking price? Your motivation plays a major role in your response, says Julie McCoy, a real estate agent with RE/MAX Accord in Lafayette, California.

If you want to sell a home quickly and a buyer is offering less but can close quickly, it's worth considering, McCoy says. When lower-than-expected offers come in, ask for an explanation from the buyer's agent and compare home sales to see how things stack up.

"The emotion has to be removed from the transactions," McCoy says. "Regardless of what kind of offers you receive, you can't take it personally. When someone writes a low-ball offer, it's not an indication of what your house is worth - but rather what they can afford."

Try to find wiggle room by negotiating the terms, such as the moving timeline, closing costs and repairs. You can gain back some money that way, McCoy says. If you're reluctant to touch the price but you're not having a lot of showings, seriously consider your motivations.

"When a seller says no to low offers, that means he or she will be carrying more payments on the house for a longer period of time," McCoy says. "If a seller can afford the daily cost of staying in the home and wants to get the best bang for the buck at closing, then there's not an urgent need to move. "

If you leave your gut reaction out of the equation, it's easier to make an informed decision on whether or not to consider a low offer.

"Motivated sellers will work with their agent, who then works with the buyer's agent, to negotiate - even if that involves countering," McCoy says. "It takes teamwork to arrive at a conclusion that everyone's happy with."

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