You’re selling your home at a price decided upon with the help of your real estate agent. Together you have researched the market and prepared to list your home at a price you believe to be viable and suited to the condition of the property. A potential buyer makes an offer, but it’s lower than the asking price. What do you do next?
When an offer is made, negotiations are underway. Your real estate agent will be invaluable to help you decide how to proceed. The buyer may be checking to see if you’ll accept a lower price. They might also want other conditions to be met – frequently home repair. You will need to determine if it’s a serious offer or if it’s unrealistically low. By industry standards, any offer that is 20 to 25 percent below asking price is a low-ball offer. You may choose to ignore it or to make a counteroffer.
In advance of the counteroffer, you want to recheck the property values of other homes in your area. To continue negotiations, discuss the price range you are willing to consider with your agent. Rely on the agent’s knowledge of the market to help you set a counteroffer price back to the buyer. Set it too high and they may leave to find a different seller. Set it too low and you might be leaving money on the table. You may consider lowering the price just a little, but add an incentive, such as a flexible closing date. Your agent will handle the counteroffer for you.
Knowledge is power in negotiations and you want to put yourself in the best position to make smart counteroffers. Perhaps you’re already in negotiations to purchase your next home. Maybe the buyers are facing a pressing timetable because of an imminent job transfer or because they want to be settled before a new school year begins. Have your agent discuss the situation with the buyer’s agent to gain as much information as you can.
With an informed approach and a reasonable attitude, you can quite likely reach an agreement that is acceptable to everyone. Don’t take the negotiation personally. This is a business transaction. Remember, if you don’t reach an outcome you want, you can always walk away from negotiations and wait for the next opportunity.