How to Deal With a Low Ball Offer

You just found out from your real estate agent that she’s coming over to your house this evening to present you with an offer.  The offer is from a buyer that had been to your house three times over the last several days.  With each showing you got more and more excited and made sure your home was staged properly.  You start thinking about that condo along the eastern seaboard where you’ll be soaking up the sun as soon as you sell your home.  You can almost feel the sand between your toes as you soak up the sun.

Then your worst nightmare becomes a reality – – – the offer turns out to be $25,000 less than your asking price!  Ugh!

Your first inclination is to turn the offer down flat and tell your agent to return it to the buyer and stick it where the sun doesn’t shine.  Slow down and take a deep breath.  The worst thing you can do right now is let your emotions take over.

Before you go off the deep end, have your real estate agent start a conversation with the buyer’s agent and try to ascertain where the buyer is coming from.  Are they an investor looking for a ‘deal?’  Is it the buyer’s way of feeling out whether the seller is desperate?  By starting a discussion, you keep the offer in play.

Here are some strategies when dealing with a low ball offer:

  • Keep things in perspective.  At least this buyer put something on paper for you to consider.
  • Know the market.  Do you know what is actually selling in the market right now?  How many homes are competing with yours?  This offer may not be as bad as you think it is.
  • Keep the end in mind.  Remember – you want to be walking on that beach in South Carolina.  Can you take a little less now to make that dream become a reality?
  • Respond quickly.  Buyers have a tendency to lose interest and move on if it takes awhile to get a response.
  • Have patience.  It may take a little time to get to the price and terms that are agreeable to both you and the buyer.
  • Keep it civil.  Yelling and screaming at the other party may feel good in the present but only serves to further entrench them in their position.

Any good catcher will tell you that the way to field a low ball in the dirt from a pitcher is to get your glove down and move your body in front of the ball.  Sometimes the ball bounces up and hits the catcher in the chest or nicks their arm.  But at the end of the play, they’ve accomplished what they set out to do – – – keep the ball in play.  When considering a low ball offer, keep your temper down and constantly be negotiating to keep the offer in play.

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