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Negotiate a Real Estate Offer

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Home sellers who have prepared their home for sale and priced it right are strongly positioned for a smooth real estate transaction, but perhaps the most complex moment in the sales process comes when we get an offer for your home.

Whether we have one offer or several to consider, you should take a moment to congratulate yourself that you’ve got a buyer interested in purchasing your home.

How to Evaluate Purchase Offers

Ideally, the potential buyer or buyers have offered you full price or more, along with the perfect terms for the sale. However, the reality is that not every offer will be immediately acceptable. You’ll need to carefully evaluate each offer and begin a negotiation with the buyers and their agent.

I am your partner and will educate you on the terms of the offer and help you understand the offer in the context of the housing market in your area. We will need to know whether you’re in a balanced market with equal numbers of buyers and sellers or one in which buyers or sellers have the upper hand. We’ll also need to estimate whether home prices are rising or falling in your community.

Before we begin to analyze any purchase offer, the most important step is to determine whether the buyer can fulfill the terms of the contract with financing. I will check on the pre-approval letter that should be included with any offer by consulting with the buyer’s agent and the buyer’s lender.

What Factors Should You Consider in a Purchase Offer?

Once we know the buyer can legitimately qualify for a loan, we should begin to evaluate the offer by looking at these factors:

  • How close is the offer to your asking price?
  • Will your home appraise for the contract price?
  • How large is the earnest money deposit that accompanied the offer?
  • Has the buyer asked for assistance with closing costs?
  • Has the buyer asked you to make repairs or to give a credit for home improvements?
  • Is the requested settlement date appropriate for your needs?

If you’re not immediately satisfied with the offer or are uncertain about whether to accept it, consider our options:

  • Do we have other offers?
  • Can we wait for more offers to come in?
  • How will we handle it if no other offers come in after a particular deadline?

Making a Counteroffer

As a seller, you have the options of accepting the offer as is, declining the offer, or making a counteroffer. I will give you specific advice about your negotiating stance based on your home and your market, but generally we will need to be prepared to compromise on some aspect of your home sale.

Your negotiations can go more smoothly if you have a clear sense of your own priorities, such as a particular settlement date, the ability to rent-back your home from your buyers, or a minimum price that you need to achieve to meet your financial goals. I will have prepared a document showing you net proceeds at different sales prices that can make it easier to understand the value of different offers.

Negotiations proceed best when both you and your buyer respect each other’s needs and interests and come to an appropriate compromise with the help of my knowledge.

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About The Author
Jeremy Marinier

Jeremy Marinier has been licensed as a Sales Associate in California since 2013