Home Ownership

Low Ball Real Estate Offers & How To Handle Them

I know a thing or two about lowball real estate offers. In fact, in this atrocious housing market and troubled economy, my husband and I were just accused of making one, and ended up not getting a home that had been on the market for over half a year.

The offer we made was, however, a decent offer based on current housing trends. The location, the work that we would need to do in the home that had been empty for six months, and the fact that we knew that the buyers needed to get rid of the property. Before cursing the next lowball real estate offer you receive, take a minute and decide whether or not the buyers are really trying to pull the wool over your eyes, or whether you might have your mind stuck in 2013.

Is the price within 10% of the current asking price?

Many sellers look at the offer and compare it to where they originally listed their home, instead of what it is currently priced at. An offer within 5-10% of the current asking price isn’t a lowball-it’s the norm in today’s real estate market. If the offer you’ve received falls within this range, don’t balk at it right away.

Are houses nearby selling for comparable prices?

Take a look at what the last house on your street sold for. Now examine how long ago that was, how long it sat on the market before selling, how long your house has been on the market, and what sort of shape your house is in compared to homes nearby. A real estate offer on your home for 10% less than a house that sold on your street a year ago isn’t as bad as many home owners realize.

Is your house empty?

If so, unless you’ve had cleaners and gardeners in regularly, expect that the buyers will see all of the problems usually hidden by furniture and shining floors and windows. Even a spotless house can look needy to buyers during this real estate slump. If your home is empty, expect that buyers will offer less, and adjust your expectations accordingly.

What do the buyers bring to the table?

In the instance of the home that we almost bought, we brought a pre-qualification from our bank, as well as a purchase that wasn’t contingent on the sale of our own home. This means that we’re pretty desirable buyers in this real estate market, and should be looked favorably upon by sellers. If the buyers bring something positive to the table, sellers should be willing to overlook an offer that is slightly lower than what they’d hoped for.

Before stomping your fist and shaking your head at a lowball real estate offer, take a moment to consider all of the relevant factors that went into the offer. Assess whether or not, in this real estate market, your expectations are reasonable, and go from there. If an offer seems like a lowball, don’t simply turn it down-negotiate with a counter offer. Sadly, the best advice to home sellers, especially those who can’t wait any longer to sell, is to take what they can get.