Deciding How Much to Offer
How do you decide how much to offer on a home you like? There’s no easy answer, because it depends on a lot of factors:
- What is the overall market like?
- How long has the home been on the market?
- Has there been a recent price reduction?
- Are there other offers coming in?
- Do you have a contingency to sell another home?
- What terms (beside money) can you offer the seller?
In an competitive market, you may be competing with other buyers. In such a situation, an offer below asking price is generally rejected or ignored.
Each property and situation is unique, and unless you’re competing with other buyers, it’s helpful to consider how much similar homes have recently sold for (known as “comparable sales”), as well as neighboring homes currently on the market or under contract. A good starting point in determining how much to offer is the “price per square footage” for similar sized homes in that specific neighborhood, and then consider these key factors when comparing properties:
- Outdoor space and View
- Number of bedrooms and baths
- Updates and renovations (kitchen, baths, windows, flooring)
- Lot size
- Age of home
- Age of roof and mechanicals (HVAC)
Aside from the “data,” many buyers feel compelled to negotiate regardless — after all, who doesn’t want a great deal? However, coming in with a low offer, at least without justification, runs the risk of insulting the seller and can hurt your chances of getting the home at all. It also suggests to the seller that you may not be a serious buyer, or that you’ll be difficult to negotiate with regarding inspections and repairs. Low offers also give the seller and listing agent an opportunity to leverage your offer by fielding other, higher offers.
Common Mistakes in Deciding How Much to Offer
A common mistake is making an offer based on the upgrades and improvements the Buyer plans for the home. In most cases, however, updates and upgrades (or lack thereof) are generally factored into the price of the home. Another common mistake is assuming the seller will counter if they don’t like your offer. Keep in mind, sellers are not obligated to respond to offers. If there are multiple or competing offers to choose from, Sellers usually accept the best offer, and reject all others. They do not have to respond, or give you a chance to revise or improve your offer.
Ultimately, it’s your decision on how much to offer, and how much you’re willing to pay in order to get the home. I’ll do everything I can to help you understand the market and value of the homes you’re considering. I’ll give you my perspective and advice as your Buyer’s Agent, prepare the purchase contract, and assist you in making an offer a seller will consider and hopefully accept.
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