What should you do when a potential buyer for your home submits a low ball offer?
You get a low ball offer on your home for sale, and you aren’t sure what to do next. A lot of people are insulted by low-ball offers and want to respond angrily. It’s important to remember to take your emotions out of it and come from the perspective of trying to get as much money for your house as possible. Even if you don’t like the potential buyer personally, you don’t have to deal with them after, you’ve sold the home and moved!
You basically have three main options in front of you.
Just because someone submits an offer doesn’t mean you have to respond. You can ignore that it came in. The only requirement when an offer is submitted to your agent is that they have to present it to you. Outside of that nothing has to be done. You can just let the low ball offer expire and do not respond.
The upside of that is it lets them know you are serious about your price and won’t budge. The downside is that you aren’t engaging them in a conversation. If you talk to them you may be able to figure out why they are pricing it low and could talk them into raising their offer. You have to decide how much of a “low-ball” it is to decide if doing nothing is your best option.
This is very similar to the do nothing option except that you are going to engage the buyers. Find out why they low-balled, explain why its a bad price you won’t accept, and counter with a price that you will accept. That counter-offer price can even be the price you listed the home at originally. They can low ball and you can respond by showing them you are serious about your price too. So you either hold firm at the asking price or drop a very minimal amount.
Now they know if they want to buy the home you are willing to talk to them but you will not take any messing around. Some people submit low balls just to see what you do. Maybe they want to test and see if you are desperate and willing to take it, or if you will drop your price to a lower, more reasonable number. Very few people send a low-ball offer expecting the home owner to accept it.
Some people will argue that no matter what the offer you get is, you should “play ball” with it. Keep them talking because you never know what will happen. So hypothetically speaking, if you listed your home for $400,000, and are willing to sell it for $380,000 and someone low balls you with $300,000 then you should counter somewhere in the $380,000-400,000 range.
It happens from time to time in the industry where someone submits a low ball offer, and then immediately accepts a reasonable counter. Just because someone is trying to get it for way too low doesn’t mean they won’t pay a fair price.
Each situation will be different. You have to judge every one individually based on how all the parties are acting. Personally, I favour always engaging with the other party and just sending them a counter off with terms that you would be willing to accept. If they keep low-balling then just send back and say its all you are willing to do. They may come back after some time if they decide to pass on your reasonable counter.
The one thing I would recommend to never do is to submit a counter just for the sake of spite. Some sellers will then sign back a counter offer really high over the price they were even asking for originally. They just do this as a way to get back at the person submitting the low ball offer. Don’t sink to their level. Ask your real estate agent who is representing you what they think is the right step. A lot will depend on who is sitting on the other side of the table.