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Entertaining an Offer

The sale of a home is a complicated process that involves a lot of regulations and paperwork as well as negotiations.  In addition to the practical and financial concerns of buying and selling a house there is the personal aspect.  Selling and buying a home can be a serious transition and one that can be stressful to both parties.  So, it is important to be prepared for all contingencies.  Your realtor will be a valuable source of insight into these issues.

If a buyer is interested in your home they will put in an offer.  This will be in writing and include not only the sales price but also terms of sale.  There may even be multiple buyers who are vying for the house.  This is a good condition to be in but more likely you will have one interested buyer at a time.  If an offer is presented, there are several things that should be considered:

  • How close is the offer to the asking price?
  • What are the terms of sale and how will that affect me?
  • Is a counter offer available and will it likely be considered seriously?
  • How motivated are you to sell?
  • Are there other pending offers or leads that would indicate an offer in the future?
  • How will you handle a bidding war?

Each offer should be carefully considered to determine if the offer meets the needs of the seller.  The realtor should assist with this and point out the pros and cons of each offer so an informed decision can be made.

Counter Offers

When an offer is made, the seller can choose to accept the offer or decline it outright.  More often, though, the seller looks over the offer and makes changes, negotiating where needed for more acceptable terms.  This can be done in the asking price, the terms or both.  It is not uncommon for counter offers to go back and forth between buyer and seller multiple times before an agreement is made.  Or, it is possible one of the parties will find the terms unacceptable and decline to pursue it any further.

Negotiating the Price and Terms

The key to negotiating is knowing where the seller is willing to go to and anticipating where the buyer is going to.  Ideally both parties will have some stake in the property and each get some concessions.  During negotiations it is imperative that compromise be considered.  Do not take offers and counter offers personally, this is simply a business transaction where both parties are trying to get the most for their money.

The seller should have a minimum list of requirements that are “deal breakers” if not met.  Anything outside of those can be negotiated and considered.  If negotiations are successful, the buyer gets a house at a price they can afford with terms that are acceptable.  Likewise the seller gets a fair price for the home and can begin preparations for the completed sale. 

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