Whether you’re a first-time buyer or home-buying is old hat to you, making an offer is a complicated process. There’s the legal jargon, the necessary contingencies, and inevitably, the offer amount. You want a deal, of course, but just how low of an offer is too low? You don’t want to insult the sellers, right?
Let’s clear up all misconceptions right here and now – there is no offer too low (assuming you are a reasonable buyer for the home of course). We’re not talking about taking a $500,000 budget to a million dollar home, but if you’re shopping in your target price range and you are a serious buyer – go ahead, make the seller an offer, because these are the 4 biggest myths about making low offers that are actually hurting you:
The First Offer Is The Final Offer
As a buyer, when you make an offer – on a home or on anything – its just a starting place. It’s all about bargaining. You have to understand that first number either side throws out won’t actually be the final number agreed upon. It’s simply a starting place that allows room for the back and forth of negotiation and the finding of a mutually agreed upon middle ground that makes both sides happy. As a first-time buyer in particular, it’s important that your realtor walk you through this interplay. Remembering that any reasonable offer, even a low one, is simply a place to begin negotiations is a key in ultimately securing a home for your desired price.
A Low Offer Is Always Unjustified
Comparables, other similar homes for sale in the neighborhood, are typically how seller’s agents price a home. A list price, though, should more likely be dictated by actual recent comparable close prices in the neighborhood. After all, a home is only worth what anyone is willing to actually pay for it. You’re justified in submitting a lower offer if the data actually supports that number. So if that home you’re eyeing has a list price of $800,000 but other comparables in the neighborhood have actually been selling for only $730,000, a lower offer is justified.
You Will Insult The Seller
While some individuals may take personal offense to any offer that is not their asking price, most sellers are simply looking to, well you know, sell. If a seller truly intends on selling they will likely entertain any offer, and if its low in their opinion, simply counter it. A seller who is truly ready to sell will know that the initial offer is only a starting place for negotiations. They’ll play ball with your offer as opposed to being offended. If a seller doesn’t even entertain your offer with a counter it likely means they are in no rush to sell, or even still too emotionally attached to the home to actually sell.
There’s No Such Thing As Too Low
Some might say you can’t get something you never ask for. While this is true, even if you’re looking to score a bargain basement price there is a good rule of thumb in order to still indicate you’re a serious buyer: offer within 15% of asking price. That gives you plenty of room to bargain with the seller without sending the impression that you’re not really a serious buyer.
Author Bio: Marni Epstein-Mervis is a real estate and architecture journalist whose work has been featured in Curbed, Yahoo, Huffington Post, and ArchDaily. Marni is Editor at Agent Ace, a free service empowering homebuyers and sellers with the tools to identify real estate agents in their area with the most expertise.