Never Say NO to a Low Offer

J Philip Faranda January 17, 2010

I submitted an offer from a buyer client on a property listed with a very respected company this past Wednesday. It was a low offer to be sure, but that is not uncommon. The property has been listed for quite a while; 250 days as a matter of fact. It is vacant and needs updating everywhere. The listing agent never acknowledged receipt until I called her Friday. She was less than enthusiastic. I didn’t care. Get me an answer. 

We spoke again today, and the answer was NO. 

No counter offer, no attempt to negotiate, just “too low, try again.” This is extremely foolish. It is the nature of buyers to come in low in this market; to take that personally is ill advised. Even if you are angered at a low offer, you count to 10 and negotiate. So guess what? My buyer is now unhappy. 

It isn’t terribly wise to antagonize buyers in this market when you haven’t sold in 8 months. MLS records have this agent as having exactly 12 closings since January 1, 2007. It’s no wonder. In speaking with her, I told her that I wished she had advised her people to make a counter offer. It would cost them nothing to do so. She said that it cost nothing to not make a counter either, but she seems to not grasp that it costs her client a possible sale.

I sent her an email of a listing I sold this past summer which had a lowball offer that my seller client wanted to outright deny. I told him to counter it and that I’d bring it home. A week later we had an accepted offer of $285,000 on a $299,000 listing when the initial offer was just 240. That’s negotiation. We erred on the side of possibility. 

The smart thing to do with any low offer, even one of 50 cents on the dollar (ours, for the record, was far higher), is to make a counter offer. The name of the game is dispassionate, business-like negotiation. That is what makes minds meet. Never say NO. You can’t sell the property when you say no. Make a counter offer, even if it galls you. You might be very glad you did. 

 

J Philip Real Estate

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