We’ve Received An Offer On Our Home – Now What…?



For home sellers, this message from their agent is welcome, at least most of the time. Nowadays, most offers to purchase are sent to me, your agent,  via e-mail attachment and would need to contain an acceptable mortgage pre-approval letter for the buyer, a properly completed and signed purchase agreement, and, though not absolutely necessary, a photocopy of the earnest money check. Once you have considered the terms of the offer, your options include accepting the terms as written, rejecting the offer without further comment, or making a counter offer back to the buyer. The time horizon for exercising one of these options is generally same day or perhaps the next day, assuming you are available for the deliberations. In general, it is not a good idea to delay a response and  hold out for a “better offer”, because a buyer who believes that his or her offer is being used by the seller to shop for something better can withdraw their offer at any time before it is signed, leaving you with nothing to negotiate.


Since transaction terms can vary widely, it is not easy to enumerate “normal”  negotiating points, but a few of these will be obvious: the price as it affects bottom line proceeds, the closing date, the personal property requested, and items surfacing from the buyer inspection of the home. Back and forth negotiations can take several days, during which time the home continues to be on the market and available for sale to another buyer. Once terms have been agreed to by both parties and the purchase agreement signed, the home is considered sold and is classified as “pending” in our MLS system.


At times, it is possible that multiple offers may arrive simultaneously. Unless you specify to the contrary, all agents will have been made aware of the existence of competing offer(s) – not the terms, of course- and, by inference, be required to submit the highest and best offer on behalf of their buyer client. The options you have are the same as above: you can reject all offers and ask them to come back stronger (not usually done), accept one offer as written, or make a counter offer to one buyer and giving him/her/them a reasonable opportunity to respond. In this last instance, the buyer should respond within a reasonable period of time (especially since there are other buyers eyeing the home), otherwise you can withdraw your counteroffer and deal with another buyer.


A home that sells quickly will most often generate a higher sale price than a similar home with an extended market time. The first question most buyers ask is, “How Long Has It Been On The Market”? An honest response reflecting a long time on the market will correctly or incorrectly suggest to the buyer greater softness in the price. You need to be aware of this when choosing a list price for your home, and…

The first offer you receive for your home usually turns out to be the BEST offer. Period.


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