Use Counteroffers To Your Advantage

You’ve found a buyer, but the offer is not quite what you were expecting. Is it a good idea to make a counteroffer? Perhaps. But to be a strong, in-control seller, it’s imperative that you understand how counteroffers work.

When Counteroffers Occur

Counteroffers are replies to original offers. For example, the buyer asks that you leave the washer and dryer with the house. You decline and counter back to the buyer with the washer and dryer marked off of the personal property section of the contract. You have made a counteroffer.

Counteroffer Snafu

It sounds simple, but there’s one twist: A counteroffer is an entirely new offer, one that the buyer doesn’t have to accept. Any change, no matter how minor, voids the first offer, and the buyer is under no obligation to respond to the new offer. This means that even though the buyer first offered to pay full-price (in cash) for the house, you may have just killed the sale because you balked at leaving a washer and dryer worth a couple hundred dollars!

Communicating Your Acceptance

There’s an additional point to understand regarding offers of all kinds. The buyer has the right to withdraw the offer anytime before hearing of your acceptance. For example, while you’re deciding on an offer, you could receive word that the buyer is revoking her offer and purchasing another property. This is why it’s important to let your agent know as soon as you make your decision.

When Counteroffers Make Sense

Weigh the pros and cons before proceeding, and be ready to accept the consequences. The buyer can walk away from the sale, or even counter back at terms less favorable than they first proposed. In general, win/win negotiating will serve you better than mind games. Be mindful of your buyer’s feelings, and they will likely return the kindness if something goes wrong in the inspection stage, ensuring two happy parties at the closing table.

Next Up:

The Home Inspection

The inspection is the first of two major hurdles in getting to the closing table.