Crafting a Counteroffer
Any offer is an essential step toward selling your home, but sometimes it doesn’t put you as close to the finish line as you had hoped. Buyers looking for a bargain may lowball their effort. Even serious shoppers may prefer to start a negotiation rather than pursue a quick agreement.
Regardless of the strategy, a less-than-perfect offer still warrants optimism. Taking the time to carefully craft a counteroffer can close the gap faster, giving you and the buyer a reason to celebrate.
The sales price gets most of the attention when negotiating a real estate contract, and deservedly so. If a property that is priced appropriately garners a reduced offer, particularly when the home is new on the market, sticking to the full listing price can send the signal that you know it’s not overpriced. You may even consider including the comparable sales that guided the decision.
However, the listing price is not the only factor where money matters. A counteroffer that doesn’t budge on the biggest number can still move toward a compromise. Buyers with limited funds for a down payment may be more responsive to a deal that covers some of their closing costs or reduces the earnest money required to begin the transaction. A counteroffer is your opportunity to highlight the areas where you are willing to negotiate, even if the price isn’t among them.
However, in many cases, the price is not set in stone. If your home has been on the market for a while or there is an urgency to get a deal done, a little flexibility makes sense. Fortunately, it’s not the only significant piece of a sales contract. The timing can be just as critical to the bottom line.
A quick closing can save you money by eliminating the need to pay for housing payments in two places at once. Leasing back the home after closing can give you more time to move out or cut storage and temporary housing costs. If you find yourself meeting a buyer in the middle on price, don’t overlook these alternative ways a counteroffer can tip an agreement in your favor.
In any real estate transaction, each side will have unique priorities. Encouraging your real estate agent to find out what the buyer is most focused on can make the negotiations go smoothly. Once you know what’s most important to them, you can identify the most effective way to counter their opening bid.
Items such as refrigerators or washers and dryers can be an additional bargaining chip since it is typically up to the seller to include them in the sale. Sellers should evaluate any contingencies closely. If a traditional buyer needs to sell their current home, you could be stuck waiting for closing. On the other hand, an investor might be willing to skip the inspection contingency and have cash ready rather than needing financing. Remember, a counteroffer can address any of these issues, giving you the chance to push it in the direction you prefer.
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