After submitting an offer to purchase a home, you will receive one of three possible responses: accepted, rejected, or counter offer. The first of these is great for you; it means the seller has accepted your offer completely, and the home will soon be yours. The second possibility is obviously not a response that you want to receive; it means the seller has chosen to totally reject your offer without any further negotiation. The third possibility is what brings us to the topic of this article: Negotiating through counter offers. If the seller sends you a counter offer, it means some part of your offer was unacceptable to them, and they wish to negotiate further, hoping to reach a conclusion that all parties will be agreeable to. Most real estate transactions involve some negotiation, and if you want the outcome to be favorable for you, you should know the basics.
First and foremost, you want to maintain the spirit of cooperation. Don’t be inflexible or overly demanding. Later if there is a problem with your financing, or one of your inspections is delayed, you will need the seller’s approval to extend escrow. If they have countered with a higher price than you are willing to pay, don’t be discouraged. Simply keep in mind how much you are willing to pay for the house, then determine how you can meet the seller part way. If raising the purchase price is not an option, perhaps you can cover the costs of certain fees that you previously requested the seller pay. Another option might be to remove some contingency or additional term that the seller may not like. If you are willing to pay more, but cannot qualify for that high of a loan, the seller may consider a carry-back, where they essentially finance that part of the price, and you make payments to them.
Another important point to remember is to practice give and take. If you are asking the seller to make a concession, you should give up something in return to show the seller you are serious about making this deal work. This rule also applies if you are making a large concession at the seller’s request; you can ask for something in return. Now don’t become too greedy during this process, or you may sacrifice that air of cooperation that you have been working to maintain. You want a good deal, but you don’t want to lose the house over some insignificant detail. Focus on your main goal: getting your new home. If you have contracted a good real estate agent, they will be able to assist you throughout the negotiating process, making recommendations as you go, and helping you obtain a favorable outcome to your negotiations thereby moving you one step closing to owning your next home.