- Communicate with the seller, change up your offer, and try again.
- Just because it’s a “low ball” doesn’t mean it’s a bad offer. Maybe the seller is the one with unreasonable expectations.
- It’s not always the price – find out what other terms the seller may be looking for.
I’m not talking about losing an offer in multiple offers.
I’m not talking about not being able to come to an agreement after countering back and forth.
I’m talking about rejection. A flat out, stone cold “no”. Or maybe even no response at all.
The Seller’s Options
When a seller receives an offer, they have three options for what they can do with it:
- Reject / Ignore
I always recommend to my sellers that they do one of the first two – accept or counter. A “counter” sometimes is exactly the seller’s asking price and terms. One might see that as a rejection. But at least we are communicating back to the buyer that yes, we are interested in working with you!
Why Was My Offer Rejected?
Was it a Low Ball?
I get it. You don’t want to start with an offer so good that it gets accepted right away, and then you spend the rest of your life wondering what might have happened if you had offered just a few thousand less. How low is the seller really willing to go? A low ball is the only way you’ll find out!
I do not recommend deliberately making a low ball offer for this reason, however. A low ball offer can unnecessarily annoy the seller, whose good will may be useful later in the transaction when negotiating repairs, contract extensions or navigating other small bumps in the road to closing.
Read my article about how sellers should respond to a lowball offer to get an idea of what the seller may be thinking when they get an offer. If your offer is far enough from the seller’s asking price, the seller may decide you’re not serious or close and give up without even trying.
Remember, this doesn’t always mean you are too low; sometimes the seller is the unreasonable one! Rely on your own agent’s market analysis to know how close or far you are from the real home value.
There aren’t many other scenarios I can imagine that would result in outright rejection instead of at least a counter, other than “insultingly” low ball offers.
Maybe they are just looking for a faster closing date, or cash financing, or some other term that you can accommodate, but they assumed you couldn’t.
And maybe the seller just doesn’t like you (or your agent). Maybe you treated the house poorly when you were viewing it, or your agent was rude to theirs, or something else just went wrong. If you don’t think you did submit a low ball but were still rejected, it’s definitely a good idea to ask “why” and see if it’s something you can fix.
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What Do I Do Now?
The first thing to trying again is to find out, if possible, why your offer was rejected or ignored. It might seem obvious if it is a low ball. But have your agent talk to their agent and see what terms the seller. Delicately tease a counter out from them.
Then, once you know more what they are looking for, you can perhaps adjust your offer and resubmit. Maybe you knew you were low balling and are prepared to try a more realistic number. Consider resubmitting your “highest and best” offer, based on the value of the home and any feedback on your initial offer you can get, and give the seller another chance to “take it or leave it”.
And sometimes a seller may have just misunderstood a component of your offer. Some additional engagement and explanation might sort out any confusion and clear the path toward a happy resolution and home for you!
Wait Them Out
Maybe you think your offer is fair. Maybe even good! Maybe the seller is the one being unreasonable. Maybe they’re overpriced!
Nothing like a couple months on the market with no activity to drive home that fact. Trying your offer again after a month or two, if the home is still available and you can wait that long, might be worthwhile. After a couple months sweating it out with no good offers, they might see your offer in a very different light the second go around, and at least try to work something out.
Search Your Inner Self
Are you a serious buyer?
If not, it might be time to fess up and let everyone know. When I first became an agent, my biggest surprise was how much of my time was spent with buyers and sellers who never ultimately bought or sold anything with me. It wasn’t that they were trying to waste my time or anything in bad faith. But as they got further into the process, they just realized purchasing a home wasn’t the best option in their circumstances.
Someone unserious about the process – perhaps even subconsciously? – might make bad offers out of fear that a good offer might get accepted. At that point it gets “real”, and that can be scary to an unprepared buyer!
How’s that for some Dr. Phil?
Don’t Force the Deal
Hopefully, you had good reasons for offering whatever it was you offered. If the seller doesn’t like those terms enough to even consider it.
In particular, maybe the seller expects too much for their home. Don’t overpay for something just because a seller is stubborn.
And on that subject – don’t get emotional about it. I’ve had deals fall apart because the buyer and seller didn’t get along – usually they never even met the other person! Remember you are buying a home, not a friend. The seller isn’t coming with the home (unless you include them on the Non-Real Property Addendum – just kidding!).
Most likely, this will be your final course of action. It may just not be The One. There are other fish in the sea, and trying to reason with a seller or get one to give you an unseemly discount may just be a dead end.
Don’t give up right away just because a seller rejects your offer! Communicate, change it up, and try something different.
But keep looking at other options on the market and prepare for the possibility that you and this home seller just aren’t a match.
Brian E Adams, REALTOR®
I am a real estate agent in the Fort Hood area, with StarPointe Realty. Contact me for help buying and selling in Central Texas!