As home sellers, we all want the first offer to be one we can't refuse. However, this is rarely the case. Most home sales require negotiating before an acceptable agreement is reached. This process can be difficult to navigate on your own, but with the help of your Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties real estate agent, you'll be able to negotiate an offer with ease and confidence.
Choosing the best offer
Once an offer is received, you are not required to reply immediately. If you're not certain the price and terms meet your needs, it's OK to take extra time to think about the offer, but make sure you consult with your agent about how much time you have to respond to the offer.
To help determine which offers you should consider, look at the current real estate market: Are homes in your neighborhood selling quickly, slowly, or not at all? Don't assume that one offer will lead quickly to others. One predictable factor in the real estate market is that it's totally unpredictable.
Make a list of your priorities and outline which is most important to you. For example, if you have a minimum price, be clear on what it is. Sit down with your agent when you're ready to review your offer or offers. Bring your list of priorities with you and remember that there's more to an offer than price. For example, has the buyer asked for anything to be thrown in, such as appliances or furniture?
When reviewing offers, look at the buyer's funding. Does the buyer have all funds in place and ready to be transferred to you? Pre-approval is not a guarantee; review the pre-approval letter and compare it to the offer letter. Also ensure that the time frame works for you. Your closing date should meet the needs of both parties.
Moving forward with an offer
Once an offer is received, you can either accept, reject, or make a counteroffer. A counteroffer is the response you give to an offer asking for modifications; it also is when negotiating begins.
The offer should include:
- The total price
- The amount of the down payment
- The date the closing will take place
Check to see if the buyer has included items of personal property, such as a washer and dryer, in the offer. Make sure if you don't want those items to be included that you exclude them in a counteroffer.
Most buyers will submit offers on a California form residential purchase agreement. This agreement includes, among other things, contingencies which will permit the buyer to cancel without penalty if the inspection of the property uncovers major problems or if they fail to obtain financing.
There may be several counteroffers, so be prepared to continue negotiating.