The Offer: Every Coin Has Two Sides
So the buyer has finally made “the offer” on your property. For them, it’s the culmination of weeks, months or possibly even years of looking for just the right place. They’ve logged many miles, hours of research, gathered several opinions and may have consulted various “experts” as to what’s involved with all that they want or need to do to the house. They’ve reviewed the market data with their agent. They know when you bought the property and what you paid. They have a copy of your seller’s disclosure and have visually assessed the condition of the home cosmetically and structurally. Based on an analysis of recent sales and local market trends, the buyer has worked with their agent to craft an offer worthy of what they hope is a positive response.
For you as a seller, its a milestone in a journey of keeping the house perpetually clean, living through several showings and an array of feedback on your home. You’ve probably never heard so much feedback from the peanut gallery–agents and their customers. But in the end, the buyers with this offer have chosen your home as the place to have their life happen. It all comes down to this: will you accept, reject or counter the offer?
What Happens Next?
The answer, of course depends. It depends on umpteen variables and scenarios, but let’s look at what happens once that offer is submitted.
It starts with effective communication from the buyer’s agent to your agent. Sometimes it starts with the presentation of a story introducing the buyer and explaining what has led them to selecting your home. It should be meant to entice and hopefully interest you in beginning a conversation regarding finding an acceptable price and terms that both sides can agree upon. This helps soften the process instead of just sending in a form with a bunch of numbers, dates and legalese that don’t convey any sentiment or personality behind it.
Before Responding to an Offer, be sure to ask these 3 Important Questions:
1. How much are the buyers offering and what will this offer net me?
2. How solid do the buyers look and what are the chances of this going through?
3. Are there any potential red flags or funky conditions of this offer?
Every seller has a target price or range they wish to settle on and you likely have yours. The seller’s agent is going to likely run a closing cost estimate for you that will project your costs based on the offer price made. There are closing costs associated with selling your home and they can vary depending on where in the country you are located. Once you know where things lie after closing expenses will help you in determining how to respond.
From “For Sale” to “Sold”
Your motivation for determining how to respond to an offer may be driven by when you purchased the property, how much you owe, as well as other personal factors impacting your selling situation – are you electively relocating for a job or due to a corporate directed move? Is the move as a result of a life change – marriage, birth, divorce or death? You may also consider how your home compares in relation to its competition on the market as well as how long your home has been on the market and if you’ve had any other offers.
But in reality, as your agent will likely advise, “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” The market is speaking by the nature of the offer made and it would be in your best interest as a seller to try to work with it. Getting the conversation started on price and terms will hopefully result in a meeting of the minds between you and the buyer. After the finer points have been worked out, you will be able to go from “for sale” to “sold” and toast to a new chapter beginning in your life.