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Making an Offer on a House … What Buyers Should Know

September 27, 2009

P R O P E R T Y   S E A R C H

R E S T I V O – H E C H T M A N    T E A M


What exactly is an offer?  An offer is a knock at the door by an interested buyer, saying they like the house and they want to talk:  The precursor to a conversation.  That conversation may be quick, or lengthy.  How close  the offer is to the asking price and how close  the seller’s counter offer is to the list price on one hand, or to the buyer’s initial offer  on the other hand, will set  the tone for negotiation.  What are the terms of the contract… and how complicated are they?  

Negotiating a sale is a joy.. or it should be!  And if your Realtor doesn’t feel that way, you may want to rethink this somewhat!  Concentrate on, and negotiate the stuff that’s really important to you.  Is it price?  Is it  timeframe/closing date? Are you concerned about what the inspections may uncover? Is your financing solid and already arranged for … or not? Pick the important issues… and stick with them. Concede  the smaller, inconsequential items.

Should you make a low-ball offer? Overpriced homes  are often priced so as to allow “wiggle room” in negotiations. Overpricing a home is counterproductive, in my opinion, and I have found that doing so actually encourages low-ball offers.   Buyers tend to hold off on making an offer on over-priced property… They will wait for the homeowner to more “realistically” price the the house.  The savvy buyer may well just steer clear.  

Most activity on a house occurs within the first few months of being listed.  Competitively priced properties attract offers, and stir  interest.  Buyers who understand the market are more inclined to make  solid offers on competitively priced homes,  concerned that someone else will come in with a better offer.  But sometimes it takes a buyer a few ‘losses’ before he or she wises-up. 

Missing out:  A recent story:  One Realtor submitted a rather low offer (which our seller rejected outright).  Over the span of a week, that buyer came to his senses, submitting another, solid contract.  Unfortunately for him,  the house sold… and not to him.  Having a good grasp of the market, and of property values is important… before submitting an offer… and that Realtor did not have the right  information… in time. 

How an offer is presented to the seller really does matter.  Is your offer being presented in person by the agent representing you or is the seller’s agent presenting your offer alone?  Is your offer going to be submitted electronically?  Is it written or verbal? ( Oh please… not verbal!   Seriously!) How negotiations go depend in large part on the expertise of your Realtor.   How  YOU are being portrayed to the seller matters.   Is the transaction amicable  or cut throat?  Do the two Realtors have a good rapport?   What degree of clarity and communication  is  there?  Common ground, and the ability on the part of the parties to NEGOTIATE TO WIN are key! The outcome of your real estate transaction lies in knowledge  and in negotiation.  There are so many subtle details to a real estate transaction, and negotiating a sale is an art as well as a science.

As a buyer, whether you like the seller (or the seller’s agent) is immaterial .  You have to like the house. Period. It’s your Realtor’s job to prepare your offer, negotiate the contract,  and guide you through the process. Information is priceless, and it’s your Realtor who will gather much of it for you.  Caveat Emptor…  Ask questions…. Gather all the information you need.  While buying as house is one of the most important decisions you’ll make,  that decision is typically one  that buyers  ultimately make  quickly..  and viscerally.   

Take a look though  on Facts and Trends, which will provide insight as to what’s selling, and has sold… and where the market stands.  That’s a start.  And for the REST… (if you don’t already have a Realtor)…Mother/Daughter Real Estate Team Alexandra Restivo and Vicki Restivo … can help … whether you are buying or selling in Miami… condos, homes or investment property.  To stay current on all the Miami real estate updates and  receive my blog posts directly to your inbox, please subscribe below.  Whether you’re  thinking about buying, or are contemplating selling your house,  just call: (305) 793-1365 or (305) 632-0164  … or  send me a note here.

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