When you’re selling a home, whether it’s a single-family house, duplex, triplex or fourplex, you’ll likely receive offers that are almost right on the mark – but they may not be exactly what you’re looking for. Fortunately, in cases like those, you have the ability to counteroffer; that’s a normal part of the selling process, and buyers often expect sellers to come back with a different figure or different terms. But is there proper etiquette to follow when you make a counteroffer?
There is! Don’t worry; your REALTOR® will be there to help you every step of the way – but this guide gives you the basics on counteroffer etiquette for sellers.
Counteroffer Etiquette for Sellers: The Basics
A counteroffer is simply your way of negotiating with prospective buyers. It’s one of three options you have when you receive an offer (the others are to accept the offer as-is or reject it outright). When you counteroffer your buyer’s offer, you’re simply asking for a higher price or changing some of the terms of the proposed agreement.
For example, a buyer may offer you 10 percent less than what you’re asking for the home. You may decide to counteroffer with 1 percent less than the asking price. Likewise, the buyer may ask you to replace the roof; you may come back with an offer for them to purchase the home for $10,000 less without a roof replacement.
But before you get too caught up in the “what-ifs,” know that it’s perfectly normal for buyers and sellers to go back-and-forth several times before reaching an agreement that works for both parties. Buyers can counteroffer your counteroffer, and you can turn around and make another counteroffer. Your REALTOR will be there to guide you along the way, suggesting concessions you can make (just as the buyer’s agent will be with them, suggesting nudges upward in price that may get you to accept the offer).
The key is being willing to negotiate and understanding that there’s counteroffer etiquette you should follow.
3 Important Tips for Sellers Making a Counteroffer
When you make a counteroffer, you should:
- Understand the buyer’s perspective
- Stay professional and don’t take things personally
- Respond in a reasonable amount of time
Here’s a closer look at each.
Seller Etiquette Tip #1: Understand the Buyer’s Perspective
Buyers don’t necessarily negotiate because they want to; they often do so because saving a few thousand dollars on a house can mean a lot to them over time (especially if they don’t qualify for the lowest possible interest rates). Sure, everyone wants to get a great deal – but remember that your prospective buyers aren’t trying to rob you blind; they just want to get the best deal they can on your home.
Seller Etiquette Tip #2: Stay Professional and Don’t Take Things Personally
It might sting a little when someone offers you less than what you believe your home is worth – but it’s not personal. It’s easy to become emotional, but remember, doing so could cost you a sale.
Seller Etiquette Tip #3: Respond in a Reasonable Amount of Time
Don’t sit on a counteroffer for too long; if you do, the buyer may feel like you’re uninterested and will start looking elsewhere for a house for sale. You don’t have to respond immediately, but don’t let a few days go by without so much as telling the buyer you’re considering what they’ve offered.
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