Do Not Sit on a Seller’s Counter Offer in This Sacramento Market

seller's counter offer

Buyers who deliberate too long over a seller’s counter offer could lose the house.

Many people selling homes in Sacramento do not want to issue a seller’s counter offer to a buyer. Some of these people think that buyers should instinctively know what they want. I will draw a counter offer over some of the tiniest things that need clarification or correction in a purchase contract, and you know why? Because the tiniest things can mushroom into big honkin’ headaches. Headaches happen due to ambiguity. Want to hear another reason for a seller’s counter offer? It lets me tell the next buyer’s agent who calls that we have a counter offer out but they have a small window to take this home away from that the buyer.

How can they do that when the buyers have a seller’s counter offer? It’s easy, because until the buyers sign the counter offer, the sellers are free to sell to anybody else they choose. The minute the Sacramento listing agent receives the signed seller’s counter offer, all parties are in contract. You know who wants a house so badly it hurts? The buyer who hears there is a counter offer out. Especially when that buyer is a position to swoop in to steal it. Everybody wants what somebody else wants. Law of human nature.

My typical method of operation involves sending out a counter offer to a buyer and giving that buyer 3 days to respond. If the buyer takes the full 3 days, maybe we’ll sell the property to a higher bidder on day #2. Not to mention, buyers don’t like to be pushed. They like to have the appearance of time on their side. No pressure. Their own agent should tell them time is of the essence and urge them to quickly act. Do they? I don’t know.

Often, when we employ this strategy, the buyer’s agent is a bit dismayed when suddenly the seller withdraws the counter offer. They say, what? Hey! My buyers were thinking about signing! Not my problem. The way to withdraw a seller’s counter offer is basically two-fold. First, the listing agent informs the buyer’s agent that the seller has revoked the seller’s counter offer, immediately. I do this via text and email. The next step? Get the Withdrawal of Offer (or the weirdly named WOO) signed by the sellers, followed by delivery to the buyer’s agent.

For example, a buyer’s agent insisted this week that we cooperate with her buyers and make the transaction work, damnit. In her mind, I guess. In my mind I don’t have to cooperate with anybody. If my sellers want to make the transaction work with that buyer, we’ll do it. If not, I’ll do something else. That something else generally involves selling to another buyer who doesn’t need a lot of time to ponder whether to buy the home at list price or better. I have fiduciary to my seller. I’m very clear on that aspect.


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