How to Say No to Lowball Offers from Home Buyers

say no to lowball offers from home buyers

We’re not gonna go all Nancy Reagan on you by insisting we just say no to lowball offers from home buyers because words matter. Just saying no doesn’t cut it. Doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface. I mean, let’s say a home buyer calls out of the blue. Upon further discussion, the buyer’s agent learns the home buyer has made several offers already through different agents. Every time the offer gets rejected, the buyer fires his agent. And now the buyer wants to work with you. This is where Wally says, “Golly, gee, Beaver, that’s swell.” Sure, how lucky can we get?

Pretty darn lucky, this Sacramento Realtor says. Because we have something those other two agents don’t have. Perspective and information. They came into this blindfolded but our eyes are wide open. The buyer has already told us what he expects, including what he will do if he doesn’t get it. This is where being an experienced Realtor really shines.

Means, we can just say no to lowball offers from home buyers, or we can choose a different plan of action. We have plenty of options available before us.

One option of course is to just say no to lowball offers. Tell the buyer we cannot work with him and send him on his merry little way, but that doesn’t resolve anything. It just puts more distance between you and the problem.

Another option is to hang in there, do what an agent would ordinarily do and hope for a different outcome. That’s not an option I suggest. Sets up the agent for failure. And the buyer. Because his present way of thinking is not working very well given the facts he is not buying a home and popping from agent to agent.

Question, Clarify and Educate is the best way to say no to lowball offers from home buyers

The best option is explore why the buyer expects to get a lowball offer accepted. To dive into the reasons the buyer feels the need to make such an offer. What does the buyer think of his percentages of success? Does he give himself 50 / 50 odds? 70 / 30, what? Where did he come up with this strategy, a strategy that leads him to failure?

An agent can produce comparable sales and show the days on market, list-price- to sold-price-ratios, but you might not get a logical response. It’s better to ask enough questions to determine motive. An experienced buyer’s agent will try to understand and empathize with the buyer. Empathizing is not the same thing as sympathy. Empathizing is putting yourself in the shoes of the buyer. Not feeling sorry for them. That would be sympathizing and no buyers need our sympathy. They need our empathy.

When a buyer throws out, “What harm can it do just to ask?” Instead of mumbling, an experienced buyer’s agent will not agree with that question and will explain the harm it can do. Sellers don’t want to be blindsided by lowballs. It ticks them off. Makes them angry. Selling is an emotional issue.

There can be isolated circumstances that call for lowball offers and markets that do not. This is not a market for lowballs. Besides, most lowball offers are just a cry to meet in the middle. Buyers don’t want to show their hand out of the gate. They don’t want sellers to know how much they will pay. Most offers in a normal market get accepted when the sellers come down a little bit and buyers go up from that initial offer. Which means buyers today expect a counter offer.

Elizabeth Weintraub



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