Why Did the Seller Reject an Offer for That Home?

Approve Reject Computer Keys Showing Accept Or DeclineWhy the seller rejected an offer to buy a home is really not all that important but it doesn’t mean a buyer might not want to know. Moreover, it might be the buyer’s agent who is more curious about why than the buyer. In my earlier years of real estate, like back when Jimmy Carter was in office, I would often feel like I was helping a buyer’s agent by explaining how the buyer could do better next time, but over the years I’ve come to conclude that trying to help was about the dumbest thing I could do. It’s not my place to try to help. I’m just the listing agent.

First, it doesn’t matter why the offer was rejected, the fact is it was. It didn’t meet some sort of criteria. There could be a bazillion reasons why an offer could be rejected but after the seller has accepted another offer, there is nothing the rejected buyer can do but wait for that buyer to cancel. If the seller is so inclined, the seller could agree to sign a backup offer with the buyer but many sellers dislike backup offers. They often prefer to retain the freedom to respond to fluctuations of the real estate market in the event prices later rise.

Second, short of discrimination / violating Fair Housing Laws, the seller can reject an offer for just about any reason. Sometimes it’s a toss of the dice.

Maybe you could look at it like a point system. Offers need to meet certain points. There is price, of course, terms of agreement, length of escrow, type of loan, possession dates, lender reputations, buyer’s agent reputations, amount of earnest money deposit, even to how the offer is written — whether error free, and each carries weight. When I try to help a seller weigh an offer against others, we add up the positives and look at the negatives. A negative would be a possible bad situation or red flag that could prevent the escrow from closing.

The final choice is always the seller’s. Anything I were to disclose to a buyer’s agent about why their buyer’s offer did not measure up would be subjective on my part and could open my seller to a potential lawsuit, so I don’t go there. My lips are zipped. Yeah, I might know what the seller told me as to why your offer was rejected, but unless I am representing a buyer under those circumstances, which I am not, those reasons will never pass through my lips.

Why the seller elected to reject an offer is not the buyer’s business.

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