Receive and Deal with Offers

Pick the Best Offer
In today's real estate markets property owners can expect to receive a number of offers for their houses. There is still demand for good residential property in the USA, even if things have cooled off a little. Sellers of properties enjoy receiving multiple offers because it means they can push up the property price (because there is a demand) thus creating an opportunity to start a bidding war.

Knowing how to respond to offers you get will sometimes determine the price and terms you eventually obtain from the buyer. If you receive offers you don't necessarily have to accept the highest price, or the first offer.

You may prefer a lower priced offer because you are more comfortable with the ability of the buyer to make settlement and pay the necessary money, or because their terms are more attractive than an offer that is higher, but suspect.

If you don't like the offer received, you can make changes and send back a counter offer to the buyer.

Receiving an Unconditional Offer
If you receive an unconditional, full priced offer, then your agent may be unhappy if you don't accept this because they could miss out on their commission. If you have set a price of $250,000 for your property and a buyer offers you the full price without any conditions, then you are almost obliged to accept it.

If you don't your agent may look to you for their commission in that they have fulfilled their part and come up with everything you wanted, but now have decided to refuse.

You can counter more than one offer. If you accidentally accept more than one offer you could be legally obliged to sell your property to two buyers. To protect yourself, use a standard counter offer form that says the counter offer is not accepted until the buyer signs it and subsequently is accepted by you.

Don't try to back out of Deal
Trying to back out of a deal is unwise because an accepted purchase offer is a legal contract and the buyer can take legal action to enforce it. Once you have signed and agreed to the offer with a buyer you can't get out of it.

Your only hope would be that the buyer does an inspection and refuses to go ahead with the deal because of matters raised. That is, your only hope is that the buyer cannot conclude the deal because the conditions in the agreement cannot be fulfilled.

Remember, you don't have to accept any offer you are not happy with. You don't have to accept the highest price because you may want to accept a lower priced offer that perhaps has no conditions, etc.

How to Protect Yourself when Receiving an Offer
You can protect yourself when receiving an offer by putting in changes or conditions which in fact refuses the buyers offer and sending back your own counter-offer. For example, you can put in a counter-offer for a higher price.

That counter-offer will go back to the buyer for them to accept or reject. You then carry on negotiations until you come to a position that you and the buyer are happy with.

You Don't have to take the First Offer

You do not have to accept any particular offer. If the price is well below what you were looking for, then you reject the offer on the spot. If the offer is attractive price-wise, you may still hold on to it and not accept it until others have come in.

You may respond to an offer with a written counter offer of your own. This counter offer will accept some of the terms, but include other terms in the new counter offer.

Most counter offers will involve the following:

  • Price: You want more money than what has been offered.
  • Occupancy: You needs more time to move out so cannot settle as early as the buyer wants.
  • Inspections: You want the buyer to organise the inspections more quickly than indicated.
  • Buyer's sale of current house: You do not want to wait for the buyer to sell his/her house.

When the buyer receives the counter offer he/she may be reject it, or a counter offer to the counter offer is sent back to you. A contract will be completed when either you or the buyer accepts the terms of the other party, whether it is a counter offer or a counter, counter offer.

The buyer's first offer will create a contract only if it meets exactly what you have asked for in price and all the other terms, without any further conditions.