Jeff’s Carlsbad Blog for First Time Home Buyers

What do I do When the Seller Makes a Counter-Offer?

Posted in House Hunting,Offers,Psychological Stuff by Jeff Dowler on May 15, 2007

shaking-hands.gifThere is a very good chance that the seller will make a counter offer to your offer, unless you decide to make a full-price offer. Not too common in this market these days.

I have had a number of buyers ask me – what do I do when the seller makes a counter offer?

  • Don’t take it personally. This is part of the negotiation process. You want to pay as little as possible and the seller wants as much as possible, so you both need to find a middle ground. Unless you give them what they want, a counter-offer is normal and expected.

  • It’s good news…the seller did NOT reject your offer outright, refuse to talk further, or simply ignore your offer. So you are in the game.

  • Keep in mind that when a counter offer is made the original offer is no longer valid – the terms have been changed by the counter (although it might only be price, or closing date).

  • You have a choice to respond – with a counter offer of your own, or not. You can choose to walk away if you wish. You can accept the counter offer. Or you may accept some portion of it but make other revisions, say price.

  • In some states counter-offers must be done in writing(e.g., California has a form for counter-offers, number sequentially for each counter; in MA they typically do this verbally, at least where I worked in the Boston area).  So find out the standard protocol for your area.

  • The negotiation goes back and forth until there is a “meeting of the minds” or one or the other party backs out.


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