Learning from the Low-ball Offer

Is a low-ball offer a good chance to see things with fresh eyes?

The low-ball offer is hardly uncommon, especially with the number of all-cash “let’s make a deal” buyers who feel that a “bad news economy” gives them purchasing leverage in any market. Some buyers today are in denial that the market has changed and is moving more towards a seller’s market. Obviously the listing agent has an obligation to present all offers to their seller. And yes, the seller might be insulted at first, but a low-ball offer is a good time to reflect on the listing, your buyer, and possibly see things with fresh eyes.

Here are a handful of things to consider:

1. What’s the seller’s position? Facing foreclosure? Facing other personal or professional deadlines, like job relocation?

2. Are there any cosmetic or physical reasons the listing might be encouraging low-ball offers? Is this a wake-up call?

3. How close is the offer to a likely appraisal? Will the appraisal strengthen or weaken your negotiating position?

4. Is the buyer legitimately open to negotiation, or is this a “see if it sticks” pitch? Are they serious buyers?

5. Are there recent comparables which suggest this “low-ball” isn’t as low as it seems? How confident are you of the pricing?

6. Finally (and most importantly): Is this low-ball offer a great opportunity to have that difficult conversation regarding any/all the above issues?