Profile picture for SlickPoetry

Sellers really are delusional.

I put in an offer Monday morning on what would've been my first house purchase. Yes, I made a low offer. I get that might not be the best way to win over a seller, but hey, its my money we're talking about here. My offer, which was justifiable based on comps and condition issues (at least I believe it was), was 89% of the seller's list price ($174,500). I also threw in there that I wanted them to pay $3000 of the closing.

 

It takes them four days to come back with a counter. Their counter is $173,000 with the $3000 closing assistance. Seriously. They want to sell their house for $170,000 when (I believe) its value is closer to $155,000. Who even counters with $1500 off? What is that???  I don't think they realize what's going on in the world. We countered their counter but I don't expect this deal to get done. I hope they have fun paying that heating bill all winter, cause god only knows when they'll have a serious offer again.

  • November 20 2008 - US
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Answers (102)

Profile picture for SlickPoetry

Sorry, that whole rant didn't read very clearly. The list price was $174,500. We offered $156,000 with $3000 in closing assistance. They countered at $173,000 with the $3000 closing assistance. Thir counter also demanded that we move our projected closing date from January 19 to December 22, which is also pretty ridiculous considering how slow they were in countering, and then they want us to move everything up a month on our end.

  • November 20 2008
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They may be in a place where they are unable to take less without lender approval and may be up against foreclosure.

  • November 20 2008
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Profile picture for SoCal Engr

Slick,

 

Seller's counter included $4,500 in concessions ($1,500 on price, $3,000 in closing costs). Not knowing what the seller's motivation and financial position is, it's hard to second-guess why anyone does what they do.

 

However, since your offer was significantly lower than their asking (you're asking them to take a $21K hit on their bottom line), I'm guessing that they're opening a multiple-counter scenario (assuming you want to play). If it were me and you were closer to my asking, I would probably simply counter in the middle (a single-counter scenario).

 

Bottom line...

 

The sellers put their house on the market at what they felt was a reasonable price, based on their situation. You've made what you feel is a decent offer, based on your situation. The seller either thinks you're offer was too low for the market, or they are constrained by their own situation (either they have to clear a certain amount to get out of the house, or they're under no pressure to sell and have set a bottom line for what they're willing to let the house go for). Either way, it's "just a business deal from here".

  • November 20 2008
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I get that might not be the best way to win over a seller, but hey, its my money we're talking about here.

 

Just for discussion, it is not just your money...it is their money too. If you were trying to sell your house and needed a certain amount to make it a doable sale you would counter too. Offers way below asking only work around 2% of the time imho.

  • November 20 2008
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I agree.  Sellers only have so far to go down.  You should also consider that on top of the price reduction and closing costs they are looking at paying commission and other fees as well.  When I have buyers who need a closing cost credit I always explain how the seller will view the offers bottom line so they can be educated as to what the seller will see. 

You have to decide what is the highest amount you are willing to pay and negotiate towards that.  If that line gets crossed, know ahead of time whether you are willing to walk away.

Good luck!

  • November 20 2008
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you need to take into consideration what is owed on the property. Some of this information may be available in your county records, but it may not list all leins.  If you are offering less than what is owed, the seller would be in a short sale position and would need the lender's permission to take less.

  • November 20 2008
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Profile picture for SlickPoetry

its good advice all. I don't believe any money is owed on the house. It was owned by an elderly couple for 40+ years. the mother is now in a nursing home, the father has passed away. The couple's two adult daughters are in charge of selling the house. Nothing's been said outright by anyone, but I believe they want a certain price to pay for their mother's medical care. In which case I understand their reluctance to sell for a lower price. HOWEVER, in this market I think that house is going to sit for another year (its already going on 250 days on the market as we stand) so why not deal with us on it?

 

Long story short, in the past 10+ years of sales in this neighborhood, no 3 bed 2 bath ranch has EVER sold for more than $172,500. That one sold in 2005, and it had a two car attached garage--ours has a one car detached. Now why on earth would I want to set a new plateau for the neighborhood, given what the local and national markets are doing right now?In our current market, it makes absolutely no fiscal sense to us. I feel bad for these people that they might have medical/emotional issues to contend with that are really going to make it more difficult for them to get anything at all for this house. If they don't accept our offer today ($166,000 with $3000 closing) than we are walking.

 

  • November 20 2008
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Profile picture for SlickPoetry

incidentally, i figure it needs about $10,000-$15,000 of updating to really make it shine. It needs a kitchen remodeling, new appliances, bathroom remodeling, basement needs new flooring, every single room needs to be painted, new light fixtures, the roof on the garage needs to be replaced, etc....

 

imagine a 50 year old house that hasn't really been updated since the late 70s. The appliances are that awful gold color from the 70s. Please...

 

this is part of the reason our first offer was so low.

  • November 20 2008
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Profile picture for Matt Laricy

I understand your thought process, but you also have to understand where the sellers are coming from. They came down to a little at first, just to see if you are willing to "play ball". Imagine if you were selling your house and you found out it wasnt worth what you thought it was, and then get an offer of 21K under what you have it listed. You would probably be a little offended, no matter what the market conditions. Remember, a house is a very personable possession. It is like a family member to some. Also regarding the "four days it took for them to get back to you", remember it may take them some time to figure out their finacial position. Yes they could of already of paid off the mortgage, but they still need to figure out what they need to pocket in order to survive in these tough times. I hope you the best on your home buying process.

  • November 20 2008
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Profile picture for SoCal Engr

Couple of thoughts...

 

- You jumped your offer by $11K, so there is something there that makes you feel it is worth more than the $155K you originally offered.

- The seller compromised $4.5K, you compromised $11K. With a $7K delta in the pricing, I'd expect another counter that splits the $7K (unless they just accept your offer).

- If they counter, are you willing to walk over $3.5K on a $160K+ deal?

 

Last thought...

 

You didn't mention if this is FSBO or being handled by a realtor. If there is are realtors involved on both sides of this deal, the other factor to consider is realtor commissions (i.e., do they want 3% of zero, or x% of $169.5K?).

 

At $166K and the standard 3/3% splits, each realtor makes $4,980. At $169.5 this increases slightly to $5,085, and the seller realizes another $3,290. However, at $166K and a 2/2% split, the seller will actually realize the same profit as $169.5 and a 3/3% split.

 

I am not advocating bending the realtor's over a barrel and making them eat all the difference, but I am often surprised at how protective realtors can get over a few hundred dollars - especially when thousands (to them) are at stake. All I'm saying is "if you get real close and find that no one wants to budge, aggressive realtors should be willing to get involved to make the deal happen."

  • November 20 2008
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Profile picture for SlickPoetry

socal,

 

they have a realtor. And I don't know yet If I would really walk if they offered 169.5 K. My wife really likes this house a lot more than the competition that is available, so I'd probably swallow my pride and accept it. However, there is a certain price point where it becomes a much better move for us to buy a different house in the neighborhood (we already know what house it will be, so it won't be a big deal to move on from this one)

 

If they do offer $169.5, I am going to make damn sure that there is an appraisal clause. And I'm definitely not paying more than $170K. It sounds silly to be so argumentative over $500 or $1000, but when you run the math like I have thats about the point where it makes more sense to buy the other house. Even if we pay full asking price on that one, its still better than overpaying on this one.

  • November 20 2008
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Profile picture for klarek the realist

Slick, if it makes you feel better, just know that your offer seriously peed them off.  It probably took four days for a response because that's how long it took for the agent to convince them to counter at all.  They're delusional.

  • November 20 2008
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Profile picture for luckyme8890

Slick, settle on a firm bottom price for this and any other house before making an offer.  This way you will not get caught up in the heat of the moment.  In this market, you are in the driver's seat.  Take your time.  The seller's financial needs are not your problem.  Yup, it's your money that will get distributed to the sellers, agents, title company, inspector, etc... Draw a line in the sand.  If the sellers don't like your final offer, they can sit and wait another 250 days for the next lower offer.

  • November 20 2008
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Profile picture for Lady Chattel

Stick to your guns Slick, I think your thinking is right on track!   When I got a low ball offer I took into account how much longer it would be before I got another offer and so I decided that I could no longer hold onto the amount I had/needed and met the buyer in the middle.   You have to remember than many out there are ignorant to what is going on and their REA is likely too new to the game to understand it.   Stick to your guns......I doubt highly you would end up kicking yourself, although the possiblity that you find another place and that one sells for less a year later could happen.   You have to go with what you are willing to go with.  Also, my REA and the buyer REA came down 1% on their commish to make the deal happen, they knew I was going to walk and they found a way to make it happen, perhaps these REAs have bills to pay and will due some work for both parties.  Best of luck to you.

  • November 20 2008
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Profile picture for sunnyview
Good advice from lucky and LC. Settle on your bottom price and don't budge. You have to look out for your family. If the sellers feel that your offer is unfair that doesn't mean that it is. Only time will tell the seller if they are right. If you counter, set a firm price in your head and make that your "last chance offer". Any future offers from you will be lower than that. If it's a no go, walk away. I would definitely get an appraisal clause in there to protect yourself a little no matter what.

Beware the seller's agent may come back to you in 60-90 days wanting to accept you old offer if the house has not sold. That happened to a friend of mine about a year ago before the market was weakening here. Make sure your numbers are solid and trust your gut.
  • November 20 2008
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Profile picture for frisky1
Agree with a lot of the great advice above. I don't know about your location but I don't think a 90% offer (or slightly less) is a lowball offer at all. Around here in NJ, that would be a very good offer (not that the sellers are any more reasonable here). Now that you've already gone up to 166k if they don't accept, you might consider letting them know you can't and won't go any higher. cool off a little and keep looking around. I did that when I purchased in June and the sellers came down to my final price. may or may not work for you but in this market you really shouldn't be paying too much unless maybe its truly exceptional and unique and already deeply discounted. good luck.
  • November 20 2008
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Profile picture for BMFPitt

Buy it off the bank in 3 months for $150k.

 

I just offerered $190k on a house that I think is probably worth about $210k.  Apparently the seller had to be talked down by her agent to even think about $250k.  I don't think that one is going anywhere.

 

The next house on my list is 2 blocks away.  If we get it, I'll be sure to drive by and laugh often.

  • November 20 2008
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Profile picture for frisky1
Agree with a lot of the great advice above. I don't know about your location but I don't think a 90% offer (or slightly less) is a lowball offer at all. Around here in NJ, that would be a very good offer (not that the sellers are any more reasonable here). Now that you've already gone up to 166k if they don't accept, you might consider letting them know you can't and won't go any higher. cool off a little and keep looking around. I did that when I purchased in June and the sellers came down to my final price. may or may not work for you but in this market you really shouldn't be paying too much unless maybe its truly exceptional and unique and already deeply discounted. good luck.
  • November 20 2008
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Profile picture for wetdawgs

it is amusing how sellers and buyers both like to point at the other party while using the word "delusional".  Switch hats and it is perfectly understandable.  Seller wants as much as possible, buyer wants to pay as little as possible.  Hopefully a happy medium is achived.

 

 

  • November 20 2008
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Profile picture for jal74

Slick

 

DO NOT LISTEN THE REA"S ABOVE ME.  It does not matter one bit what the seller has a mortgage or anything else.  Offer what you believe is the price you want to pay for that house.  NOT ONE PENNY MORE.  If the seller chooses to counter, walk away and go to the next property.  THERE IS 12 MONTHS OF INVENTORY ON HAND.  Tell the seller, sorry, but no deal on the counter.  And also tell them not to try to contact you in three months telling you that they've agreed on your original price, because by then you will have dropped the price another $21,000 AT LEAST.

 

It's not your problem if they are facing a short sale or foreclosure.  The market is as the market will do.

 

Regards

  • November 20 2008
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Profile picture for Staresce

I dont understand why sellers in a market dropping like this dont take the lowball offer take the loss if they have one and run?

 

Lisa

  • November 20 2008
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Profile picture for sunnyview
Some of them can't because they owe more than the current market prices and some sellers are still stuck on yesterday's prices. It just depends, but no matter what the reason as a buyer you can't be responsible for how they feel. It's really about making sense of the money and not the emotions.
  • November 20 2008
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Profile picture for Staresce

I know some sellers have an underwater mortgage, but if they dont take the offer now the offers will only get lower in the future as prices continue to fall. The lowball offer today may be the price they hope they can get tomorrow. Why cant they see that they have no choice ?

 

Lisa

  • November 20 2008
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Profile picture for ANDREW.ROGOVIC

 Why do they have no choice? If they owe nothing on the house as it was suggested before, they have no choice? Not suggesting it is happening now but if the offer they have is low ball enough that it is taking them 6-12 months into the future. Meaning that they are accepting a price today that accounts for a potential future loss.

 If I were the buyer I would take into consideration everything that people here have suggested but you have to also weigh what you and your wife really want. It is easy to play a game of chicken from behind the computer when you have no emotional attachment to the house.

 Had a friend of mine who lost out on a few houses in last 3-6 months, to highest offers! Everyone told him including me that their was plenty of inventory but at the end of the day most if not all of that inventory were houses he had zero interest in. He eventually found a house that he liked, priced fairly well and he went for it. Planning to stay a while, affordable mortgage and a house that both he and his wife love.

 I am a numbers person so for me I get less attached to things but their is a part of almost every transaction that is bought for primary use that is about emotion. As long as one is keeping the proper perspective on what they can really afford its ok.

  • November 20 2008
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Slick, did I miss an answer to if you were working with an agent or not?  A few things to think about

 

1) You fall victim to emotional negotiating if you don't have a clear plan going on.  You need to fully come to terms with a bottom line price that you can't be moved from for anything.  you should also know exactly what they paid for the home and what they owe before making an offer.  If you don't know this the other "math" you've done is totally irrelevant.  Your numbers mean squat to them if they need to sell for X and can't write a check to cover the difference.

2) If you can live with the concessions they're asking for other than price (close date, contingency dates, etc) then live with them.  You're asking for a considerable amount off the purchase price and negotiating is all about give and take.  In this market your ability to move quickly and efficiently from contract to close might be woth $10,000 to someone trying to get out from under a house that's crushing them.

3) If you're still not reasonably close after 2 counters make your final offer and be prepared to walk.  Nothing is worse than countering back and forth over and over when you're not even close.  Make your bottom line known in writing for the record and if they can't say yes or no to that figure in 24 hours tops go on to the other property.

4) There is no rule that says you can't bid on two properties at once.  Why aren't you seeing how much flexibility your second choice has in terms of sale price.  I find that my client's backups often become the front runners because they end up being the ones willing or able to give my clients terms they find acceptable.  Tell both sellers you have 2 contracts out there and are simply looking for the best deal- take the emotion out of it and put the sellers in the hot seat.

5) 4 days is ridiculous for a counter from a non bank seller.  You always have the right to make the offer an exploding one if not answered by a certain time and date.  This is a seller's market, make them do things on your time.  Tell their agent that you can't be expected to move up the closing by 30 days when it take the better part of a week to hear a yes or no from their side.

  • November 20 2008
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I feel bad for these people that they might have medical/emotional issues to contend with that are really going to make it more difficult for them to get anything at all for this house. If they don't accept our offer today ($166,000 with $3000 closing) than we are walking.

 

LMAO.  Silly Buyer's tricks are for kids.  I hope they sell the house to anybody but you for less then your offer price.

  • November 21 2008
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I don't believe any money is owed on the house. It was owned by an elderly couple for 40+ years. the mother is now in a nursing home, the father has passed away. The couple's two adult daughters are in charge of selling the house.

 

Who do you feel bad for.  According to you its not people its person.  1 person in a nursing home.  How do you know that they even need the proceeds from this home to support themselves?  LOL.  Zillow make dem buyers smart.

  • November 21 2008
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not "themselves"... HERSELF

  • November 21 2008
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DO NOT LISTEN THE REA"S ABOVE ME. It does not matter one bit what the seller has a mortgage or anything else. Offer what you believe is the price you want to pay for that house. NOT ONE PENNY MORE. If the seller chooses to counter, walk away and go to the next property. THERE IS 12 MONTHS OF INVENTORY ON HAND. Tell the seller, sorry, but no deal on the counter. And also tell them not to try to contact you in three months telling you that they've agreed on your original price, because by then you will have dropped the price another $21,000 AT LEAST.



Doomers are idiots because they tend to generalize. Every market is doomed for ever. Every Seller needs to sell now and if they dont' they're "idiots". The above is ridiculous because of the generalizations it makes, every market will not drop  over 10% over the next 3 months... I'm positive some markets will acutally rise, but if you listen to Doomers every market is dropping forever... hold on to your seatbelts!  Without a realistic look at the OP's market we don't know the reality of his offer... LOL.   "wait 3 months it'll be worth $21,000 less... are you willing to put your money where your mouth is?

  • November 21 2008
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Profile picture for SlickPoetry

CHUTTA:

 

I don't really care what the owners sell the house for after we walk away. I'm sure it will probably be less than what we offered, and it'll probably be long after the winter has come and gone. Of the three houses that were on our "radar" so to speak, this was the only one that was really overpriced. We offered on it because we thought we could get the seller to a more reasonable price point. We also liked it because it had all hardwood instead of carpeting. Either way, It probably won't work out with these sellers.

 

I would gladly pay asking price for either of the other two houses we're looking at and not feel a bit of angst about it. They are actually priced appropriately or even under their real value.

  • November 21 2008
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