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“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” ~ Winston Churchill


Consider before you ignore or outright refuse a very low purchase offer for your home. A counter offer and negotiation could turn that low purchase offer into a sale.

You just received a purchase offer from someone who wants to buy your home. You’re excited and relieved, until you realize the purchase offer is much lower than your asking price. How should you respond? Set aside your emotions, focus on the facts, and prepare a counter offer that keeps the buyers involved in the deal.

Check your emotions.

A purchase offer, even a very low one, means someone wants to purchase your home. Unless the offer is laughably low, it deserves a cordial response, whether that’s a counter offer or an outright rejection. Remain calm and discuss with your real estate agent the many ways you can respond to a lowball purchase offer.

Counter the purchase offer.

Unless you’ve received multiple purchase offers, the best response is to counter the low offer with a price and terms you’re willing to accept. Some buyers make a low offer because they think that’s customary, they’re afraid they’ll overpay, or they want to test your limits.

A counter offer signals that you’re willing to negotiate. One strategy for your counter offer is to lower your price, but remove any concessions such as seller assistance with closing costs, or features such as kitchen appliances that you’d like to take with you.

Consider the terms.

Price is paramount for most buyers and sellers, but it’s not the only deal point. A low purchase offer might make sense if the contingencies are reasonable, the closing date meets your needs, and the buyer is pre-approved for a mortgage. Consider what terms you might change in a counteroffer to make the deal work.
Review your comps.

Ask your REALTOR® whether any homes that are comparable to yours (known as “comps”) have been sold or put on the market since your home was listed for sale. If those new comps are at lower prices, you might have to lower your price to match them if you want to sell.

Consider the buyer’s comps.

Buyers sometimes attach comps to a low offer to try to convince the seller to accept a lower purchase offer. Take a look at those comps. Are the homes similar to yours? If so, your asking price might be unrealistic. If not, you might want to include in your counter-offer information about those homes and your own comps that justify your asking price.

If the buyers don’t include comps to justify their low purchase offer, have your real estate agent ask the buyers’ agent for those comps.

Get the agents together.

If the purchase offer is too low to counter, but you don’t have a better option, ask your real estate agent to call the buyer’s agent and try to narrow the price gap so that a counter-offer would make sense. Also, ask your real estate agent whether the buyer (or buyer’s agent) has a reputation for lowball purchase offers. If that’s the case, you might feel freer to reject the offer.

Don’t signal desperation.

Buyers are sensitive to signs that a seller may be receptive to a low purchase offer. If your home is vacant or your home’s listing describes you as a “motivated” seller, you’re signaling you’re open to a low offer.

If you can remedy the situation, maybe by renting furniture or asking your agent not to mention in your home listing that you’re motivated, the next purchase offer you get might be more to your liking.

By: Marcie Geffner

Marcie Geffner is a freelance reporter who has been writing about real estate, home ownership and mortgages for 20 years. She owns a ranch-style house built in 1941 and updated in the 1990s, in Los Angeles.




“Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity.” – Hippocrates

For the last few days I’ve had time to do a lot of thinking. Ever since the serpentine belt on my car broke, I have had trouble getting around because I sprained or jammed my ankle when I was getting into the tow-truck. I’m not tall, 5′-2″, and need assistance getting into trucks.  My husband knows this and will either already be in the truck to grab my wrist, or give me a boost in via my tush. Well it was raining and the man was hooking up my vehicle to the tow mechanism. I was getting wet and it was cold.  So I decided to get in the truck on my own. I was almost there when my foot slipped off the floorboard. There was no step and no handle to grab, so I went down hard on both my feet. Luckily I didn’t fall, but I either jammed my ankle when it hit the ground or twisted it as I slipped off the floorboard. In any event, today has been one week and I am still in pain. No I didn’t make a stink – that is just not my way and besides it didn’t seem serious enough at the time.

The day after my car was fixed, I returned with a cane to complete the presentation and CMA I was on my way to do when my car died. The man was nice enough and showed me around his home. It was difficult getting around but I managed. We talked for a good hour and a half, I finished my presentation and took a few pictures of the exterior. I went home in much pain, did the CMA and sent it to him the same day.  I thought I gave him a good price range to sell his home albeit an honest one. One year ago he took out a small loan against his home, had an appraisal done on his property and it appraised for “X” amount of dollars.  The CMA I prepared for him was between 5-10K less than the appraisal value he received one year ago.  Not bad considering the market is still trying to level off.

I received an email from his wife the following day, telling me they decided not to sell at this moment.

What is the lesson to be learned here?  Sometimes you need to put yourself first and just say no. The outcome would have been the same had I not gone back to do the presentation and CMA – but I could have rested my ankle and maybe today it would be feeling better.  Here’s another thought – if I hadn’t gone out there in the first place, I would have been in my town when my serpentine belt broke and could have called for help and maybe not have sprained my ankle at all!  If only we could see in the future, would we change what we are about to do?  This is probably a question that has plagued mankind for centuries and still, there is no answer.

What would you would have done?



“Every gift from a friend is a wish for your happiness.” –  Richard Bach

Three days ago, when I was talking with a friend – Mary Jayne, I was telling her I was trying to figure out how to get my presentation onto the “Nook” my daughter gave me for Christmas.  I also mentioned that I hoped my customer had WiFi so I could show him some of my websites.  She offered to loan me her laptop with her 4G card.  She said it was great because she could get on the internet anywhere, even at the beach.  The 4G card was like a cell phone she said.  I thought about it for a moment and then told her the last time I borrowed a laptop, I was burglarized and that was the last thing I wanted to happen again.  She insisted, so I borrowed it and boy was I glad I did.

Two days ago I left for the small town of Bronson about 35 miles from my home. That is where the prospective customer was that I was going to talk with and give my presentation to.  It was raining and cold and I considered taking my poodle with me for company and then opted against it.  I’m glad I did!  Thirty miles down the road, I suddenly had no power steering, and when I looked down at my dashboard, I noticed the battery light had come on.  I quickly called my husband because I knew I would lose cell phone service – my carrier has limited towers in that area. My husband immediately told me to turn around and stop because my serpentine belt probably broke and I would be overheating shortly.  When I looked at the temperature gauge, the temperature was indeed climbing.  Making a U-turn was no easy task without power steering, but I did and pulled over, turned the car off and put my flashers on.  I then tried calling for assistance and could not because my phone had no signal.

As I was sitting in my car wondering what I was going to do stuck out here in the middle of nowhere without cell phone coverage, I remembered the conversation I had with Mary Jayne.  I thought what did I have to lose, it is supposed to work anywhere. So out came the laptop and the 4G card.  I logged on to the internet and to my surprise I was connected.  Great I thought, at least now I can email people for help.

I emailed my office, a co-worker, two girlfriends, my husband, and the repair shop I usually take my car to, and explained that I was broke down, where, and had no phone coverage and if they get this message please email me back.  I kept waiting and waiting for an email and nothing.  Every now and then I would check my cell phone to see if there were any bars and at one point I had a half a bar.  I immediately tried calling my repair shop.  They answered but they could only hear every other word I was saying, so I repeated, “check email, check email, check email…. I guess they heard the word “email” and checked their email.  About 1 hour later, a tow truck pulls up.  Being the New Yorker that I am, I went to the door of the tow truck and asked why he was here and who sent him.  When he gave me the correct answer, I almost cried I was so happy.   I sat in my car, with the hazard lights on for over two hours.  About 50 cars and trucks passed by and not one car or truck stopped to see what the matter was. I thought for sure I would be stuck along the side of the road all day.

As a Realtor, part of my job is to constantly check my email.  That is how I stay in touch with lenders, buyers, sellers, and repair people.  I forgot that not everyone is on the net as much as I am. My friends and husband had not looked at their email, because they were busy doing other things, although my husband did try calling me about 6 times.

So what are the lessons to be learned in all of this?  There definitely is more than one here.  The first is that God and my guardian angel were watching over me that day.  I never asked to borrow my friends laptop, Mary Jayne offered out of thin air and the goodness of her heart – that was surely God working through her to protect me. Plus, why did my cell phone work long enough to call my husband and find out why I had no power steering, then it didn’t work after that?  Could it be my guardian angel had his/her hand in getting that call through?  The second is, perhaps if someone did stop to help me their intentions would not have been honorable – I might have been in worse trouble. The third lesson is that perhaps I need to change my cell phone carrier. My carrier, although they have the very best customer service,  do not have enough towers and after getting stuck like I did two days ago, I don’t ever want to be in that situation again.

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