Pleasanton CA Real Estate

Q & A: How do I respond to “low ball” offers?


Question:  Doug our home has been for sale for about 45 days.  We recently reduced the price significantly, from $1,200,000 down to $1,099,000 (approximately $100,000).  Our home is now priced very well compared to other comps.  Within a week of lowering the price, we got a low ball offer of $990,000.  How should we respond?  Dave in Dublin

Answer:  Dave that is a great question.  Buyers are always trying to get a great deal.  Sometimes when the price is reduced, some buyers take this as a sign that you are desperate for a sale and will try a low offer to see if you will respond.  That is their right.  You do not have to respond either.  That is your right.  If you feel the offer is frivolous and not serious, you can have your agent tell them “No thanks.  We are not interested in low ball offers.  If you want to submit a realistic offer we will be happy to entertain it”.  If they are really interested, they will come back at some point with a more realistic offer.  If they are just trying to steal the house they will not.  Either way is fine.

Another strategy is to ask the buyer’s agent to send you the data they are basing their asking price on.  If it is a ridiculous offer they will not be able to provide market information that supports that price.  Conversely, you can send them market information that supports your asking price to show them how silly their offer is.  That may or may not change their perception of the value of the house, but at least you are asking them to provide substantiation for their low offer, which will likely be hard for them to do.

Lastly, it is certainly your option to engage them.  You can counter them with a ridiculously high price, and then follow it with a message from your agent “if you are interested in getting real about this we are open to discussion”.  I have heard some agents say you should never let an offer/counter offer die without at least countering it.  In general I agree with this provided the buyer is being somewhat reasonable, but depending on the buyer you may not want to give them the impression you are more motivated than you are by countering their ridiculous offer.   Sometimes it is best to send a strong signal to a low ball buyer that you are not interested in wasting time.  Of course, this is all dependent on your situation and where the offer is relative to the indicated market value.  Good luck!