The spring market has definitely arrived. The snow is gone, the weather is improving and more and more sellers are preparing their homes for sale. There are 94 single-family homes available for sale (according to Garden State MLS), up from 74 active listings in January. In fact, nearly half (43 percent) of these listings came to market just this month, and over half (57 percent) are priced over a million dollars in a range of $209,000 to $9,995,000.
Throughout the month of February, there were 13 single family homes that sold ranging in price from $215,000 to $2,625,000. In addition, there are still 29 homes that are under contract.
The following is a summary of what sold this past month (February 1-28, 2011):
- 12B Lakeside Dr. - Apartment - 1 Bed/1 Bath - $215,000
- 670 Ridgewood Rd. - Bi-Level-4 Bed/2 Bath - $372,900
- 26 Whittingham Terrace - Colonial - 4 Bed/3.5 Bath - $546,500
- 95 Cypress St. - Colonial - 4 Bed/2 Bath - $565,000
- 15 Undercliff Rd. Tudor - 4 Bed/2.5 Bath - $787,500
- 25 Hawthorne Rd. - Tudor - 4 Bed/4.5 Bath - $1,430,000
- 108 Slope Dr. - Expanded Ranch - 4 Bed/4.5 Bath - $1,390,000
- 75 Farley Rd. - Colonial - 4 Bed/3 Full & 2 Half Bath - $1,430,000
- 66 Slope Dr. - Colonial - 5 Bed/3.5 Bath - $1,525,000
- 245 Dale Dr. - Custom - 4 Bed/5.5 Bath - $1,596,400
- 71 Kean Rd. - Custom - 4 Bed/4.5 Bath - $1,750,000
- 33 Birch La. - Contemporary - 4 Bed/4 Bath - $2,501,000
- 14 Birch La. – Colonial - 6 Bed/4 Full & 2 Half Bath - $2,625,000
So what do you do if you get, what you consider to be, a lowball offer on your home? Before you ignore or outright refuse it, consider this: A counteroffer and negotiation could turn that low purchase offer into a sale.
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 counteroffer 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 counteroffer signals that you’re willing to negotiate. One strategy for your counteroffer 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 preapproved for a mortgage. Consider what terms you might change in a counteroffer to make the deal work.
Review Your Comps
Ask your real estate agent 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 counteroffer 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 counteroffer would make sense. Also, ask your 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.