forms are far less complicated than purchase-offer forms, because
you use them to fine-tune the terms and conditions of offers you
get from prospective buyers. If an offer contains unreasonable contingencies,
use a counter offer to propose that the buyer remove them.
the buyers offer $175,000 for your house and want you to close 30
days after accepting their offer. Because you're asking $189,500,
you think that their offering price is low. Furthermore, you need
six weeks to relocate.
else in the buyers' offer is fine with you, don't rewrite the entire
offer. Instead, give the buyers a counter offer stating that you'll
accept all their terms and conditions except that you want $185,000
for your house, and you need six weeks after the offer is accepted
Define time frames with counter
a case in which a loan contingency gives the buyer 30 days to get
approved for a mortgage. If the prospective buyers can't get a loan
within 30 days, you have the choice of either giving them a few
more days to get financing or putting the house back on the market.
Either way, you're in control of the situation.
always have precisely defined time frames within which buyers must
complete a specified action or drop out of the contract. Never accept
an open-ended contingency. For example, if buyers want their parents
to inspect your house but don't specify when that inspection will
take place, counter them with "parental visit shall take place
not more than 3 days after offer is accepted." Be realistic
but brisk when you set time frames. You don't want your house off
the market any longer than is absolutely necessary.
Sale before purchase contingencies
twice before accepting an offer that's subject to the buyers selling
their present house before buying yours. This is the ultimate open-ended
contingency. It stigmatizes your house by driving away other prospective
purchasers who can't put their lives on indefinite hold while they
wait to see whether or not the buyers sell their house.
If you accept
a "subject to sale of buyer's property" contingency, counter
it with a release clause giving you the right to accept a better
offer if one comes along.
Pick your counter offer battles
counter offer is like a stick of dynamite, and if you're not careful,
it can blow up your deal. Making counter offers is a great idea
if you have a hot property. But if you haven't had bunches of buyers
banging on your front door, think carefully. You need to sell your
house and get on with your life. Follow these tips:
counter small stuff. Suppose that the price and terms are
okay, but the buyers want to include your 10-year-old washer and
dryer in the sale. You want to take the washer and dryer with
you to your new home. You can always buy a new washer and dryer
if the house sells. Buyers often act emotionally and then find
reasons to justify their actions. If you accept the buyers' offer,
they'll think how smart they were to have made it.
kill the messenger. If the offering price is way below your
price, don't reflexively counter at full asking price. You and
your agent may have overpriced the house initially, or market
conditions may have worsened since you put the property up for
sale. A low offering price from a prospective buyer may accurately
reflect your property's current market value. Reanalyze your house's
fair market value by examining up-to-date asking prices and sales
of comparable properties. Don't blow away a realistic buyer with
an unrealistic counter offer.
- Stay focused
on your goals. Suppose that you want to move into a new school
district before school starts. Although you don't want to give
your house away, ask yourself whether delaying the sale is worth
protracted haggling over who's going to pay for a couple of hundred
dollars in repairs. Set your priorities and don't take your eyes
off your goals.
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