How to Handle a Low Offer When All You Want to Say is “REALLY??”

I’m siting on my couch last night, watching Monk and trying to relax.  See, my phone chirps, buzzes and rings from the time I wake up until about 9-9:30 at night.  That last couple hours of my day is my chill time.  So, when I got a call at 10:30 from another Realtor, I was a little surprised.

Turns out this agent had an offer she wanted to send me and needed my fax number.  It was right on the email I had sent her earlier, but nobody ever seems to think to look at that I guess.  She then called me just after midnight…..I was in bed.

I was pretty excited to get an offer for a house that hadn’t been on the market but about 2 weeks, especially since she was up so late working on it.  My excitement turned to shock when I got the offer.  It was for nearly $40k less than the asking price…….and this isn’t a $600k listing, so it was really low.  I mean LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW!

As an agent, when this happens you really want to scream at the other agent and ask them why they are wasting everybody’s time, especially their own, with  a buyer who thinks there is a chance he can buy a move-in ready house for less than foreclosure money, but, you bite your tongue, put on the biggest fake smile you can muster, and thank them.

A lot of people are writing low offers these days, but it seems like about 1 in 20 are in what I call the “Crazy Loooooow” category.  What do you do with one like that?  You treat it just like you would any offer you need to counter.  The sellers instinct is to flat out reject the offer, but you never know  if the buyer is just testing the waters or they are crazy.  I tell people let’s give them a little bit of our time to see if they are realistic or not.  Sometimes they work out and sometimes they don’t.  I sold a listing last week where the buyer started out loow, but not loooooooow.  We got that one worked out with within a few counter-offers.

Now, about this offer strategy.  It is really counter productive for the buyer.  I’ve blogged about that before, but the bottom line is that the seller is always expecting the buyer to come back, and back, and back.  That means the seller never really shows the buyer their bottom dollar since they always want a little reserve budgeted into their counter-offer.

I should know later today if this buyer is legit or if he is a dreamer.  It is like musical chairs:  I don’t know if we’ll be out or if we will win, but you have to keep moving until the music stops.

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