You find a home you love so you decide to make an offer. Maybe you're going to offer less than the asking price, which is common, depending on the market. In a hot seller's market, many buyers actually offer higher than the asking price with better terms in order to get their offer to the top of the list. In balance markets where it's pretty even between buyers markets and seller's markets, it's not uncommon for buyers to offer less than full asking price.
If the seller does not feel that this is appropriate they may counter offer for a higher price or different terms. It is then up to the buyer to either accept, reject or counter offer again.
This counter offering negotiation strategy back and forth can take as long as it takes; meaning it will go on as long as the negotiation continues to go on. If one party terminates or rejects the offer the deal dies. If one party accepts the offer then the property is put into subject to inspection or pending and moves towards closing. If neither one of those two things happens, negotiations could go on for quite some time until mutual agreement is accepted.
Don't be afraid of a counter offer; this is simply communication back and forth. If you, as the buyer, offers an extremely lowball price, sellers might get irritated and offended and reject the offer altogether or come back at full price again. This was the buyer a few things; they don't like the offer at all, there being belligerent as they are offering the full asking price again, and maybe you should reconsider a better offer next time. This doesn't necessarily mean that the deal is dead because the buyer can come back with a variety of different options. Maybe they won't go as low on the asking price, maybe they will offer better terms or fewer contingencies, perhaps they will have their buyer's agent communicate with the listing agent about what the sellers really looking for in the sale of the property. It really comes down to communication. Once there is good communication between all four parties (buyer, seller, buyers agent, listing agent) then we can start talking about more concrete things. We can start to agree on the closing date, contingencies or addendum's, and finally selling price.
Don't be afraid of a counteroffer because it can go back and forth for some time until mutual acceptance happens. In most cases, both the buyer and the seller have three days from the delivery of the offer or counteroffer to either accept, reject or counteroffer again. If those three days expire the deal is automatically dead, however, if there's good communication, the buyer may request for more time.
In the end, nothing is final until every piece of the purchase and sale contract is signed and agreed upon by both the buyer and the seller. This may be a one and done offer and it may be several back-and-forth negotiations until everyone is happy.
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As a certified Realtor® for the top-rated Columbus Realty Firm - Vision Realty, with 32 years of dedicated real estate experience, I can help buyers, sellers, investors, short sale sellers and more find, sell or invest in the right property, at the right price, at the right time. Contact me anytime for updates and information on the Columbus OH Real Estate market.