Selling a home can be an emotional process. The strain of constant showings and uncertainty about if or when offers will come in can put any homeowner under a certain amount of stress. The last thing you want is to finally get that offer – and immediately have your hopes dashed by a lowball amount. There’s certainly nothing you can do to prevent a potential buyer from making a drastically lower offer than your asking price, but there are a few things you can do to protect yourself and lessen the likelihood of such a disappointment.
Don’t overprice your property in the first place. Listen to your real estate agent! This can’t be emphasized enough. While you might think you have an idea of how much your home is worth – and certainly you want to get the most you can for it – your agent will have a better handle on the market conditions and can help you set a reasonable expectation about how your home will sell for. Plus, your agent will be more objective than you could hope to be. It’s your home. You’ve lived in it, loved it, and your feelings about it are likely to affect how much you expect it to sell for. Your agent will have the benefit of distance and will be able to see your house for all of its benefits and drawbacks. Price your home too high, and you may be asking for a lowball offer.
Find the right real estate agent. Make sure that your agent has a good reputation and experience. He or she should be able to provide list and sale prices for homes in your area. Armed with this information, your agent can make a good case to the buyer’s agent for the type of offer the buyer should reasonably make. Good communication between your agent and the buyer’s agent can help negotiations go smoothly and eliminate surprises – one of the many reasons you’ll want to choose your agent wisely.
Don’t appear too eager to sell. If you give a buyer any clue that you’re in a hurry to unload your home, the buyer is going to take advantage of your perceived need. Play your cards close to your chest and avoid letting too many people outside your close inner circle know the true nature of your circumstances.
If you do receive a lowball offer, don’t despair. If you feel that an offer is unfair, you’re in the position to reject it. Now it’s time to negotiate. Make a counter offer – or reject the offer up front if you don’t think the buyer will be cooperative. Moreover, don’t take a lowball offer personally. While you have memories attached to your home and a good idea of the equity involved, those factors are invisible to a buyer who just wants to get the best deal possible. Try to distance yourself from the situation and you’ll be a lot happier.
With a little luck and some upfront planning, you should put yourself in a good position to sell at the price you want. As with any home sale, a healthy bit of patience goes a long way toward making the experience pleasant for all parties.