Waiting for a Counter that Never Comes



I’ve been meaning to get to this one for a little while now … the idea of a home remaining just outside one’s reach, like the treat just beyond this adorable pup’s snout.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about a new listing in Peoria. As it turns out, the house sold in just three days – not a surprise in a market with about 10 weeks with of inventory (if no homes came to market, at the current pace the MLS would be empty in 10 weeks).

One offer stood out from the three that we received, but for all the wrong reasons.

The wife loved the house. She brought her husband the next day to see it and he loved the house. They told their agent how much they loved the house and then went to write an offer … for $15,000 below asking price on a well-priced home. (For the record, this house ended up selling for $8,000 above asking – and appraised for that amount as well.)

When I told the agent that we had gone with another, far more competitive offer, he said the buyers had been hoping to receive a counter offer from the seller and to find the middle ground. In other words, rather than purchase a home that they loved, the buyers elected to play around a little (against their agent’s advice) and negotiate from a weak position – $15,000 below asking on a home new to the market.

It’s not unusual for a seller to expect to have to negotiate the sales price of their home. But that’s generally not the case the first few days on the market, not if they are working with an agent who deals in realistic sales prices (of which I am one).

Throw in market conditions – a strong seller’s market – and a well-priced home …

Shortening this story, in many cases it’s best to make your first offer a strong one just in case you don’t get a second chance. And sometimes by offering more, you could end up paying less. For instance, if we didn’t receive this offer at $248,000 and had received a decent offer from these folks, there’s a chance the house could have been had for below list price. Maybe, maybe not. Neither they nor I ever will know for sure.

The morale here is to not count on receiving a counter offer. Not in this market. Not now.

Photo credit: Austin Kirk via Flickr Creative Commons

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at allphoenixrealestate.com.