Sellers: How to Respond to Lowball Offers

The goal for every seller is to sell for top dollar within a reasonable amount of time. But it can be pretty disheartening to find out that there’s an offer on the table only to find out you’ve been lowballed.

So, how should you deal with a lowball offer that’s well below the price you’ve listed? Is it even worth considering and entertaining? Here are some ways to respond to offers that are far less than what you’re asking for.

Keep Your Emotions in Check

Before you respond to a lowball offer, make sure you’re not emotionally charged with your reaction. It’s not uncommon for sellers to be very offended by an offer price that’s well below the asking price, and their response is often heated and made in haste.

The process of selling a home is already an emotional one, and a lowball offer can make the situation even more heated. Try to keep your emotions under control, especially when making the decision to either dismiss the offer altogether or counter with another price.

Try to understand the possible reasons why the buyer may have submitted a low offer price. Perhaps the buyer is unaware of the actual market value of your home and has not done the appropriate research to find out. As such, they may have a distorted perception of what would constitute a valid offer price and submitted an offer they believe is fair.

Or, maybe the buyer is simply trying to get a heavy discount on the home and is trying their hand at getting a great deal. Maybe they’re not even serious at all about buying and are simply testing the waters to see what kind of deal they can potentially snag.

Whatever the reason for the lowball offer, your first step is to control your emotions, no matter how you feel, and approach the situation with a cool head.

Take Another Look at the Comps

If your home has been on the market for a little while, it’s possible that the comparable listings may have changed since you first listed your home. If that’s the case, you might want to have your agent pull another report listing all the recent sales of similar homes in your area in case there’s been a change in market value.

Home prices fluctuate frequently, and if your listing has been lingering for a bit, your asking price might no longer be an accurate reflection of the current market. That could be a reason why the buyer submitted what you may consider a lowball offer.

Counter Appropriately

Your first reaction to the lowball offer is to reject it and refuse to entertain it at all. But it’s still an offer, and you’ll never know how much further you can get the buyer to come up in price if you don’t counter.

You’ve got some options when it comes to countering a lowball offer. For starters, consider countering with your absolute lowest and final price that you are willing to take. Make sure to communicate the fact that it’s your final offer in order to show the buyer that you are serious and avoid any unnecessary and time-consuming back-and-forth bantering.

You might also want to consider countering the offer back to the full listing price if you’re confident that what you’re asking is fair according to the current market. Again, this will tell the buyer that you’re serious and are therefore only willing to work with buyers who are equally as serious. However, you should understand that this tactic could discourage the buyer from continuing with the negotiations.

At the end of the day, you’re in charge of how much you accept, and countering a lowball offer can still keep the doors open to potentially reaching the price point you’re looking for.

Consider All the Terms of the Offer

Of course, the offer price is a crucial component of an offer that will play a key role in the decision of whether or not to accept. But there are other terms of an offer that shouldn’t be avoided. There are plenty of terms and contingencies in an offer that should also be seriously considered, and it’s important that they’re all carefully assessed before throwing out a lowball offer.

For instance, the buyer may be offering a hefty earnest deposit amount or a closing date that closely matches what you want or need. Or perhaps the buyer is keeping the contingency list as clean as possible without inserting any more than just financing and inspection clauses. While price is probably the most important component of the offer, it’s not the only one that should be considered.

Let Your Real Estate Agent Take the Reigns

You’ve got a listing agent for a reason, and a lowball offer situation warrants some guidance from this professional. This is one of the many reasons why you hired an agent in the first place. By having an agent on your team, you’ll have an experienced professional by your side to help you respond to offers appropriately and negotiate to help you achieve a successful deal.

The Bottom Line

While a lowball offer situation is far from ideal, it can still be salvageable depending on how you respond. Depending on why the buyer offered such a low price and what their true intentions are, it’s possible for there to be a meeting of the minds and a deal made. Rely on your real estate agent for advice and follow their suggestions to help you reach a deal you can be happy with.