Price Isn't Everything: Evaluating an Offer

Real Estate Agent with RLAH Real Estate AB95346

Price Isn't Everything:  Evaluating an Offer

Just at the point your are totally sick of making the beds and keeping the kitchen pristine, an offer comes in, and you are stoked.  And as you imagine what it's going to look like, you are probably focused on the line in the contract that reads Total Sales Price. 

While that's natural, price is not the most important thing that will be in that offer.  Here are some other things to look for:

  • What type of financing are the buyers planning to use?  If they are putting down at least 20%, that’s better than if they are trying to get in with a mortgage product that might allow for a low down payment.  They are out there, but lenders have very strict guidelines. 
  • How big is their earnest money deposit?  This is a case where size matters.  
  • Are they financially qualified to buy your house?  Have they been preapproved?  
  • Which lender are they using?  Some are good.  Others are problematic, especially when it comes to appraisals and final loan approval.  
  • Did they include an appraisal contingency?  If so, and if the appraisal comes in low, they will have to increase their down payment or ask you to lower the price.  If you don’t, they can walk.   
  • Where is the down payment coming from?  If they are using equity from their current home, is it already under contract?  If so, how strong is that contract?  You will want your agent to have a look at their contract and talk to the other buyers’ lender. 
  • What does their offer say about what happens if the contract on their house falls apart?  Can they settle anyway?
  • Are they asking for a credit at settlement to help them pay their closing costs?  If so, this will reduce your net, and it could have a negative impact on the appraisal. 
  • How long do they want for their home inspection?  Anything over a week is a little excessive.  
  • Are there other contingencies that increase the risk that the transaction won’t work?  Do they need to finalize a new job?  Do they need their parents’ approval?

Keep in mind that if there are things you don't like, you can always counter the buyer's offer.  And as long as they are financially viable buyers, it's better to counter than to just say no.  If the would be buyers are willing, but not ready or able financially to buy your home, that's when you say no.

When your "SOLD" sign goes up, you really do want it to stay up!

If you are planning a move to or from the Washington, DC area, I can help.  Call, email or text me at:


Licensed in DC, Virginia and Maryland



Re-Blogged 8 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Jeffrey DiMuria 321.223.6253 Waves Realty 04/08/2011 01:45 PM
  2. Lori Cain 04/09/2011 04:33 AM
  3. Erica Ramus 04/09/2011 05:21 AM
  4. Vickie Nagy 04/09/2011 09:34 AM
  5. Cheryl Ritchie 04/09/2011 11:29 AM
  6. Bill Burchard 04/10/2011 03:22 AM
  7. Patricia Aulson 04/12/2011 06:02 AM
  8. Charles Stallions 03/28/2012 11:23 PM
Home Selling
evaluating an offer

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Erica Ramus
Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA - Pottsville, PA
MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate

Great post Pat. I am reblogging. Price is important, but so are terms! You can lose a house with a higher priced offer but terms that don't work for the seller.

Apr 09, 2011 05:20 AM #52
Anthony Daniels
Coldwell Banker - San Francisco, CA
SF Bay Area REO Specialist

I agree, price isn't everything.  A properly structured offer can sometimes win based on other, more important factors, especially in a multiple offer situation. 

Few listing agents recognize the subtle strategies employed by shrewd buyer agents.

Good stuff, thanks for sharing it.

Apr 09, 2011 06:14 AM #53
Robert and Lisa Hammerstein -201-315-8618
Keller Williams Valley Realty - Hillsdale, NJ
Bergen County NJ Real Estate

Pat - Another on the spot post... you write such great posts and succinctly illustrate what needs to be said. It's never a good thing to close the door on an offer unless it's all of the points you have listed here. Nice job as always and so sorry we missed you in AC this last Rain Camp...

Apr 09, 2011 06:19 AM #54
Robert Schmalz
West Los Angeles Real Estate Group - Santa Monica, CA
Cal. Lic Broker

All good points. When I submit an offer I write a cover page to my seller so he sees it first. I send it before the actual offer. I list all the items that are negatives in the offer and list them one by one and explain what they are looking at . Then at the bottom of the list I will put the price.

Apr 09, 2011 06:30 AM #55
Morris Massre
Pembroke Pines, FL
Real Estate Instructor Broward County Florida

I'm glad you look at it that way because most concentrate soley on price.

Apr 09, 2011 07:34 AM #56
Bill Burchard
3B Realty: 951-347-3818, CA - Murrieta, CA
Broker, Realtor, Representing Buyers and Sellers

Good afternoon, Pat. Great advice for home sellers! The devil is in the details, as the saying goes.

Apr 09, 2011 09:26 AM #57
Vickie Nagy
Palm Springs, CA

Love this post Patricia, just hit it for a re-blog. Insightful, informative, straightforward. Just doesn't get any better than this!

Apr 09, 2011 09:35 AM #58
Justin Dibbs
Pearson Smith Realty - Ashburn, VA
REALTOR® - Ashburn Virginia Homes for Sale

So so true!  There is a lot more to consider in an offer besides the price, though buyers and sellers seem to focus on that one point.

Apr 09, 2011 10:39 AM #59
Sidney Kutchuk - Realty Works Temecula Kutchuk - Realty Works Temecula
Realty Works Temecula - Temecula, CA
Realty Works Temecula

Pat a great topic for discussion and especially educating clients!!!

Apr 09, 2011 11:26 AM #60
Patricia Aulson
Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes

You are right on this Patricia.  It isn't always price.


Patricia/Seacoast NH & ME

Apr 09, 2011 02:16 PM #61
Tom Braatz Waukesha County Real Estate 262-377-1459
Coldwell Banker - Oconomowoc, WI
Waukesha County Realtor Real Estate agent. SOLD!


How very true about there being more to an offer than one line.

Apr 09, 2011 02:52 PM #62
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

Pat, and some lenders can blow the deal when they don't know your state laws and closing costs. Almost happened to us last year, but we saved it.


Apr 09, 2011 02:53 PM #63
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

I often find that price may not be the seller's primary concern.

Apr 09, 2011 05:18 PM #64
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

Pat - This post encompasses so many important things, and both buyers and sellers should read it..

Apr 09, 2011 05:38 PM #65
Randy Harden
Wieder Realty, Inc. - Pompano Beach, FL

This is so accurate. I get this from time to time. Someone tells me that they are sending me a great offer at X price and then it turns out that price is contingent on the seller giving back thousands of dollars towards just about everything and then on top of that the mortgage set up is about as flimsy as cheap toilet paper.

Apr 10, 2011 02:08 AM #66
Mimi Foster
Voted Colorado Springs Best Realtor

My husband and I used to restore a lot of homes - Victorians.  Lots of heart involvement (I know, I know).  But a lot of times it wasn't just about the price or the terms.  So often when we would put these beauties back on the market we would get several offers.  And several times we accepted offers that weren't the highest, but the ones where the Buyer had a true excitement to own an older home, and not just someone who was looking for a place to live.  But all of your points were right-on and definitely informative for a Seller.  Good post.

Apr 10, 2011 03:13 AM #67
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

In the world of Short Sale Listings, you can tell a Buyer is serious when they opt to deposit a sizable EMD at ratification, instead of at short sale approval, which for some odd reason, was something brokerages like Long & Foster offered as an option in their short sale addendums.  Does anything say I'm not serious about your home like NOT depositing the EMD?

Apr 10, 2011 06:34 AM #68
Tni LeBlanc, Realtor®, J.D.
Mint Properties, Lic. #01871795 - Santa Maria, CA
Tenacious Tni (805) 878-9879

Congrats on the feature Pat.  This is a great post.  There are so many other things to consider when you receive an offer especially a short sale offer.  Most importantly you need a buyer that will wait for the home!

Apr 10, 2011 06:48 AM #69
Joyce Herr
Prudential Lancaster Real Estate - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster County & Beyond

I think you covered the contingencies involved in reviewing and offer in all of its aspects. Great job.

Apr 11, 2011 05:12 AM #70
Charles Stallions
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services - Pensacola, FL
800-309-3414 - Pensacola, Pace or Gulf Breeze, Fl.

So true and a very enlightening post, full price and a ton of repairs or extras does not make one happy

Mar 31, 2012 02:14 AM #71
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