Why was my offer not accepted by the seller even though we offered higher than the list price?
In my neck of the woods in Alameda , Oakland and Piedmont CA, we’ve had listings during which the winning buyers were not always those who wrote the highest offers.
This is not unusual. Buyers who track the progress of sold properties on which they submitted offers are very surprised when they found out they wrote higher offers but lost anyway.
NOTE: List price should NOT be the sole basis of your offer. List price is all part of the pricing strategy -- some agents list less than market value in order to stimulate a bidding situation.
So what are some of the reasons why the highest offer doesn’t always win?
Take a close look at the details of your offer. Highest price alone doesn’t guarantee the offer is the best one, especially in a competitive situation where there are several offers on the table.
First and foremost, ask
What does the seller want?
You submitted less than 1% of the offer price as your initial deposit.
Are you getting an FHA loan that can have a minimum of 3.5% down payment? This may not be as attractive to sellers who are receiving offers for cash or conventional loan.
In a competitive situation, 20% down payment is the least the seller may want because it provides an insight to the buyers' financial wherewithal and ability to close the sale transaction.
Note: In short sales, negotiators typically want 30 days or less to close escrow from the time they grant approval. Some FHA lenders may need longer than 30 days which could put the short sale transaction in jeopardy
Sellers are in a hurry to close (heck, they’ve already moved) but you want an escrow period longer than 30 days.
Conversely, seller may have wanted to wait a little longer or even a rent back. But you wanted them out sooner than when they're ready. Did the seller have a contingency to find a replacement property?
|Buyer investigation period||
It’s a competitive situation, but you still specified 17 days to do your inspections. Most realtors can find you inspectors who can get there sooner. And typically, buyers will know from the results of the inspections whether they want to move forward or not. And if you decide to back out, the sooner you back out, the sooner the seller can put the property back on the market.
|Pest Inspection mentioned in the contract||
You asked the seller to pay for your inspections. And you specified wood-destroying organism/pest inspections. Didn’t you and your realtor know that this raises a huge RED flag among loan underwriters who may insist that Section 1 items of the pest report are cleared/repaired/replaced before they approve the loan?
Most sellers will NOT agree to this up front.
|Escrow fees and closing costs
You asked seller to pay for your escrow fees and closing costs. Do you know how much your escrow fees and closing costs are, and is it worth losing out on this sale for that amount?
|City and county transfer taxes||It’s best to go with what’s customary in your area. Most sellers will accept that condition. But if you ask the seller to pay for all of these, then you might as well just move on to your next offer.|
|Repairs and credits||
If it's an AS IS sale (typical of short sale or bank-owned listings), it's NOT a good idea to ask for repairs/credits in the offer before it is accepted and before you even have inspections done. You can wait to ask for it later, depending on the degree and amount of repairs that must be done, and assuming you’re still willing to move forward.
There is also the subject of point of sale requirements to meet local ordinances such as sewer lateral test/replacement. Most sellers would rather not do anything more to the property. As such it will make the buyers' offer more attractive to the sellers if the buyers will assume reponsibility to do what is necessary to comply with those ordinances.
|HOA fees where applicable||
Sellers will normally pay for the cost of getting the HOA documents. And they are also responsible for keeping up with the HOA payments.
But transferring the HOA membership from theirs to the new buyer is typically borne by the buyer. This is a minor issue, but could be an irritant if the buyer asks for seller to pay for all HOA-related items.
|What stays with the house||
In the listing published in the MLS (multiple listing service), it usually states what the seller is willing to leave behind.
|Short sale specifics||
Most short sale listing agents want total commitment from the buyer to stick it out, and will ask buyer to
But you don’t want to commit, and didn’t do either one. Whereas your competition did. So which buyer do you think the seller would believe more?
Other REALTORs will surely weigh in on more reasons why some offers are rejected by the seller, even when such offers at first glance appear to be decent (but not the best) offers.
What does the seller want?