I'm a Home Buyer. How Do I Keep the Seller from Rejecting My Offer?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Fred Griffin Real Estate Florida Broker BK436788

      After days of searching, you have found your dream house!  The market is hot in your town.  The "good" houses usually sell in a matter of days.  You don't want to risk losing this house, so you and your agent immediately sit down to write the offer. 

     But wait a minute... nobody offers "full price".  Everybody expects the Seller to come down a little, or to pay closing costs, or to kick in something.  That's only fair, and everybody negotiates, right? 

     So, you instruct your agent to make some "requests" in your offer. 


     Are you setting yourself up to get your offer REJECTED?


Offer Rejected



      Unless you are in a "Buyer's Market", where there are many houses for sale, and the "average number of days on market" is long, you need to make your highest and best offer at the beginning



Common Ways to Get Your Offer Rejected


1.   Your Offer Price is too Low!

      The price is the first thing that a Seller looks at when they get an offer.  If the house was priced correctly, and you come in way below that asking price, your offer may get thrown into the trash.  If you believe that your lower offer price is justified based on an appraisal, or on recent comparable sales, your Agent should have that information at hand when the offer is presented.


2.  Not Putting Up a Realistic Earnest Money Deposit

     Second to the offer price, many Sellers look at how much Deposit you have included with your offer.  The strength of your offer is reflected in the deposit. 

    It is true that in Florida no monetary deposit is required; but do you think that a Seller will take their house off the market when you have "no skin in the game"?  Even if you are getting 100% financing, such as a VA Mortgage Loan, the deposit reflects how serious you are about buying this house.


3.  Not having a Pre-Approval letter or Proof of Funds letter.

     Do you really expect a Seller to take their house off the Market, while you go to the Bank to see if you can get a loan?  You should have a pre-approval letter from a Lender, and/or documentation or a financial statement that shows you have the necessary cash, before starting your house search.  These documents should accompany your offer.


Tallahassee House For Sale



4.  Asking the Seller to Pay all of the Closing Costs

     You offered a good price... but then you ask the Seller to pay thousands of dollars in costs!    Some seller-paid closing costs may be justified or necessary, especially if you are a Veteran, or you are getting a low down payment FHA loan.  In those situations, you may need help with the closing costs.  Just remember that asking the Seller to pay costs is effectively lowering your offer price.

Offer - Sellers Pays All Closing Costs



5.  Demanding Too Much Personal Property.

     The Seller plans to leave the light fixtures, the draperies, and the kitchen appliances.  Your offer also demands the flat screen TV, the pool table, and the dining room set including the china cabinet. 

     Don't lose sight of your objective - you are buying a house!  Don't risk having your offer rejected, because you are trying to get furniture, electronics, or other personal property.

Offer Rejected over Personal Property Included



6.  Unreasonable Contingencies.

     Just about every Offer (excepting cash) contains a Financing Contingency.  Most Offers contain Inspection Contingencies.  But what about contingencies like, "Buyer's Home Must Sell First", and your house isn't even on the market yet?  Or contingencies like, "Subject to Approval by Buyer's Father-in-Law", or "Seller Agrees to Fill in the Swimming Pool"?  Those conditions/contingencies can be detrimental to your Offer! 


7.  Asking for Nickel and Dime Repairs.

     The purpose of a home inspection is to make you aware of any needed repairs, damage to the structure, mold or other environmental or health hazards, or other problems with the house or property.  If there are major issues such as plumbing, electrical, roof, heating and cooling system, then you probably want the Seller to either remedy those problems, or make monetary allowances, or lower the price.

     But what about smaller, less significant issues that are noted in the report?  If your offer reads, "As is, subject to inspections", and you demand that the Seller fix, repair, or replace minor items, you risk annoying the Seller and losing the house.  Think long and hard before "nickel and diming" the Seller over petty repairs.*

     *The language in the contract between you and the Seller will govern what, if any, repairs or replacements the Seller must make.  Discuss this with your agent when you write the offer.


Tallahassee Home for Sale


8.  Closing Date is a long way off.

         The Seller has already moved out.  Your offer shows a closing date 90 days from now.  Do you have an explanation for the lengthy delay that will be acceptable to the Seller?  If not, they may reject your offer.


9.  Asking to move in before closing, aka "Early Possession".

     In most states, you own/take possession of the house on the day of closing.  If you ask the Seller to move in prior to that date, they may rightfully see it as a potentially dangerous legal/liability situation.  The Listing Agent may advise the Seller to consult an attorney, or talk with their insurance agent, before accepting your offer. 


10.  Ignoring Requests by the Seller in the MLS

      If the Seller has made specific requests or statements in the MLS regarding time for acceptance, length of time before closing, what personal property does or does not convey, etc. and you ignore those requests, you risk having your Offer rejected.


11.  Not Understanding the Concept of Multiple Offers in a Hot Market.

     If you are in a Market where multiple offers are typical, you MUST come in with your highest and best at the very beginning.  A low-priced, contingency-filled offer will not warrant a second look!


 Tallahassee House For Sale



     When you find your dream house, think long and hard before offering a low price or asking for too many concessions.  Have your pre-approval or proof of funds documents at hand; put up a significant earnest money deposit.

     Don't lose sight of your objective, which is to buy a house for yourself and your family, a place to call home!




Posted by


Frederick Griffin, Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker    850-545-1901


Tallahassee Florida Metropolitan Area

Exclusive Representation for Buyers and Sellers 

Call Fred  850-545-1901


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Frederick Griffin, Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker    850-545-1901


Disclaimer:  Nothing in the above blog article is to be construed as legal advice, tax advice, or financial advice.  For legal advice see an attorney.   For tax advice or financial advice see a tax attorney, certified public accountant, or other qualified professional.



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Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

You mean an All Cash offer 75 day Escrow Period is going to be Dead on Arrival?:) Just kidding, great post and hope the buyers are listening, Endre

Jun 05, 2017 09:11 PM #1
William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

In my area a full price offer is as good as a low ball offer.

Jun 05, 2017 09:55 PM #2
Ryan Huggins - Thousand Oaks, CA
www.HugginsHomes.com - Thousand Oaks, CA
Residential Real Estate and Investment Properties

Great post there Fred!  One of the ways that boggles my mind is when buyers ask for a termite inspection, IN THE OFFER!  Not only does that give something to counter out, but having that in there makes the banks want to see the report.  I've had many of my sales held up because a buyer just had to have that in there and they freak out when the bank wants a clear termite prior to funding.  All sorts of issues happen then.  Luckily we've gotten them worked out.

Jun 05, 2017 10:46 PM #3
James Dray
Fathom Realty AR LLC - Bentonville, AR
Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results

Good morning Fred.  Around here, depending on location,, even full price will not guarantee your buyer will win. 

Jun 06, 2017 03:43 AM #4
Belinda Spillman
Aspen Lane Real Estate Colorful Colorado - Aurora, CO
Colorado Living!

It is hard for many buyers to understand that they need to offer at least list price to get some homes with no funky conditions.

Jun 06, 2017 09:42 AM #5
Corinne Guest, Managing Broker
Barrington Realty Company - Barrington, IL
The Best in Buyer Representation

Even in a buyers market - mine - you should still ask a real estate agent if the price is right and then be at around 95% - per your market area. Low balls just insult, everyone, your agent and listing agent as well as a seller. Great post!

Jun 12, 2017 10:05 AM #6
Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.AtHomesCharlotte.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

This is FANTASTIC, Fred Griffin!  I love it - 'first born child' - I had to LOL!  You are spot-on with every single one of your points and if buyers pay attention to your guidance, they'll be successful every time!  Great post! 

Jun 12, 2017 04:13 PM #7
Beth Atalay
Cam Realty and Property Management - Clermont, FL
Cam Realty of Clermont FL

Good morning Fred Griffin, excellent post for all buyers. You've given great advice on how to get an offer accepted. Definitely a feature worthy post.

Jun 13, 2017 04:36 AM #8
Carol Williams
U.S.: I specialize in helping agents who have been in the business 2 years or less create a thriving business. - Wenatchee, WA
"Customized Mentoring & Marketing Services"

Hi Fred,
This is a perfect example of why an experienced agent is so important.  They know the market and what it's going to take to get an offer accepted.  Thanks for another excellent post.

Jun 13, 2017 05:31 AM #9
Jeff Dowler
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad

Hi Fred

This is a great read and terrific advice for buyers in many markets about what to avoid doing. There are plenty of ways to make an offer appealing and it's essential in our competitive marketplace!

Enjoy your weekend!


Jun 17, 2017 10:39 AM #10
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Franklin, MA
"Franklin MA Homes"

Good morning, Fred Griffin this statement covers it all..... "you need to make your highest and best offer at the beginning"

Jun 18, 2017 05:21 AM #11
Lottie Kendall
Today | Sotheby's International Realty - San Carlos, CA
Serving San Mateo County and San Francisco

Experienced agents know the market; savvy buyers listen to their agent's advice. 

Jun 18, 2017 05:41 AM #12
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Doing any combination of these things will get an offer rejected in today's market. Great information!

Jun 20, 2017 05:40 AM #13
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