If you are a listing agent, I ask you...When do you NOT counter an offer you receive?
If you are a buyer's agent - do you ever hint that you're hoping for a counter?
As an agent who represents bothy buyers and sellers I say there is never an offer you can't counter.
Seriously - how much time does it take? With automated forms and electronic signatures you really don't need to spend more than maybe 15 minutes on a counter offer and you might find it's worth it.
We've all received, and maybe written, seriously rotten offers. We received an offer once maybe $15,000 below list price. That was almost 10% of the total price of the house. We countered back at full price - they came up $5,000 - we came down $500. Silly game, right? For two sides who are never really going to meet?
Here's the catch. While we were going back and forth we received another offer. This gave us the ability to stop the current negotiation and go back to both for a highest and best. The first slipped away into the night - the second came up and we made a deal.
There were no tricks or games involved in the multiple offer - we had 2 active offers on the table. There was nothing deceiving about what was going on. We made phones calls and explained the situation.
This case it worked out for our seller. Actually it came to an acceptable level - they weren't thrilled with anything but to be done with a house they had been done with for a while (seems more than a few folks move away for their retirement long before really thinking through what they plan to do with their current house).
So what if an offer comes in low. There isn't an offer that isn't worth countering. It's my opinion of course. Just because a buyer wants to "try" a lower price doesn't mean they won't come up. It looks very similar to a seller wanting to "try" a higher price...it's the process that brought them to where they are now.
I challenge you - the next silly offer you get write a counter. What's the worst that will happen? The buyer rejects the counter? Buy me a bandaid.