“Is Your Seller Negotiable?”

Real Estate Agent with Associate Broker at Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Georgia Properties 256152


Seems like a reasonable question, right?


You get an appointment, take your well qualified buyer to the property, show them all the features and foibles, and after assessing the decision come to a decision to make an offer. There may be some concrete reasons for asking for a reduction, and besides, everyone likes to get a deal! Your agent (or you if you don’t use one) approaches the seller and asks “we would like to make an offer, and would like to know if you’re negotiable”. You have now earned the right to ask the question. You gave him good news with “we would like to make an offer” in order to ask for something from him. Then do not insult him with a ridiculous offer unless you want to prolong the process.


Here is the way NOT to ask the same question. You see a listing you like. You call the seller or listing agent. You say “I saw your listing on Smith St. Is your seller negotiable?”


You have not even seen the home. You don’t know if it’s over priced or under value! It says you are probably not pre-qualified for a loan, but if you are you’re probably not qualified to buy this one. It says you know what you want, but you can’t afford it, so you try to find someone dumb enough to give you the part you can’t afford.


I answer this scenario in several ways:


  •          Perhaps. Why don’t you take a look and we’ll ask them?
  •          How much is your loan qualification?
  •          They already have more invested than the price they’re asking.
  •          Are you prepared to make an offer?
  •          We are required to present all offers when you submit them.
  •          We require a lender loan qualification before we can answer.
  •          We based the price on a written appraisal.
  •          We accept all offers, even the ones that are ridiculous!


The usual response from the caller is “OK, Bye.” Time is money, folks.


It’s not about asking the question. It’s not really about how you ask it, but politely helps. It’s really about when you ask it, and if you earned the right to ask. Asking at the very beginning is basically saying “I think one of us is stupid, so it must be you”. That is not the preferred way to begin successful negotiation for your most valuable asset!

Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Ron. I think this is a powerful post and I agree with you. That said I think it always a dumb question. If you want the house make an offer.

Apr 16, 2019 06:52 AM
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

In our area it is senseless to even ask. There are more buyers than sellers. Rarely homes will sell below asked price.

If the offered contract makes sense to the seller he will get back to you after multiple offer conterback to buyers.

Apr 16, 2019 07:03 AM
Lorrie Semler, REALTOR® in the Dallas area. Call/text 972-416-3417
HomeSmart Stars - Addison, TX
Real Service. Real Results. Real Estate

It's a ridiculous question if the agent hasn't already seen the house. And it's a ridiculous question if the buyers are seriously interested. Make an offer! The seller will let you know at that point if they'll negotiate.

Apr 16, 2019 07:04 AM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Ron Barnes - I am searching my brain and can't recall anyone asking that question.  But, sometimes the offers indicate that the buyer probably doesn't have a pre-approval for the asking price. Many of my sellers won't respond to a low ball offer. 


Apr 16, 2019 11:48 AM
Ron Barnes
Associate Broker at Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Georgia Properties - Jasper, GA
"Most agents claim they're #1 - I THINK YOU'RE #1!

Thanks for the comments. All very good!

Apr 16, 2019 01:36 PM
Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Platinum - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

Great information.  Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful day!

Oct 11, 2020 07:32 AM