The First Impression That Can Tank Your Offer

Commercial Real Estate Agent with Next Wave RE Investments LLC Bullhead City AZ Commercial RE Broker AZ BR 528507000

Uh boy . . .

I reviewed an offer with a long-time, quite sophisticated client recently.

The offer itself is clean; offer price is reasonable, terms reasonable.

The seller client was ready to reject it outright, though.

ONE thing was off . . . right at the beginning.

The earnest deposit.

Relative to the offer price, it was noticeably low. WAY low.

And the seller could not get past it. 

"It's just not a serious buyer!" 

A weak earnest deposit, some may argue, is usually refundable anyway beyond a certain point . . . but it STILL shouts either 'don't have money' or 'not serious' . . .

and I'd say OKAY! Your deposit is refundable, so WHY NOT PUT ONE THAT COUNTS in at the beginning to get your offer accepted!

IT IS, after all, part of your offer! 

Make the 'first impression' . . . impressive! 

🎵When that gorilla pounds his desk I fall to bits, I confess, I admit
I'm impressed🎵




Comments (32)

Ed Silva
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

There are sufficient protections within a contract to protect a buyer's deposit. If they are buying down the mortgage with a large deposit, use it to show they are serious.

May 24, 2023 05:03 PM
Candice A. Donofrio

Yes there are.

May 25, 2023 06:55 AM
Buzz Mackintosh
Mackintosh REALTORS - Frederick, MD
“Experience, reliable, leadership”

Recently had an offer with a low EMD, but called the Buyer agent and found their money was tied up in their current property. However they qualified with out selling it and won a multi offer battle asking for no inspections and went well above list and waived the appraisal clause. Always call to find out if there is a reason.

May 24, 2023 05:06 PM
Brenda Mayette

Wait... you CALLED the other agent & had a conversation? LOVE IT! Seriously, the power of communication is the real winner Buzz Mackintosh .  :)

May 25, 2023 04:40 AM
Candice A. Donofrio

Okay, I can respect that . . . saves me a counter! 


May 25, 2023 06:58 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Candice- some people can't get past themselves...they think the process is a game. happy to see this featured!!! 


May 24, 2023 06:47 PM
Candice A. Donofrio

It's a losing game for folks like that! 
💖 ya♎!!!

May 25, 2023 06:59 AM
Kieran Jackson
Keller Williams Hollywood Hills - Los Angeles, CA
Realtor®, SFR, U.S. Army Veteran

Its definitely a way to make your offer more competitive!

All the best.

May 24, 2023 07:35 PM
Candice A. Donofrio

Bigger is better, it stands out! 

May 25, 2023 06:59 AM
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

In highest and best multiple offers, you explain as the agent or broker to keep it simple, make it powerful and consider all the small elements that impact your acceptance or not. Fuel proration, there is a 275 gallon full tank of heating oil... when you propose no proration, that small factor can supercede the total price, the size of deposit, everything else. What is important to your seller rules the day in which offer to pick Candice A. Donofrio . Total price for a deposit will get a home owner's attention. Congratulations on a feature post! 

May 25, 2023 04:35 AM
Candice A. Donofrio

WOW (fuel proration) I just bet, that's something!

And YES 'total price for a deposit' I have seen buyers just say 'we know we're going forward, this saves us a second wire, find out funds to close'

May 25, 2023 07:01 AM
Brenda Mayette
Miranda Real Estate Group, Inc. - Glenville, NY
Getting results w/ knowledge & know-how!

In a competitive market like this one, EVERY part of the offer has to be STRONG.  More skin in the game is one such component.  Great post Candice A. Donofrio !

May 25, 2023 04:41 AM
Candice A. Donofrio

Yes indeed . . . skin in the game is quite comforting to a seller who's been through flakes over the years . . . !

May 25, 2023 07:01 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Yes indeed, offers should be clean and strong and make a great first impression!

By the way, I'd never heard that song or seen that video before - it amazes me how creative some people are!

May 25, 2023 05:27 AM
Candice A. Donofrio

Random and obscure are my joys! LOL

May 25, 2023 07:02 AM
Brian England
Arizona Focus Realty - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

This is the offer you were dealing with when I was riding around with you, right?  I always explain to my buyers how the amount of earnest money they offer can really affect how the offer is received, even though earnest money truly isn't a big deal, haha.

May 25, 2023 05:55 AM
Candice A. Donofrio

NO! But I gotta story to tell you! The lady who jacked me and was trying to call when we were out? I told her I could not take it on, she kept pressing I kept ignoring. 10 days ago it went on the market for almost DOUBLE what I eyeballed her at . . . and my INSISTENCE on the property being cleaned up - NOPE! Still a damn mess for the world to see!. Those poor agents bought a listing . . . good luck good luck good luck!

May 25, 2023 07:04 AM
Carla Freund
Keller Williams Preferred Realty - Raleigh, NC
Carolina Life RealEstate & Relocation 919-602-8489

Exactly. We really have to educate our clients here and some still insist on offering lower due diligence or earnest money. Sometimes they have to lose a house or two before they get with the program.

May 25, 2023 06:40 AM
Candice A. Donofrio

Sometime it is their 'HERO AGENT' who suggests the lower dollars and sets them up to fail over a few bucks . . . I am writing a post about that right now in fact!

May 25, 2023 07:05 AM
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
Red Rock Real Estate (435) 632-9374 - St. George, UT
St. George Utah Area Residential Sales Agent

If a buyer wants the house, a higher EM amount will speak to the seller. It usually does...if everything else aligns with their set expectations!

p.s. Love the song BB.

May 25, 2023 07:17 AM
Candice A. Donofrio

It does and it's almost entirely 'perceptual' . . . but the reverse is a killer! 

May 25, 2023 08:48 AM
Ginger Harper
Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage~ Ginger Harper Real Estate Team - Southport, NC
Your Southport~Oak Island Agent~Brunswick County!

Great post.  Thanks for sharing

May 25, 2023 07:42 AM
Candice A. Donofrio

Thank you lovely!

May 25, 2023 08:48 AM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Candice,

I love that feature image.  As others have noted, it tells the whole story.  If the "earnest" money is weak, then it is not very "earnest," is it?  !!

May 25, 2023 08:08 AM
Candice A. Donofrio

Exactly what the seller said . . . I had to talk her off the ledge for that! (We asked for a big deposit and got it, but it could have been easier!)

May 25, 2023 08:49 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Love that feature photo that says so much, Candice. Some buyers just don't realize the fishy first impression a low EMD conveys, even more so in a competitive market. Sellers certainly are aware.


May 25, 2023 05:22 PM
Candice A. Donofrio

I had to have that picture, because it also showed how potentially slippery the offeror could be.

May 27, 2023 07:20 AM
Marte Cliff

That picture reminded me of an attorney I had the misfortune to deal with. He was one of only 2 men I've ever met who made me think I was shaking hands with a dead fish. A couple of months after the closing in his office I read that he had been disbarred. Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy!

May 27, 2023 11:05 AM
Diana Zaccaro Broker Associate
Tropical Beachside brokered by eXp - Cocoa Beach, FL
"The Accidental Blogger" Cocoa Beach, Florida

That old expression "Money talks" is still true but there are a lot of people who have not learned that lesson yet. 


May 25, 2023 07:41 PM
Candice A. Donofrio

The perception of money for sure. A lot of people don't have money but they know how to make the impression that they do. That gives them leverage.

May 27, 2023 07:20 AM
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA

I disagree. Silence is not a counter offer. Silence is a rejection of an offer. End of story. A counter offer is perpetuating engagement and may lead to a sale.

But you already knew that.

May 26, 2023 09:46 AM
Candice A. Donofrio

Call it what you want! LOL

May 27, 2023 07:19 AM
Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty
Front Gate Real Estate - Brandon, MS
601-991-2900 Office; 601-278-4513 Cell

The topic is earnest money is one of my secret weapons in whether my offer (if I represent the buyer) is accepted or not, especially in multiple offer situations. I'll leave it at that, in case one of my local peers is reading... :-)

May 26, 2023 12:25 PM
Candice A. Donofrio

Thank you maam!

May 27, 2023 07:21 AM
Toby Barnett
KW North Sound - Marysville, WA
Toby Barnett

I'm just here to say, I can't handle that picture. 😀

May 26, 2023 02:15 PM
Toby Barnett
KW North Sound - Marysville, WA
Toby Barnett

I wholeheartedly disagree on this post. Just because some people may not have the liquid cash doesn't mean they are less qualified to purchase the property. I find people with higher earnest money deposits are quicker to withdrawal based on some arbitrary home inspection item. Earnest money doesn't mean much to me especially if the buyer qualifies for the loan, I know their selling broker, and I know their lender.

May 26, 2023 02:19 PM
Candice A. Donofrio

It is the perception of being qualified to a seller that may not know buyer, lender or the other broker. Thanks for stopping by!

May 27, 2023 07:23 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Interesting discussion - fun seeing different points of view.

May 27, 2023 11:07 AM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

A low emd suggests that either they aren’t committed to the deal or they aren’t as cash flush as they would like to seem. Generally the former

May 28, 2023 03:40 AM