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Why Sellers Should Never Ignore an Offer

By
Real Estate Agent with eXp Realty

We all know that sellers hate it when a buyer submits what is perceived as a lowball offer and it may very well be just that. I say "perceived" because the house could be overpriced. Emotions can run high, and fury may set in as the seller rants to their agent and their agent may join in by fueling the fire rather than trying to temper the situation. The result:  The seller ignores the buyer by not responding at all. It's what adults do when someone insults us, right? We ignore them. The answer is sometimes, but this isn't one of them. There is just too much at stake.

Never Ignore or Be Insulted by a Buyer's Offer

I am not a proponent of not responding to an offer at all no matter how low it is. I get that the seller may be insulted, but by totally ignoring a buyer's offer, it may shut the door in the face of a bona fide buyer. We’re all experienced enough to know that buyers will test the waters and we should relay that to our sellers. At the very least, the seller can respond with "offer rejected."  That way it leaves the door open for the buyer to come back and make a better offer. But by slamming the door on a buyer's offer, it lets the buyer and his agent know a few things:

  1. One or both (seller and agent) don't treat people very well. I'm not suggesting that they become besties with the buyer but we're all adults and should treat each other as such. You know the old "catch more bees with honey" adage.
  2. It's an indicator of how the buyer's side might be frequently ignored during the course of a transaction. Even if ignoring is not intentional, it's a sign that effective communication is not a priority. You know how some seller's agents don't respond as promptly or at all after a contract has been accepted.
  3. It creates a sense of hostility at the onset.

If a seller simply does not respond to or acknowledge an offer in any way, it may eliminate a path for a buyer to come back with some sense of dignity with a revised offer. On the flip side, after the property continues to linger on the market, the seller may have closed the door to an opportunity to revisit the buyer whose offer they ignored. Neither the buyer or seller wants to feel like they have to grovel and come begging. 

Buying and Selling Real Estate is Not War

Being on opposite sides of a real estate transaction does not mean that the parties have to be hostile to each other. It's a learned behavior by watching and even being taught by others. I've been at meetings where brokers actually recommend that we advise the seller to ignore buyers by not responding at all. Rude habits come from the top down, right? It's a bad habit that needs to stop. Nobody, or should I say, not everyone wants to be on the defensive from contract to close. No one involved is the enemy, at least that's what I hope. The buyer and seller are parties in a transaction and both agents are there to help them navigate the transaction so that their clients have a pleasant experience and not one filled with angst from contract to close.

It's bad enough that the general public don't think very highly of us. It would seem that agents would do a better job of treating their peers more courteously. That does not suggest in any way that our loyalty lies with one another rather than with our clients. It simply means treat others how you want to be treated, especially if no one gives cause to treat them otherwise.

People can stand to be a little nicer, don't you think?

Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good afternoon Charita,

Thank you for your post. I've never understood an agent not wanting to cooperate with other agents when an offer is submitted. Its a starting point! If you treat other agents with respect ...guess what they want to show your listings and you will have more opportunities for your sellers! 

Dec 11, 2023 02:30 PM
Charita Cadenhead
eXp Realty - Birmingham, AL
Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama)

Exactly Dorie Dillard Austin TX.  I recently had a seller turn down a higher offer because of the seller and agent's behavior. They have no regrets and the agent and buyer that did buy the property were really pleasant and both parties had reasonable expectations.

Dec 11, 2023 02:37 PM
John Pusa
Glendale, CA

Hello Charita Cadenhead very good helpful report about why sellers should never ignore an offer.

Dec 11, 2023 02:44 PM
Steffy Hristova
HomeSmart Elite Group Tempe AZ Tel: 602.710.8161 - Tempe, AZ
Tempe AZ Realtor - Your Home Close to Your Work!

Excellent points, Charita Cadenhead ! I can relate to them very well - never ignore a Buyer's offer, even if lowball, and buying and selling real estate is not a war. I am a bit irritated by the term 'bidding war', and always prefer to remind my clients to think of an auction when there are multiple offers.

Dec 11, 2023 03:13 PM
Charita Cadenhead
eXp Realty - Birmingham, AL
Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama)

Steffy it is so very irrating.  I don't really understand the midset of agents or sellers that do that.  Usually the party that is trying to play hardball is the party that comes up short in the end.  I've seen it to many times.  I agree with you on "bidding war."  Let's say we come up with a new way of saying that and hopefully it will catch on.

Dec 11, 2023 03:29 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

 

Charita Cadenhead   

I never let a seller feel insulted by an offer. I tell my sellers that not receiving an offer is more insulting.

Dec 11, 2023 04:42 PM
Charita Cadenhead
eXp Realty - Birmingham, AL
Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama)

Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400 I am definitely going to have to remember that about no offer being more insulting.  Good one.

Dec 11, 2023 05:03 PM
Charita Cadenhead
eXp Realty - Birmingham, AL
Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama)

Thanks John Pusa 

Dec 11, 2023 05:05 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Charita Cadenhead,

Here is a link to a post written a few years ago.

An offer is not an insult. 

 

 

Dec 11, 2023 05:13 PM
Charita Cadenhead
eXp Realty - Birmingham, AL
Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama)

Thanks Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400 i just read it and you definitely hailed it.  Thanks for sending me the link.

Dec 11, 2023 05:41 PM
Richard Weeks
Dallas, TX
REALTOR®, Broker
Great information, thanks for sharing.  I hope you have a great day.
Dec 12, 2023 02:55 AM
Kat Palmiotti
eXp Commercial, Referral Divison - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Great to see your name this morning! As for your message, I totally agree. It's so important that sellers do not take a low offer personally, as in letting it push them into the emotional zone. And that's one of the listing agent's roles - to explain what the offer really means. It means someone was interested enough to fill out all the paperwork, provide a pre-approval or proof of funds. I suspect 99% of people who do put in a low offer do not expect it to be accepted and expect a response of some sort.

By the way, I've had buyers in the past who wanted to put in a low offer, even after we (me as their buyer's agent) discussed the market, potential responses, etc. There have been instances where they put in that low offer anyway and wound up agreeing to purchase the home at a much more reasonable price. So you never know. And the seller will never know if an offer will wind up working out if they don't respond!

Dec 12, 2023 05:23 AM
Charita Cadenhead
eXp Realty - Birmingham, AL
Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama)

Hey Kat Palmiotti thanks for stopping by and commenting.  I could not agree with you more.  Really all it takes is for the both agents to review the comps and they can see how the surprising number of sales that closed at much less than asking price.  I've made an offer on a a home a couple of times (maybe even 3).  The first offer was ignored, the second offer was countered, but took more than a week to counter my counter offer. The has not been on the market just short of 90 days.  It's very possible, more than possible that I would have gotten a lot closer and something could have worked out.

Dec 12, 2023 05:41 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

This is very good advice. I shared your post on Twitter.

Have a productive month. 

 

Dec 12, 2023 07:54 AM
Charita Cadenhead
eXp Realty - Birmingham, AL
Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama)

Hi Roy Kelley thanks so much for sharing.

Dec 12, 2023 07:59 AM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Good to see you back on the platform I am here because of Steffy Hristova  reblog, Endre

Dec 12, 2023 09:45 PM
Charita Cadenhead

Thanks Endre. It’s always good to be back

Dec 12, 2023 09:54 PM
Bo Zivak
Zivak Realty Group - Nashville, TN
Nashville Real Estate Broker

Thank you for sharing important advice that emphasizes the significance of every offer. Your insights ensure sellers make informed decisions, fostering successful transactions. I appreciate the wisdom shared!

Dec 13, 2023 04:15 AM
Charita Cadenhead
eXp Realty - Birmingham, AL
Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama)

Thanks Bo.

Dec 13, 2023 07:32 AM
Ed Silva, 203-206-0754
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

When an offer comes in, the agent needs to give it a thorough review and when presenting it to the seller offer the facts. If it is too low, or terms are not acceptable, a kind response to the same may just get a revised offer more favorable. 

Sometimes ignoring the first offer can be a curse to the listing.

Dec 18, 2023 06:49 AM
Charita Cadenhead
eXp Realty - Birmingham, AL
Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama)

You know what they say Ed..sometimes the first offer is the best offer.  I have found that to be true so many times.   It does absolutely no harm to offer a kind response.

Dec 18, 2023 03:55 PM