Sellers REJECT an Offer! How to NOT Sell Your House!

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty

In this market where we're all telling everyone on the fence that "Now is the time to buy," I finally took my own advice.I found a great deal on a condo in Fairlington, VA (A super-cute, friendly, dog-friendly community here in Arlington) on a 1 bed, 1 bath condo.

The average days a condo in Arlington spends sitting before it goes under contract is 65 days.

So, wouldn't you think receiving an offer after only 3 days on the market would excite the sellers? Apparently not.

Without giving the exact details of the offer, it was basically a "no strings attached" offer - no contingencies, 3 weeks to close, and a very solid offer all together. Again, after only 3 days on the market. After 48 hours, I get a call from the listing agent -

"They've decided to reject your offer. They want to give it more time on the market."

MORE time on the market? These people want to pay for another month worth of condo fees and taxes? AND mortgage payments?

Luckily, i'm a professional and haven't taken this personally :)  I am just STUNNED that in this market, where getting an offer after less than a week is unusual and should be a pleasant surprise, these sellers wouldn't counter - at the very least.

Usually, I recommend that any offer you get within the first month the property is on the market, is one you want to at least "play ball" with. The longer your property sits on the market, the more harmful it is to your bottom line.

I can understand if they're not in a hurry to sell it, in order to give it an opportunity to attract a full price offer..but with the holidays quickly approaching, and the typical seasonality of this business kicking in - I would have suggested to them to at least counter the offer!

The take-away for today: How NOT to sell your house? Let it sit on the market, indefinitely.


This entry hasn't been re-blogged:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
Virginia Arlington County
Keller Williams 'Rainers
1st Time Buyers
20-Somethings Realtors
Arlington Condos
real estate market
arlington real estate
arlington condo

Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

Laura:  You can put some of the blame on their agent!  He/She should have advised them of the quality of your Offer and strongly advised them to take it!  A 3-week Close?  No contingencies?  AMAZING!  If I were you, I'd wait it out--90 days down the road, make them an Offer of 5% less than you did this week!  When they respond with, 'but, why did you Offer less?'  Tell them that the value of their home has dropped during their extended listing period and why should you have to pay for their error in judgement in not accepting your earlier Offer which would have prevented the devaluation?!  Let them chew on that!

Debe in Charlotte

Sep 26, 2008 03:14 PM #71
DJ Swanepoel
Real Estate Wiki - Los Angeles, CA

Great post, thanks Laura!

Sep 26, 2008 03:43 PM #72
Adam Anderson
Northwood Realty - Pleasant Hills, PA

Hey Laura!  How does the story end?  Did you end up buying a condo? 

I ALWAYS encourage my sellers to counter an offer.  I don't care if the offer that came in is the most ridiculous offer you can think of.  I tell them that we want to keep those lines of commuication open.  Who's to say that the buyer wouldn't come up to where the seller wants?  I at least have them counter back with a full price or take off $100 or so - this conveys to the buyer that they need to come up and hopefully negotiations will keep going.

I also prep my sellers when I take the listing that this may happen and if we do get a "low-ball" offer we are going to counter anyway.  I explain to them that if you shut the buyer off altogether they may lose them!

Great post Laura!

Sep 27, 2008 12:07 AM #73
Lucky Lang
Premiere Plus Realty Marco Island - Marco Island, FL
Marco Island & Naples Florida Real Estate


Keep your emotions in check.  Stay professional, as you did, and don't take it personal.  First instinct would be to come back with a lower offer later because you're mad......don't fall into that trap unless you want to really tick them off.  Did the seller's write "rejected" on your offer?  The professional thing for them to have done is to formally respond back in writing.  They may have been insulted (justifiably or not) by your offer.  Delivery is sooooo important and if the other agent didn't present the offer properly, that could be the reason for the rejection. 

If you still are interested in the condo, try doing this:

  1. Write a cover letter for your offer explaining your situation and why you are interested in their property.
  2. Explain to them that your offer was not intended to offend them and apologize to them letting them know why you felt the offer was fair.
  3. Assuming that your initial offering price was not your "highest and best", try raising your offer closer to that number and see what their response is.
  4. Lastly, thank them for their consideration and tell them that you hope this number will work for them but if it doesn't you understand and that you will keep looking elsewhere.

After 17 years of selling Real Estate, 35 years of investing in it, and currently owning a dozen properties I have found this approach to work.  

Calm persistence is the key to winning the prize!

Good luck,

Lucky :)


Sep 27, 2008 12:17 AM #74
Lyn Sims and the Blog Dog
Streamwood, Elgin IL Real Estate - RE/MAX Suburban - Bartlett, IL

Bad advice from a listing agent asleep at the wheel.  She'll be driving that bus with the sellers for a few months longer than anticipated I bet.  Things like that have a way of coming back & biting you in the #$@!

Sep 27, 2008 02:54 AM #75
Laura McKinney
Keller Williams Realty - Austin, TX


Great post.  What idiots those sellers are.  As well as the agent.  She/He is not helping the sellers take the "emotion" out of the transaction. 

Sep 27, 2008 06:09 AM #76
Retired Notworking
Tallahassee, FL

Amazing and unfortunate for everyone involved. I'm still surprised by sellers who "don't want to give it away" and are unaware of market conditions and won't listen to their agent.

Sep 27, 2008 06:19 AM #77
David Thomas
West USA Realty, Scottsdale, Arizona - Gilbert, AZ

Huge mistake  - not countering.  I always tell my people to try to keep the conversation going.

Sep 27, 2008 07:28 AM #78
Marcie Purcell
Long and Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Quakertown, PA
Realtor, Bucks & Montgomery Co PA

Ther Are Sellers That Would Kill For An Offer In This Market and Their Are Others That Just Don't Get It. They Need To Talk To Sellers That Have Been On The Market For 3,6,9 months and get a clue. You offer sounded very attractive. If some offer me that in this market I would be all over it. Good Luck!

Sep 27, 2008 08:31 AM #79

Hi Laura,

It's really too bad.  It sounds like the list agent was not strong enough to advise thier seller.  It's one more reason people need to hire someone who will act professionally and tell them what they need to hear ... not what they want to hear.

Good luck,


Sep 27, 2008 01:50 PM #80
Mark Hall
Realty One Group Cascadia - Vancouver, WA
Homes for Sale Vancouver Washington

I can't even begin to tell you how many of these I have run across in the past 6 months. Then weeks later the phone rings and it is the listing agent trying to rekindle the offer. Each time I have already found homes for my clients and have gotten them into deals.

If you aren't afraid to tick them off, wait for two weeks and submit another offer for 5% less than the first! If you really want the condo and are still willing to pay your offer price, then just re submit the same offer.

Sep 28, 2008 05:37 AM #81
Everard Korthals
Castellum Realty LLC. - International Real Estate Brokerage - Lititz, PA
Lancaster real estate

I had a similar experience as a seller .when I put my house on the market in 2004 in S.Cal. ,I had an low ball offer within 24 hours from a realtor,a collegue of my listing agent, who wanted to buy it for her self. You know that this is just testing you out to see if you are desperate and have to sell in a hurry. She probably got that idea from my listing agent.

I did not take it seriously and declined .I sold a few weeks later for 25 % more.Clever sellers probably understand that if a realtor offers a price for property  for own use  or as an investment, it will most likely be well below the market .Realtors have the immage to do very well for themselves. 




Sep 28, 2008 12:59 PM #82
Sonja Adams
Samson Proprties - Purcellville, VA

Guess they aren't aware that in this market they need to work with the offers to sell their they think its 2004?

Sep 29, 2008 02:45 AM #84
DeAndrea "Dee Dee" Jones
Home Buyers Marketing II, Inc. - Manassas Park, VA
The NorthernVARealEstateLady & DMVRealEstateChick

Sometimes its more factors, do they owe more than its worth? How low did you go? Quicker is not always good if they don't know where they are going to move! Sometimes it can be another silly item causing the misalignment.  Better luck next time.

Sep 29, 2008 02:58 AM #85
Winter Baserva
Seasons Realty Group of Solid Source Realty, Inc. - Atlanta, GA
Realtor -Homes For Sale, Atlanta, GA

Couldn't agree more. The grass always looks greener and sellers want to sell until they get an offer. That's when the emotion kicks in and why you need a third party professional to help educate them along the way.

Sep 29, 2008 06:19 AM #86
Kelsey Barklow
Hurd Realty - Johnson City, TN

That stinks. I cannot believe that they chose not to counter. They could be packing right now instead of having to keep the place in showing condition. Isn't it interesting to be in your clients' shoes sometimes? I recently sold my own house and went through the same things my sellers go through. It was a learning experience even after so many closings. 

Sep 30, 2008 03:25 AM #87
Kristina Bartlett
THRIVE Properties - Spokane, WA

I can't believe they wouldn't even counter.  That makes you wonder if it was the seller's or the agent's decesion not to counter.  Either way- NOT SMART.  Just wait a few weeks, I bet that agent will be calling you and asking if you're still interested.  Then you get the opportunity to bargain an even lower purchase price!  Good luck!

Dec 03, 2008 09:43 AM #88
JoEllen Keating
Prudential Ambasssador Real Estate - Omaha, NE
Prudential Ambassador, Omaha Nebraska Real Estate

I'm surprised at how many of us are beating up the listing agent on this issue.  We all know that we can show them the comps, explain the "first offer is the best offer", etc., but ultimately it is the Seller's decision.  We are bound by the Code of Ethics to represent our clients no matter how boneheaded they are.  If I were the listing agent, I would give it a couple more weeks and if they are still unreasonable, I would walk away from that listing.  Obviously, the Sellers are not really motivated.

Dec 04, 2008 11:17 PM #89
Karen Rice
Davis R. Chant, REALTORS - Hawley, PA
Northeast PA & Lake Wallenpaupack Home Sales

It is true that it is probably very unfair to blame the listing agent here (without knowing the entire story).  I have had sellers reject - yes, reject without a counter offer - a perfectly excellent (in my opinion, LOL) offer.  When I tried to convince them how good the offer was I was told that "Naturally you would say that, you want to get paid."  They weren't being nasty with me, just matter of fact.  They felt it was not in their best interest to accept that offer, and as their agent, it was my duty to call the other agent back and tell her my sellers weren't interested.

What can you do?  As a listing agent you are bound to carry out the wishes of your client in spite of what you think is best for them.

Dec 04, 2008 11:32 PM #90
Trustworthy Responsive-Personal-Banking
Younullre not just a client-your a FRIEND!


It was obviously it was not meant to be, weird things happen for reasons we don't understand right now. The grand old plan is bigger than we are. There will be a better one down the road.

Jan 28, 2011 11:54 AM #91
Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Show All Comments

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?


Laura Rubinchuk Schwartz

Your Northern Virginia and D.C. Realtor
Ask me a question
Spam prevention

Additional Information