Home Buyers and Sellers, Do Not Slam the Door - Negotiate!

Real Estate Agent with BHGRE - Metro Brokers

How long has your home been on the market?  Three months, six months, it's not surprising if it's been on the market even longer but it is time to take a very serious and hard look at what it is going to take to get your property sold.  Perhaps, you've reduced the price a couple of times and you're asking yourself, "how much lower?"  It is a buyer's market afterall, and therefore, they do have an advantage but that should not mean you have to accept an unreasonable and unrealistic offer.  Be prepared for a buyer who might very well present a very low offer, even as much as 10% or more below the listing price. 


First and very importantly, Do Not Be Offended, Do Not Take It Personally.  Instead, view the offer as an opportunity to begin discussion and start negotiations. Do not slam the door - Negotiate!

Remember offers are a negotiation game and recognize that the buyer is serious by even making an offer.  (That's important to keep in mind, the buyer is serious or there would be no offer.)  Assess your own goals and determine how much you really need from the sale in order to meet your needs.



Have your Realtor keep a check on market conditions and try to determine if something has happened in the market to cause a buyer to make such a low offer.  It is just as important for you, the seller,  to keep a check on inventory in your own neighborhood.  How are similar homes priced?  How does your home compare to the other homes in your neighborhood.  Are you too high?


Keep it going as long as possible.  Trust your Realtor and clearly communicate your limitations.  If you are facing financial distress, be open with your Realtor who is working on your behalf to provide professional guidance and get the best possible price.  Let your Realtor know if you may need to do a short sale, talk about your payoff if you think you may be headed for foreclosure.  You and your Realtor could very well work out a listing price that will get your property sold to ward off any serious financial trouble.  Work together and ensure the selling agent that you do want to work with them.  Stay engaged in the process as long as possible.  Make your final offer but keep in mind that you do not want to lose a buyer over a couple of thousand dollars.  Also, the selling agent should remind the buyer of the same thing.  The difference in a mortgage payment is very small if the deal comes down to a few thousand dollars difference. 


And probably the most difficult thing to do is to be patient with the process.  In a market where inventory is higher than normal and foreclosures have increased the levels even more, selling takes time.  Work together to reach a fair and reasonable deal.  This is good advice for buyers too - work with sellers to reach a fair and reasonable deal.  Understand that not everyone is desperate to sell and what is happening in one market is not at all, what might be happening in another market.  Let the actual sales data tell the story and then make your decision based on tangible market information, this goes for both buyers and sellers.

Sellers should also consider other options rather than always reducing the price.  If your property is priced right, consider offering a Home Warranty for the buyer or paying a certain amount toward closing costs.


Donna Yates
Georgia Realtor
North Georgia Blue Ridge Mountains
Coldwell Banker High Country Realty
706-633-0644 cell
800-307-0777 x252 office

websites:  www.move2northgeorgia.net  |  www.buynorthgeorgiarealestate.net

Realtors at Coldwell Banker High Country Realty consistently demonstrate strong negotiation skills.  The average list to sales ratio is consistently higher among Coldwell Banker High Country Realtors when compared with other similar companies.  This is a strong indicator of great negotiating skills. 



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Kelly Young
The Platinum Group Realtors - Colorado Springs, CO
Colorado Springs Real Estate ~ 719-226-0126

I like the review you prepared above with simple thoughts about what to think about and what to do. I wonder if we as Realtors can make a difference for sellers upfront by preparing them for the possibilities of what can happen with their house and offers so that they are not as suprised and "react" when a low offer does come in.  Bottom line is sometimes a low offer taken is better than no offer....

Feb 15, 2009 08:47 AM #33
Lori Churchill Cofer
Beasley Realty - Pullman, WA
Realtor - 509-330-0086 - Pullman, WA


This is a great post...congrats on the gold star.  It is true that seller's need to get past that emotional reaction and KEEP THE NEGOTIATIONS OPEN and buyer's also need to understand that not every one need to sell...and markets throughout the country are different too! All good points!

Lori Cofer Pullman WA

Feb 15, 2009 09:03 AM #34
Mike Russell
Mike Russell & Associates - Overland Park, KS
Overland Park Kansas Real Estate

keeping thelines of communication open is so very important. I never kill the messenger.

Feb 15, 2009 11:13 AM #35
Chad & Sara Huebener
Edina Realty - Savage, MN

Finally!  Someone said it.  We have seen so many sellers simply refuse to negotiate.  Taking an offer personal is counterproductive in this market. 

Feb 15, 2009 11:39 AM #36
Craig & Sue Guffin
Coldwell Banker Monsees Realty - Sedalia, MO
Sedalia Mo Real Estate

Good post with very good information on keeping the deal open. Thanks

Feb 15, 2009 12:15 PM #37
Angelia Garcia
Pure Realtors - Dallas, TX

I wish I could get an offer on some of my listings.  It is coming up on a year for one of them.

Feb 15, 2009 12:21 PM #38
Deb Brooks
Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas - Wichita Falls, TX

Donna, sometimes they get too stubborn and proud and just plain unreasonable. I had a listing leave me after I presented four, count them....4 written offers but they weren't as much as they felt the house was worth. Humm....go figure. If a person won't pay that for the property then it's probably not worth it. Yes?

Later in the rain~Deb

Feb 15, 2009 02:15 PM #39
JB Brookman
JB Brookman Photography - Franklin, TN
High School Senior Portrait Photographer

Donna- you nailed it!... keeping both parties open and willing to negotiate is the solution for any transaction.  If we are honest up front and set a realistic expectation, this becomes easier.  As you said so well, it takes patience.  Communication is the key and this is such a great season to add value to our clients by doing this well.  Great post!

Feb 15, 2009 05:49 PM #40
Terry Miller
Miller Homes Group - Tyler, TX
Miller Homes Group and Tyler Apartment Locator

Great post. Right on the money as well. We have sellers everyday that forget they are actully trying to sell thier home so it's not personal.

Feb 16, 2009 02:11 AM #41
Donna Yates
BHGRE - Metro Brokers - Blue Ridge, GA
Blue Ridge Mountains

Chad & Sara:  I will never understand someones refusal to negotiate.

Craig: Thank you.  We all strive to get the best deal possible for our clients, whether buyers or sellers.  The best deal can only happen if lines of communication remain open.

Angelica: Depending on your market and given the current state of our economy, I'm not surprised that listings are on the market for a year or even longer.  High inventory levels make the absorption rate even longer in some cases.  But I do think some serious analysis should be done to determine what it's really going to take to sell.  How long can a Realtor continue to pay advertising costs by carrying a property that won't sell?  We are in business too, and that's a question that a Realtor needs to ask.  I mean, at some point, by the time the property does sell, your pay day may be flat.

Deb:  Sometimes sellers need to be reminded that the market sets the price not the Realtor.

JB:  I think patience is the most difficult part of the process.

Marian: I think the seller should at least give the buyer the benefit of the doubt that the buyer is serious just by the plain fact that the buyer made an offer in the first place.  Sometimes, I have to ask my sellers to put themselves in the buyer's place but that works both ways too.

Diane:  I think many of us are facing the same challenges.

Lynn: If that was my agent - I would have to say "you're FIRED!"  1.3 mil offer on 1.5 listing price - not a bad start at all.

Kelly:  Absolutely! I am a firm believer in preparing the seller upfront.  With the challenges we are facing in the housing market, this is not the time to hold back.  Realtors need to be upfront and straightforward, presenting tangible facts and help the sellers understand what to expect and why.

Lori: It can be and often is very emotional but the emotion really needs to be balanced or at least tempered with some level of logic.

Michael: So true - do not kill the messenger unless of course the messenger is merely that and nothing more.  A Realtor should not be just a messenger.

Terry: I ask sellers what their objectives are at the time we list and then it's an ongoing process that needs to be revisited and revised as is necessary.  I like to have a reality check periodically to see if objectives have changed and if so, how that impacts the bottom line.  This could have a major impact on the end result.


Feb 16, 2009 09:59 AM #42
Keith Perry
Coldwell Banker - Hiram, GA
REALTOR - West Metro Atlanta

Hi Donna, you hit the mark on this post. Good job!!

Feb 16, 2009 11:38 AM #43
Donna Yates
BHGRE - Metro Brokers - Blue Ridge, GA
Blue Ridge Mountains

Keith:  It's something I've lived through!  I speak from personal experience.  LOL

Feb 17, 2009 12:13 PM #44
Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.AtHomesCharlotte.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

Hi Donna!  EXCELLENT advice and congrats on that little gold star!  It amazes me that the market status is ALL in the news, all of the talk in the 'hood' and all around us and some clients are STILL not taking the advice of the experts!  WHY, oh WHY?!  I've come to a realization in the last year that I will absolutly NOT take a listing that I cannot move--unrealistic sellers cost me money and them, time!

Debe in Charlotte
Feb 25, 2009 12:52 PM #45
Donna Yates
BHGRE - Metro Brokers - Blue Ridge, GA
Blue Ridge Mountains

Debe:  Unrealistic buyers cost a lot of time and money too.  Time is money and I've had more than my share of unrealistic buyers.  It's tough for everyone right now.

Feb 25, 2009 01:20 PM #46
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

Great well deserved feature Donna. Being creative as a seller and ALWAYS keeping the ball in play with the negotiation are keys to getting the job done ~ a SALE!!

Feb 25, 2009 01:42 PM #47
Donna Yates
BHGRE - Metro Brokers - Blue Ridge, GA
Blue Ridge Mountains

Gary:  Also, I think it's important when negotiating to put the things you can't agree on to the side and get the things you can agree on out of the way first.  Then that clears the field and allows the Realtor and the client to focus only on the points that are at odds.  Seems like it makes for a smoother and even more successful negotiation.

Feb 28, 2009 12:17 PM #48
Barbara Delaney
Park Place REALTORS, Inc. - Roanoke, VA

Dear Donna,

Excellent post! I missed it somehow. I love your graphics.

I would have missed this post entirely had you not commented on one of my posts.


Mar 09, 2009 03:56 AM #49
Donna Yates
BHGRE - Metro Brokers - Blue Ridge, GA
Blue Ridge Mountains

Hi Barbara:  That's the beauty of commenting and reciprocating.  I've met many great new people that way.  Thank you for visiting.

Mar 09, 2009 12:30 PM #50
Darrell Walters
W. Darrell Walters - Newnan, GA

Great post! In this market it pays for sellers to negotiate with buyers and it takes a skilled professional realtor to do so.

Mar 11, 2009 02:28 AM #51
Donna Yates
BHGRE - Metro Brokers - Blue Ridge, GA
Blue Ridge Mountains

Darrell:  Thanks for stopping by.  The services of a skilled professional real estate agent cannot be overestimated. 

Mar 11, 2009 09:35 AM #52
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