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The Real Estate Waiting Game

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Dear Phyllis,

Our real estate agent has been showing us homes for quite some time. Last week we finally found the perfect one, and we made a formal offer. Our agent went back and forth with the seller’s agent for more than a week, and we still did not agree on the price and some patio furniture (we asked that the patio furniture be included, but it wasn’t a deal breaker). After a week of no movement, another offer was received, and now we are bidding against that buyer. I am perplexed over the initial delay and feel the seller was playing us; what do you think? Tired of the real estate waiting game

Dear Tired,

Most home sellers have a set price in mind that they “need” when they list their homes for sale. Obviously, each seller wants to sell for the highest price, and likely, as the buyer, you want to purchase at the lowest possible price. Unfortunately, it’s not unusual for offers to be countered several times before buyers and sellers agree. I try to avoid playing the real estate waiting game.

Before writing the initial offer, I attempt to contact the seller’s agent with questions about the closing date, possession, etc. Before asking for personal property (such as patio furniture), have your agent ask the seller’s agent whether the owner might include it. This will give you one less item to negotiate in counter offers. If your initial offer was low, and your agent thought it was not likely to be accepted, you might have omitted the inclusion of the patio furniture. On the off chance your price was accepted, that should be most important. In the event of a counteroffer, when you increase your offer price, you might consider asking for personal property.

Time can be a home buyer’s worst enemy because as you discovered another buyer has jumped in. When writing an offer for a client, I try to prepare them for a possible counter. If a counteroffer is received, my buyer should already know if they are willing to increase their offer and if necessary, by how much. Because we do this daily, most real estate agents are very experienced in these back-and-forth negotiations. Trust your agent’s expertise; you hired her to find the home you love at a price you can afford. A good real estate agent will work hard to do just that.

One thought on “The Real Estate Waiting Game

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