It’s always an exciting moment when I’m showing homes in Port St. Lucie and my customers find “the one.” Through a process of elimination we’ve arrived at what could be their future home sweet home and now it’s time to talk business. As the conversation leads to making an offer I often get the question “how much room is there for negotiation in the asking price?”

After working for many years in this South Florida marketplace I’ve learned through trial and error how to approach making an offer. Here are a few aspects to consider when preparing to make an offer.

How long has the property been on the market?

If the property was newly listed within the last two weeks then the sellers may be less-inclined to negotiate much off their asking price. Generally the first two to three weeks is when a new listing will receive a lot of activity due to possible pent up demand.

After three weeks it might be a safe bet that the seller would be more willing to negotiate. If his showing activity has slowed down and he hasn’t had any viable offers then the seller could consider taking money off of the asking price.

Are there other offers on the table?

Before making an offer, find out if there are other offers on the table. When I set up appointments to tour properties I always reach out to the listing agents to make sure that the seller isn’t in the midst of negotiating an offer. If we are to find “the one” while touring homes then I’ll reach out to the listing agent yet again to make sure there are no new offers on the table.

If ours is the only offer and there’s no word of something else coming through then we have the luxury of time to negotiate. But if another offer comes in as we submit ours that will quickly change the dynamic of the negotiations. Most listing agents will put all buyer’s agents on notice that there are multiple offers and that all parties should submit their highest and best.

But occasionally a second buyer comes in, with the knowledge that there is a first offer on the table, and that second offer will beat out the first for the sheer fact that they made their highest and best from the very beginning. It’s an unfortunate situation to have a property swiped right out from under you because a second offer came in better and the seller automatically takes it.

What are other similar homes selling for?

It helps to do the research and verify if the seller is in-line with other comparable homes. If my customer is thinking of offering less on a listing I will research comparable sales to figure out how much less would be a reasonable and fair offer. If our lower-than-asking-price offer is justifiable with recent comparable sales it’s harder for the other side to argue a higher position. Making an arbitrarily low offer is one thing but having the facts to back it up is much smarter.

Has the seller turned down previous offers?

When working as a buyer’s agent, one of the questions I ask is whether the owner has received offers in the past. Knowing that a seller turned down a $215,000 offer on their property listed for $220,000 is helpful information. Does it mean that the seller won’t come down $5000 this time around? Not necessarily – motivations could have changed, or the new offer may have better aspects than what the prior offer could have presented. But working with insight from prior offers is helpful in preparing a strategy to present an offer. I’ve had a listing agent tell me that the seller might come down by $2000 and my buyer makes an offer for $4000 less. The seller accepted it because she liked my buyers personalities when we met and toured the property! You just never know!

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It’s important to work with a professional and knowledgeable Realtor® when you’re purchasing a home. Any agent can fill in the blanks on the sales contract but not all agents will have the experience to give you guidance that will set your purchase up for success. I have helped customers buy and sell real estate in Port St. Lucie since 2008. I’m thankful that at this point in my career my reputation helps me close sales because other Realtors know that I will get the job done when it comes to selling a property.

If you’re looking for guidance from a Realtor who can help you with the big decision of buying or selling, please contact me at 772-485-3214 or use the contact tab at the top of my website.