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What to Expect After Pitching an Offer

Right At Home Daily: Finding It: Contractor
Negotiating Strategies in a Buyer's and Seller's Market
By Margaret Crane for Right at Home Daily

Congratulations. After a good deal of hard work and research, you've finally found a home you love. Based on your research, you've constructed an offer that is less than the list price.

In addition to the price, the offer will contain information such as the closing date, those items you'd like the owner to leave (e.g., window treatments, built-ins, light fixtures, and appliances), and your inspection, attorney and financing contingencies. You'll also attach a good faith deposit What to Expect After Pitching an Offer- so the seller knows you're a serious buyer -- and an expiration date for the contract.

Now the waiting begins. The sellers may accept the offer, reject it or make a counteroffer, which is their response to your offer. They may want a higher price or may not be willing to fix any defective items. Your agent may convey the counteroffer verbally or in writing.

Now that you've received the counteroffer, you must evaluate it. Do you want to pay a higher price? How much does your buyer's agent think the property is worth? Will you accept the house in "as is" condition? After careful deliberation, you'll submit a new counteroffer through your agent.

Remember that while your agent is the messenger, you need to make all decisions. Be careful what you tell your agent; you don't want her or him repeating anything that shouldn't be disclosed to the seller's agent during the negotiating process.

Once you make an offer on a home that's less than the asking price, the seller has the option to reject it, accept it or make a counteroffer. If you get a counteroffer, consider these possibilities:

1. As the buyer, you may accept the counteroffer, reject it or renegotiate. If you want to keep the contract alive, you can accept the price they suggested, or move up from your initial price, or change the inclusions, date of closing, or other items. For example, if the sellers want to take their refrigerator, you might stay firm with your lower price but give in on the appliance.

2. Decide the maximum amount you're willing to pay and don't budge from that price. It's rarely worth overpaying for a home.

3. Be prepared that the seller may accept your counteroffer, reject it, or make a counteroffer of his own.

Hammer Get some useful advice on making an offer in our forum.