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Offended by a low ball offer? Really?

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis October 20, 2011 06:35 AM

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Sorry, but if you get offended because a buyer tries to strike a hard bargain, please don't come crying to me.

You may not like the offer, but to take it as a personal affront?

We are living in 2011, not 1811.

Frankly, here's where I think some sellers desperately need a reality check.

First off, to get any offer is a good thing in this depressed market. And while you may not like the number that is on the table, you can always counter.

Or not, that's fine. But don't get all huffy and haughty, for the buyer is providing you, if nothing else, with some valuable market intelligence.

OK, maybe your house is truly worth more than what Mr. Overeager Lowballer is offering for it. But it may also be a warning sign the price you have set your heart on is dangerously out of touch with the current market reality.

Be nice and thank your would-be buyer for the offer - it may be the last one you'll see until you've lowered your price four or five times.

The home you raised your children in or spent countless dollars renovating may be your baby, but to buyers, it's just another house.

Get over it and start thinking like potential buyer.

Check out this story, offered up by Bynxers the other day, of yet another case of sellers offended by an offer they deemed too low.

"I have a friend who was looking at a home. The asking price was rather high. He made his offer based off of a subtraction of the asking price, minus the cost of what it would take to bring the home to 2011- including updating the heating, treating the home for mold, and updating the kitchen (not luxury).

The owners- an elderly couple laughed apparently and said they were offended by the offer.... He countered that he was offended that they would expect a 300% profit from the time they bought it without putting in proper maintenance.

As a serviceman, he knows how to weed out BS miles away- and he said there's sure a lot of it to go around these parts."

Granted- it was a relatively desirable community, however my friend noted to me that the oil heating system was in terrible shape when he looked at it, let alone an inspector. Additionally- the basement and back of the house had been dealing with mold issues, it appeared, for years and finally- the kitchen was in horrible shape. The linolium flooring was buckling, the fridge and stove were both still from the 60's and in poor condition...

All of this and the asking price was still very much above the assessed value by the town.

This, my friends- is ridiculous. And the stubbornness of the sellers, I would surmise only means that the house will get sold as part of the estate sale when the elderly seller pass on.

Abject greed= Boston real estate.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
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Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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