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  • Writer's pictureKira Witherwax

Never Always

Updated: Nov 27, 2023

As I work with clients touring houses or discussing selling their house, I start to hear some of the advice they've received from well-meaning relatives or the internet start to surface. Usually, it starts something along the lines of, "we should always start low when we make an offer, right?" or "we should always ask for the best and final offers after we get the first offer, right?"

There is (almost) Never an Always. A few exceptions are: always de-clutter your house if you're trying to sell it. Always get pre-approved if you're looking to buy a house; but when it comes to most everything else that has to do with negotiations and offers, it is always specific to the market we're in and the situation you're in.

An Always Shifting Market

This is why you can't take the advice that your uncle gives you that bought a house fifteen years ago, or even two years ago or someone that sold their house in Miami last week and apply it to your situation. A year and a half ago if you decided to "start low" on all offers, you would have not been competitive and would have lost out. And that is still the case with some houses today; but not all. If a house has been on the market for a bit or has a layout issue or other concern that shrinks the buyer pool, you may be able to negotiate some. Well, how do you know these things? You ask for guidance from your real estate professional. You work with your buyers' agent that has experience and ask their opinion on what is currently happening in that marketplace. And then you make the final call on how to proceed after you have all the information.

If you're a seller and your neighbor sold in 2021 with six total offers all above asking price, don't take their advice and apply it to your situation today. Ask your listing agent, what is selling currently, what's pending and what else is out their available that you'll be competing against. If you get multiple offers, listen to the council of your agent. Depending on your property, the market and how good the offers are, the wise choice may be to negotiate or accept the best offer you have. I've seen multiple times where buyers backed out all together when they were told they were in competition and the sellers were asking for their best and final offers, leaving the seller with zero offers.

You're The Deciding Factor

A large piece of the equation is you. Your circumstances, wants, and needs are different than each and every other buyer or seller. You may need to sell before winter and someone else may only want to sell if they can get a certain price. You may have a unique or challenging sell property. Maybe you're competing against buyers who don't need to be out of their rental for ten more months, but you need a place immediately for a job relocation. Your motivation levels are different and, therefore; you will need to negotiate differently to get the results you need. This why it's important to be transparent with the agent that represents you. We can't give you the best advice for your situation if we don't have all of the information.

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