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You put your home on the market for sale. It’s both an exciting and an anxious time. Expectations are running high. The buyer traffic is great. Showings happen several times each week. Then the phone call comes. Your agent has received an offer. You listen in disbelief. The offer is extremely low. Emotions rise immediately – anger, hurt and disgust all at once. This is completely predictable and completely understandable. It is not, however, negotiation. Don’t get upset by a low ball offer because emotions can not help you. Negotiate because that’s the only way to win.

Negotiation is a process. It is essential to take emotions out of it. I know this is hard. You have every right to be upset but this is precisely how you’ll lose. It does not matter where a buyer starts. Where he ends is what counts for you.

Your job is to move the buyer up as much as possible. Then you decide if you want to sell your house. Slamming the door shut gets you nothing. Negotiation is messaging. Send back the message that you want to negotiate but not at that low ball level.

It’s easier than you’d imagine. Reply with a small reduction. Then see what the buyer does. A low ball offer can be many things.

A buyer may be testing you. He may trying to find out how firm you are. The buyer may also not understand the value your home represents. Sometimes misunderstandings exist. An example is thinking the roof is old when it’s age is 3 years. Acting emotionally rather than strategically gets you nowhere.

Your agent should discuss your reply and the buyer’s offer with the buyer’s agent. There are times a frank discussion between the agents clears the air and moves you toward a win.

As long as emotion does not rule, you have opportunity to get an offer that works for you. Here’s an example for you:

I had a listing in the low $300,000 range. The listing price was not above the market. The seller needed to move quickly so the house was aggressively priced. The offer came in at more than 10% under the asking price. It had a very quick closing date which was a term that meant a lot to my seller. We negotiated back and forth for a while. During negotiations I uncovered the buyer’s concerns and we methodically answered those concerns. With every answer, value was added to the house. Eventually we arrived at a sales price the seller accepted. It was within 5% of the asking price.

This never would have happened if the seller’s initial emotional reaction had set the tone. The answer to win is don’t get upset by a low ball offer. You never know where it will end up if you don’t negotiate it out.

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