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Lenn Harley, of Homefinders serving Virginia and Maryland, posted this excellent blog on arriving at an offer price on a home for a buyer.  The main point is that NO ONE (seller, buyer or agents) knows what a seller will take for his home until the offer is submitted in writing.  

This is great reading for all buyers who are ready to buy a home!



How much should I offer?  No idea until recent sales in the area are considered.

Will the seller pay my closing?  No idea but you can ask in the offer.

Will the seller wait for me to sell my home?  No idea, but we can ask for a contingency.

Will the seller leave the $7,500 ride on mower?  Don't even think it.

Actually, when a buyer asks those questions, they are assuming that you have the answer, or will make an educated guess.  Of course, you do not know how low the seller will go or much else other than recent competitive sales.  Even a listing agent who has been advised by the seller that he, the seller, will not take a penny less than $XXX,XXX does not know.  Fact is, until a seller is presented with a full written offer complete with the necessary:

  • Amount of the offerLenn May 21, 2010
  • Type of financing
  • Financing Status
  • Terms for settlement
  • Contingencies


STUDY THE PROPERTY FIRST.  As a buyer's agent, we cannot possibly know what the seller will "take" for their property.  In fact, until we have examined the recent sales in the area, we don't even know if the list price is reasonable.  On the other hand, until the listing agent has examined the buyer's written offer, then cannot know if the offer is within an acceptable price/terms/conditions that are acceptable to the seller.  

DON'T ASSUME A THING.  Listing agents who assume that a seller will only take $XXX,XXX for the sale of their home and make a statement that "The seller will not take less than $XXX,XXX" may be costing the seller a very good buyer.  Until an agent has read the offer through, they don't know the net to the seller an offer might represent and should not be making decisions for the seller. 

MAKING LOW OFFERS IS NOT NEGOTIATING.  Buyer's agents who tout their negotiating skills to prospective home buyers before analyzing the strength of the buyer's offer, may be met with disappointment in the extreme.  Experienced listing agents are now persuaded by the agents claim of "superior negotiating skills" and look simply to the price/terms/conditions of an offer.  Experienced buyer's agents study the recent sales, condition, how long the property has been on the market, price trends in the area, seller's need to relocate (love that one) and don't forget the master plan. 

Experienced agents, listing or selling, will be very cautious about making conclusory statements about what a buyer or seller will do. 


As described below, the homes that SOLD in the City of Alexandria sales differed by List Price, Close Price, the Subsidy given by the seller to the buyer and the Days On The Market.  Other variables such as move in date, conveyances, etc. may also make the difference in HOW MUCH THE SELLER WILL TAKE.

City         ListPrice       ClosePrice        Subsidy         DOMP
Alexandria $369,500 $345,000 $5,500 37
Alexandria $369,000 $360,000 0 14
Alexandria $402,500 $402,500 0 0
Alexandria $439,900 $415,000 $3,000 17
Alexandria $450,000 $435,000 0 0
Alexandria $458,900 $453,000 $3,000 121
Alexandria $469,900 $468,500 $9,580 9
Alexandria $489,950 $480,000 $5,000 8
Alexandria $536,465 $535,465 0 3
Alexandria $539,900 $539,900 $10,000 5
Alexandria $549,499 $547,499 $5,000 11
Alexandria $550,000 $558,000 $8,000 208
Alexandria $584,900 $570,000 0 29
Alexandria $549,900 $575,000 0 18
Alexandria $575,000 $575,000 0 0
Alexandria $595,000 $585,000 $15,500 7
Alexandria $619,900 $605,000 0 15
Alexandria $619,990 $619,920 $5,000 10
Alexandria $659,900 $647,000 0 207
Alexandria $675,000 $650,000 0 66
Alexandria $699,900 $675,000 $10,000 20
Alexandria $699,000 $690,000 $15,917 32
Alexandria $685,000 $690,000 $15,090 23
Alexandria $699,000 $690,000 0 18
Alexandria $719,000 $719,000 0 3
Alexandria $720,000 $720,000 0 0
Alexandria $749,000 $725,000 $350 4
Alexandria $753,750 $753,750 $18,743 0
Alexandria $785,000 $785,000 0 0
Alexandria $799,900 $800,000 0 17
Alexandria $729,000 $800,000 0 3
Alexandria $849,000 $835,000 0 32
Alexandria $869,000 $865,000 0 8
Alexandria $899,000 $899,000 0 56
Alexandria $950,000 $950,000 0 559
Alexandria $995,000 $950,000 0 55
Alexandria $974,900 $974,900 $500 0
Alexandria $1,069,900 $990,000 $500 203
Alexandria $1,099,900 $1,020,000 $1,500 189
Alexandria $1,585,000 $1,476,500 0 22
Alexandria $1,575,000 $1,500,000 0 8

Courtesy, Lenn Harley, Broker, Homefinders.com, 800-711-7988.


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Melissa Brown



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Melissa Brown, Realtor, Charlotte, NC

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Comment balloon 2 commentsMelissa Brown • June 22 2010 11:20AM
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