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Lowball Offers for Properties You Want to Buy

How do you make a "low ball" offer on a property you want to buy? What is considered a low ball offer on a house or condo? Won't you offend the seller if you make such a low offer for the property?

What is a lowball offer? Really, a lowball offer meanings bidding less than 90% of what a property is priced at by the seller. That's real lowball. Sure, that's an extreme example, but if you're buying a home that needs a lot of work and has been sitting empty on the real estate for a long period of time, basically a foreclosure, then a low ball offer of say half the price isn't unrealistic.

On the high end, you'll also see big price moves on homes often of the rich and famous. Where the celebrity home is just priced way too high and ends up selling for half the price they wanted.

It's no surprise that lowball bids are more common in today's real market, it is a buyers market out there ever since the housing crisis. If anything, a buyer might not take the lowball bid but they're willing to negotiate and not just throw out your offer. 

However, if you really do like the house, as this New York Times article below states, you might want to be careful when making a low bid if you, since the seller might be offended by the offer and not want to listen to another offer you propose--not want to negotiate.

Take a look at the real estate market for the area in general, some areas are holding their value better than others.  If you're buying a condo in an area that's over built, and homes are going for the price of a condo, then make a much lower offer, that's just what the offer is dictating.

Lowball offers accepted if:

  • seller must sell (motivated by loss of job or a new job in a new state)
  • property has been on the market for a long time
  • problems with the property - needs repairs
  • property is on the verge of foreclosure

TIP:  Write out your reasoning behind making an offer much lower than the asking price; show comparable home sales for the price you're offering or list issues with the property that will cost the buyer much more than the seller anticipates.

Throughout the region, buyers of all stripes are feeling similarly empowered to bid low and keep their hopes high. The practice still fails more often than not, in that buyers are unlikely to get themselves a steal. But many sellers are swallowing hard and negotiating, because lowballing has become so common that, for better or worse, it’s part of the new norm in buying or selling a house.

This is not to say that every lowball offer is worthy of acknowledgment. Low bidders have a better chance of making headway if the house they are after has been languishing on the market or needs a lot of updating, agents say. Even then, the low offer is better off accompanied by a logical explanation, possibly with documentation.

Read more at the NY Times...

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