The Best Times to Make a Lowball Offer on a House

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for sale signage in front of a medium-sized white house

It’s no secret that houses don’t come cheap. If you do the math, a home is most likely the most expensive purchase you’ll ever make, considering that you’re paying off not just the mortgage but also the utilities, lawn maintenance, repairs now and then, and a lot more.

That’s why every smart home buyer has one thing in mind from the very start, right at the purchase: save money as much as possible. And no, they’re not just doing the habit of allotting a certain amount every month or taming credit card swiping and shopping urges. They’re taking the risk many homebuyers don’t do: making an offer below the seller’s asking price.

Yes, it’s a no-no in most situations, but in the following instances, it’s worth taking the plunge.

When the seller wants to be out of the market fast

Some sellers simply want their properties to be taken off their hands. They could be moving to a new state for a job reassignment. Or, they have to move in with their elderly relatives to be caregivers. This type of seller won’t wait for the highest bidder.

Of course, it’s hard to know what the seller’s real motives are, but with a bit of good behavior and nice rapport building, you may get the inside scoop that you need. Befriend the seller or their agent. Remember etiquette when showing up in viewings. This would mean showing up on time, asking permission when taking pictures, and as much as possible, keeping your visiting crew minimal (read: leave your kids with their babysitter). The bottom line is, get to the bottom of the seller’s “whys” and befriend them.

When the house is simply overpriced

There are properties whose price tags are justified, but then there are also those that are jacked up only because of the seller’s perceived value of the home (a.k.a. the sentimental value).

The only way to know if the price is indeed right and make a good offer is to look for relatively similar homes in the neighborhood, check out how much they cost, and compare the prices. If the difference is too wide, you can include this in your reasons for making the lowball offer. Just a word of caution here though: you don’t want to be too below the asking price.

Sellers pull up the price of the property because of their emotional attachment to the house. If you make an offer that’s too low, the seller could interpret it as you trashing their treasured memories. Work with your agent in just how much you’re going to go low. While you’re at it, consider today’s mortgage rates in Salt Lake City that suit your budget.

When the house has been in and out of the market

a house miniature with two people discussing documents at the back

This might mean that the property had a string of interested buyers in the past, who unfortunately had backed out of the deal. This can drive the seller into a point of frustration—think about the tedious listing, endless viewings, biddings and paperwork, and then have a buyer pull out from the transaction.

There’s a high chance that this seller then is willing to accept any offer, including your low offer. Be on the lookout for homes that have been in and out of the market. But be on guard as well since a home that’s going on and off may also indicate a seller that hasn’t completely decided yet if they do want to sell.

If you want to save some cash, make the low offer. But do it smartly. Be especially discerning to unique situations in your journey. All the best!

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