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Making Purchase Offers on a Home

How Much to Offer for a Home

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figuring out how much to offer to buy a home

How much to offer depends on the information your agent gives you.

©Elizabeth Weintraub
Once a buyer has selected the right home to buy, figuring out how much to offer to buy that home can be daunting. Buyers are concerned that if they offer too little, they will risk insulting or alienating the seller. If they offer too much, they could overpay.

It's normal for a buyer to want to lean on her or his real estate agent. In these instances, buyers often expect their agent to pull a figure out of a hat and hand it to them.

Shouldn't a Realtor Tell Me How to Much to Offer?

While real estate agents can guide a buyer to choose the right number, don't expect a buyer's agent to name your price. Experienced buyer's agents will provide direction, market information and suggested price ranges, but the final price is the buyer's responsibility. Here are a few reasons why most agents will refuse to name your price:

  • Offer Was Too Low

    If your real estate agent encouraged you to submit a lowball offer, and you lost the chance to buy that home because another offer came in higher or worse, because the seller refused to respond to the offer, you will instantly point the finger of blame at your agent.

  • Offer Was Too High

    When an offer is immediately accepted, buyers often wonder if they should have made an initial offer for much less. When the agent insists on a price, and the seller signs without hesitation, buyers sometimes question whether their agent was working in the buyer's best interest or working for the agent's own commission.

  • It's Not the Agent's Purchase

    It's the buyer's decision because it will be the buyer's home. When the transaction closes, the buyer will make the mortgage payments and be responsible for maintaining the home, not the agent. Many buyers are much wiser than they give themselves credit for and are fully capable of selecting a price to offer.

  • Agents Can Get Sued

    You will undoubtedly hear from novice agents or those not engaged as a Realtor who will profess a different train of thought. That's because these people don't know any better, so don't hold their ignorance against them.

    Some regulatory and state licensing authorities advise against agents telling buyers how much to offer. The National Association of Realtors' Code of Ethics do not suggest that agents pick pricing, either. Brokers definitely advise against it. And our court case logs are filled with decisions against agents who ignored those warnings, because buyers sued them for overstepping their bounds of authority.

    Competent agents do provide enough guidance and assistance, however, to lead a buyer to choose the right offer pricing. Because regardless of what you may hear, it is always the buyers' choice. Not the agent's.

Click here for Page Two: Choosing Home Offer Pricing

At the time of writing, Elizabeth Weintraub, DRE # 00697006, is a Broker-Associate at Lyon Real Estate in Sacramento, California.

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