First offer, best offer

I have a buyer who went under contract tonight.

Six months ago, he made an offer on the same property. It had just gone on the market, and he offered $10,000 under their asking price, in cash. In negotiations, he came up to $5000 under asking price. They said "no" because they wanted their full asking price.

Now, six months later it was still on the market, so we came back to them with our original offer, 10K under asking, take it or leave it. No negotiating. And they took it.

In other words, they could've sold it to us for $5000 more six months ago, and saved themselves six months worth of holding costs. (The property has been vacant this whole time.)

There's a saying in real estate "First offer, best offer." It doesn't mean that you have to roll over and take the first offer that comes along, no matter how low or ridiculous. It DOES mean that it's a good idea to take your first offer very, very seriously, because it does tend to represent the best opportunity to sell the property. These sellers were lucky -- we came back and repeated their first offer six months later. I've seen far too many people (not my clients, fortunately) turn down their first offers cold, make no effort to negotiate and/or show no willingness to come off their full asking price. Then, six months or a year later, they wind up selling for a lot less than their initial offer.

A lot of times, if a lowball offer comes in, sellers are offended. "Insult my house, insult me." That's usually not the case. People are reading that it's a "buyer's market", so they're coming in expecting unrealistic deals. I've seen more than one such lowball turn into a closed transaction, at a much higher price than the initial offer.

Take your first offer seriously.