Brenda Kellen: Advice for home sellers " how to respond to an offer
March 21, 2008
Q. As a seller, how do I know when to counter or reject an offer?
A. In my opinion, the only time a seller should reject is in a multiple offer situation. A rejection stops the negotiations immediately, thwarting what might be a successful sale.
Getting an offer is reason for excitement; a buyer liked your property enough to put the time and effort into writing an offer. I believe it is the seller’s responsibility to complete a net proceeds worksheet – this document is the best way to understand how much money a seller will have after the costs to sell the property have been calculated.
When writing a counter offer, take the time to address each item of concern – possibly price, closing date, inclusions, exclusions, cost for appraisal or survey, buyer’s closing costs and additional provisions.
Sometimes sellers are offended by a buyer’s initial offer and, although I can understand the emotional reaction, the facts of the offer are more important than hurt feelings. After taking time to review the facts of the buyer’s offer, reference your sellers net proceeds worksheet and prepare a counter offer to the buyer based on these figures. People are really unpredictable and a buyer who “low-balls” may be a zealous negotiator, but a ready, willing and able buyer just the same.
If the terms are so unrealistic, it will be tempting to take the easy way out and not respond, but this stalemate technique is not a benefit to buyer or seller. Take a deep breath and respond logically. A buyer who did not even seem to be a contender may pleasantly surprise you.
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Q. I have been hearing about FHA increasing maximum loan amounts but I don’t know what this means?
A. FHA is not a lender; they just guarantee your loan. The FHA maximum loan amount is now $356,250. This is great news for buyers since the price point for many owner-occupied one family homes will now qualify for FHA financing.
This type of program is excellent for first time homebuyers. It requires a minimal down payment, which immediately increases the buyers equity in the property. FHA is also forgiving on lower credit scores, opening the doors again for buyers who may have been candidates for sub-prime loans but were struggling to find a loan program available at an acceptable interest rate.
If you are purchasing a property that will qualify for FHA financing, it is well worth the time to see what the loan program has to offer. The goal of increasing the limit is to stimulate the housing slow down in many markets.