Home sellers often receive purchase offers that fall short of their expectations. To formally modify specific sale terms, send a buyer or buyer's agent a counteroffer. A counteroffer lets a buyer know you're willing to negotiate, while giving you an out should a more attractive bid come along. Realtor.com advises working quickly and counteroffering all interested buyers to improve your chances of coming to a mutual agreement.
Step 1: Enlist Professionals to Draft the Document
Instruct your real estate agent or a real estate attorney to write a counteroffer on a state-specific, legal counteroffer document. An attorney or agent can make suggestions and advise you on how to negotiate the terms of a purchase offer while clearly convey the terms of your counteroffer in writing.
To keep the selling process impersonal and prevent emotional decision making, avoid direct negotiations with a buyer or buyer's agent.
Step 2: Pinpoint Sale Terms to Change
Review the offer carefully and address only the parts that you don't agree to on the counteroffer. If the offer is written on a state-specific purchase agreement or offer document, you're more likely to comply with most of the offer terms, as these forms include typical or customary terms and conditions for home sales in your housing market. Sign and date the counteroffer and indicate an expiration date for the counteroffer, if pressed for time.
Avoid focusing only on sale price, as other terms in the offer can affect your bottom line or the offer's desirability. Pay attention to closing time frames, the buyer's financial capacity to buy the home and any closing-cost credits or concessions the buyer has proposed.
Step 3: Send the Counteroffer
Submit your counteroffer to the buyer promptly, preferably through your agents. During the counteroffering stage, you can review other offers, counteroffer multiple buyers and even accept another offer.
Step 4: Accept, Reject or Counter Again
Review the buyer's response to your counteroffer. A buyer can:
- Accept your counteroffer by signing and delivering it to you within a specified time frame
- Counteroffer your counter, further extending the negotiations
- Reject your counter by refusing to sign your counteroffer or counter you back. A buyer also can formally retract her initial offer in writing, ending negotiations.
Acknowledge the buyer's acceptance of your counteroffer by signing off on the counter document or the purchase offer to create a binding sale contract. Your agent can advise you on the customary method of acceptance in your area.
You generally can't accept another offer after signing off on a buyer's acceptance of your counteroffer, as this creates a binding contract.