Negotiating forms part of the home selling and buying process. Yet, it is one of the most dreaded parts because every word you say and every behavior you show influences the other party’s reaction. There can be a thin line between saying, “I’ll think about it today” vs. “I’ll think about it tomorrow.”
Nevertheless, the negotiating phase can take a lot of deep breathing and thinking-before-speaking. To help ease some of that fear, here’s a short guide on how to write a counter offer email to your home buyer.
When Is a Counter Offer Executed?
A counteroffer is basically a return offer given by a home seller to a home buyer in response to the buyer’s initial offer. When a home buyer sees your home and likes to purchase it, the very thing that they’ll do is give you an offer, otherwise known as a bid. In some real estate transactions, buyers and sellers bargain/discuss their offers and counteroffers verbally. However, this is only ideal when you know each other personally. The best thing to do still is to document everything on paper.
Don’t be scared, sad, or agitated when you receive an offer that’s quite below your expectations. Giving a counteroffer is normal. You should even expect the possibility that your buyer will also give a counteroffer to your counteroffer!
What Is Found In A Counter Offer?
Let’s recall what’s found inside an initial offer first. When a buyer puts in an offer, it means that they have taken a look at your property, are satisfied with what they saw, and have been informed about the conditions of the sale (e.g., selling price, payment terms, etc.). So, when writing a counteroffer, all you need to do is go through your buyer’s points one by one and comment on them one by one.
Typically, these are the elements found in an initial offer:
Buyers will always haggle the first time. This is expected, especially when real estate purchases are not cheap. You’re lucky if you can get a buyer who will explain the reason behind the lower offer. That will help you make an informed decision. In some cases, buyers just state their price, and that’s it.
Contingencies are provisions in an agreement that states that the purchase will only move forward if certain conditions are met. These contingencies may include mortgage contingency, title contingency, appraisal contingency, home sale contingency, etc. If taking out the contingency is impossible, you can also propose to change the due date.
For example, if your buyer says they’ll only purchase the house once their old house is sold, you can propose that they should be able to sell their old house within a month or two. Otherwise, the bid is forfeited, and you keep the earnest money.
Earnest Money & Deposit Money
Earnest money is an amount that symbolizes the serious intention of the buyer to purchase the house. It is to be deposited in Escrow and can be non-refundable if the buyer backs out after some time. However, you have to specify this in your counteroffer.
If you have a cash buyer, the downpayment goes to you directly. In some cases, home sellers use the downpayment to pay for title transfer, initial legal costs, etc. So try to see how much downpayment is realistic for you. If your buyer proposes a low DP, suggest another amount in your counteroffer.
How to Write a Counter Offer Email?
Remember that the provisions in your counteroffer should satisfy what you want and what your buyer wants. However, since this rarely happens in a non-ideal world, you have to look for ways wherein you both could meet halfway. You need to think of what might be amenable to the buyer and highlight them in your counteroffer.
Outside of the technical details, here’s how you can properly write a counter offer email:
Thank the Buyer First
This is letter writing 101. When writing an email, a letter, or any correspondence, start by making your buyer feel respected. A simple “Thank you for taking an interest in my home and for taking the time to visit” will already suffice.
Stick to the Points You Don’t Agree With and Explain Why
It would be best to put your points in bullet form. Avoid long paragraphs as much as possible. Start your sentences with something positive. For example, if a buyer proposes a deposit that’s 10% lower than your expected, you can say, “I understand that the amount may be based on what you can afford at the moment, but I just can’t see a way to accept that amount because …”, then proceed with “Perhaps, you can consider adding at least 3% more, payable within …”.
This also goes to say that you should state your counter offer clearly. Avoid open statements and specify details, values, percentages, and dates as much as possible.
Stay Courteous Throughout
Last but definitely not least — you should sound respectful and professional throughout your email. Stay calm even if the buyer proposes a very far-off offer. If it feels like they’re not worth your response, do your best still to write a heartfelt counter offer email. You never know, if they’ll not purchase your home, they might recommend you to their family or friends!
If you have a property in Georgia you want to sell, you can contact HomeSold GA at 770-668-4888. We can help you sell your home and deal with your buyers, so you won’t have to yourself!