Determining the best price when making an offer on a house is the most important step.

So, you’re selling your home, and you’ve done the due diligence to price it right compared to similar homes on the market in your area. Smart sellers know the asking price isn’t always the price they’re going to get for the home. Many sellers dream of prospective buyers getting in a bidding war and driving the sale price higher than the asking price, and while that sometimes happens, savvy sellers need to know when a lower offer may be the best offer.


When should you consider accepting less? Price isn’t everything; it’s better to accept a lower offer from a qualified buyer than a higher price from someone who won’t be able to close and will end up wasting your time. Consider these factors when weighing your decision to accept an offer:

Look at the terms. According to The Washington Post, you should search for an offer with the lowest potential for complications. For example, if a buyer has paid for an inspection and offers less money, they’ll be less likely to request additional repairs down the road. A low purchase offer might also make sense if it’s packaged with reasonable contingencies, a closing date meeting your exact needs and a buyer who’s preapproved for a mortgage.

Consider the timing. If your home has been on the market for less than a week, it could be wise to wait for more offers. But if your house has been on sale for a few months, you should closely evaluate every offer you receive. You should counter a low offer with a more acceptable price, but first consider the housing market in your area. Are prices rising or declining? Are you near the end of the busy home-selling season? Chances are, your showings will start to slow down, and you might want to take advantage of any offer.

Ask the buyer about their reasoning. If the buyer making an offer on a house hasn’t backed up their price with reasoning, ask them how they arrived at their offer. Sometimes, they may know more than you and can present solid evidence that your price is too high. If this is the case, you’ll have to drop the price eventually, and a bird in the hand is valuable. If the buyer says the price is all they can afford, you might be better off waiting for another offer.

Be objective. If you’re selling a home where you’ve lived and you’ve loved it, sometimes emotions can get in the way. Have an objective third party take a look or assess some things you think are great selling points from the standpoint of a prospective buyer. You may have spent a good deal of money at some point on light fixtures or tile or a kitchen makeover that you still love, but to others those things may be outdated and not worth extra money. A do-it-yourself project that has worked just fine for you may not present the quality of a professional job to a buyer. These things may actually represent extra money the buyer will need to spend after purchasing the home.

Always keep in mind that an offer, even a low one, shows that someone is interested in purchasing your home. Stay objective and keep your emotions in check during the process and handle the sale like a typical transaction. Then you’ll be well on your way to buying or selling your home for the perfect price.