Negotiating and accepting the offer

Once you receive an offer on your home, your work is not done. It’s time to be strategic about negotiating and accepting an offer.

As the seller, you may feel relieved when you receive the first offer on your home. However, there is still a lot at stake. You’ll have several big decisions left to make and a short period of time in which to act.

That’s why it’s important to do your homework ahead of time.

Once you have an offer in hand, you'll know the buyer's offer price and terms and conditions — including a closing date, provisions for certain fees, contingencies and your deadline to respond. You now have three options:

  1. Accept the offer “as is” and bind the contract.

  2. Negotiate with the buyer via a counter offer.

  3. Reject the offer and move on.

Navigating negotiations

You may decide to counter the buyer’s initial offer. This is common, and typically occurs because the seller asks for a higher sales price or to adjust the closing date. However, you should allow your real estate agent to guide you through any negotiations. Their experience and knowledge of your local market conditions and personal and financial goals are valuable.

If you opt to negotiate, your agent will submit a counteroffer to the buyer’s agent, detailing your requested changes. This puts the buyer in the driver’s seat, meaning they can now accept, counter or reject and move on (which is the risk associated with negotiating). In most cases, the back and forth between you and the buyer should last about one to three days, but it’s not uncommon for it to take longer.

Though you want the best price for your home, the buyer wants the best deal. Sometimes to finalize the transaction, you may need to meet closer to the middle. This is why it’s important for you to know your ultimate goal early in the process.

Closing your loan