Low Ball Offer

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Submitted by Anonymous on April 10, 2007 - 7:06pm

Need some advice on an offer:)

I am planning to make an offer on a home in the Midwest that has been on the market for 8 months. 3 recent price reductions from 275 to 265 to 259. Owners need to move, waiting to sell this house to buy a newer, smaller home. Possible divorce, and the listing expires in 5 days soo the selling realtor is in a hurry as well.

Even though it has not sold, I have looked at everything out there and the market is somewhat stable. Similar homes are going for 290-325, and I am convinced that this one could be a deal at the right price. Without going into to every detail, what would be considered a 'low ball' offer? It is listed for 259, and under the circumstances would 240 sound right as a starting offer? They paid 215 in 1999 and have some equity...

Submitted by barnaby33 on April 10, 2007 - 7:26pm.

Without going into details, nobody can help you. Its all about context. I am going out on a limb here, but the mid-west covers alot of area.


Submitted by Cow_tipping on April 10, 2007 - 7:50pm.

Midwest is toast. The industrial base of america has moved to china, 215 was high in 99 and 240 is insane now.
Detroit is repeating itself in several towns. I'd start at 200. But give them your hardship story and not tell them they are idiots. However ... buying another house in that town ... they'd hardly deny that.

Submitted by sdjdguy on April 10, 2007 - 7:55pm.

It's very, very difficult to give you an intelligent suggestion without knowing more about the local market. The previous commenter said that $240K is "insane." There's no way to know that if you don't know the city. $240K in Chicago would be a steal. Either way, it's fairly surprising to me that, anywhere in the country, you could hope to pick up this house for barely above what the sellers paid eight years ago. You could offer $240K, but if you truly believe it's a steal at, say, $249K, and that they probably won't go below that number anyway, why not just save all the back and forth, offer $249K and ask for whatever else you want, and tell the realtor that your offer is firm and either they take it or leave it?

Submitted by juice (not verified) on April 10, 2007 - 8:38pm.

I understand and should have provided more info! This is a university town with a strong engineering program. Also many federal govt. workers here. Population 75k. Overall, it is a stable market due to the fact that most people work for the feds or for the university in professional jobs. SFR for sale inventory is the same as this time last year, and prices declined 3% in 2006. This home is in the nicest neighborhood in town, and there are currently no other comparable homes priced less. I would say that the market is soft, but homes are selling as evidenced by pendings and solds I have seen. At the same time, there are homes like this one that have not sold. Anyway, thanks for the advice and I realize that even with this new info it will be difficult to say much else. I might offer 245k, 5% off of the current list price...

Submitted by sdrealtor on April 10, 2007 - 8:48pm.

At 215K figure its gonna cost them about 20K to sell it and move. I'd guess that is probably their threshold of real serious pain is about $240K.

Submitted by juice (not verified) on April 10, 2007 - 8:54pm.

This home is 8 years old, but up the road the same layout w/comparable options, 1 year old, is for sale for 299k. Listed for 9 months unsold.

Submitted by Bugs on April 10, 2007 - 9:04pm.

If the property has already been on the market starting at $275k then that price has been well tested in the market and has apparently been found wanting. I'd venture to say the real comps for this house probably aren't the $290k sales you are referring to.

If the market value in 1999 was $215k and the current list on this house is $260k that represents an annual increase of ~3%, just slightly ahead of the annual rate of inflation. This is definitely not indicative of what we would call a bubble market. I don't think you have to worry about this property losing a ton of value over the next few years.

That is, beyond whatever local economic conditions could occur to decimate local employment. Is this a town that's overly dependent on one or two companies in a manufacturing industry? If not then it almost doesn't matter whether you offer $240k or $260k. The spread between them is only 8%; that's practically within a reasonable margin of error.

Submitted by sdrealtor on April 10, 2007 - 9:34pm.

Thanks for saying what I wanted to but didnt because I figured I'd get crucified for it.

If its a house you love and where you want to raise your family how much of a difference is 10K to 20K going to make in your life. My guess is not as much as buying the wrong the wrong house is the wrong neighborhood. If you really want it, come in where ever you may but dont lose it over a several thousand dollars. SOmethings are more improtant than money and from what I remember about your story, you'll be fine what ever you pay.

Submitted by sdjdguy on April 10, 2007 - 9:51pm.

From what you've said, I agree that if you really like the house, and you're buying in a non-bubble market, you should go ahead and offer a little more than rock bottom and just get the house. If you plan to stay in it, a few thousand dollars over a long period of time is less important than choosing a house you and your family will be really happy in. Many of the people on this board look at housing solely from a financial standpoint. You've been prudent financially and selected a non-bubble city. Having done that, and chosen a great neighborhood, you're now in the position to just go ahead and pull the trigger. If you really love the house and really want it, you should just go for it and let us know how it turns out.

Submitted by juice (not verified) on April 10, 2007 - 9:59pm.

Thanks guys (and gals) for the advice. I'm starting a new federal job and am not sure how long we will stay here, so I also want to protect my downside in case I have to sell in 1-2 years for a promotion, or to go buy a home in San Diego after prices fall 40%:) Yesterday, I decided to just use a realtor instead of going it alone and I am convinced that it was a good move in this market. It is listed through my realtor's agency, and today she recommended twice that I offer 250k. IMO she talked to the listing realtor and came up with that figure. A solid offer at 245k should get me the deal if I stay firm. The listing expires in 4 days, the seller's realtor is representing them on their next purchase, and given the history they really want to sell.

Last question: What is the best route for pre-qualification and finding a good loan? Online sites like lendingtree, or a local broker/company? Will I save $ if I use the web?

Submitted by sdrealtor on April 10, 2007 - 10:13pm.

DON'T use lendingtree or an online shopping service like that! They could run your credit several dozen times and potentially damage your FICO scores. Have your realtor recommend a good local lender (not them!) and make sure to get a quote from a direct lender as well as a broker that will rate shop for you.

Submitted by juice (not verified) on April 10, 2007 - 10:22pm.

Thanks! Also forgot to ask a realtor related question. If the listing expires and in 2 weeks I went FSBO with this owner, I assume that he will still owe commission to his realtor even though it is expired, right? How long after a listing is cancelled does a seller still owe commission to a realtor who brought someone though the house?

Submitted by Raybyrnes on April 10, 2007 - 10:32pm.

DON'T use lendingtree or an online shopping service like that! They could run your credit several dozen times and potentially damage your FICO scores.

I am not going to comment on lending tree becasue I have never used them. My understaning of credit is that you have free rain to shop for credit provided you are doing it within a 2 week period of time. That means I can go to 10 different dealerships and have each run my credit and the crediting agencies will recognize this as 1 item of credit that I am searching for. I would think this would hold true for mortgages aswell. If lendingt tree is going to send my credit out to be run let them do so provided it is done within that 2 week period

A more detrimental scenario would be having my credit run 1 a month jsut to see what I can get. This on the other hand would have an adverse effect on my credit.

Submitted by sdrealtor on April 10, 2007 - 10:46pm.

Thats the problem with lendingtree. You have no control and your app can end up lots of places.

Submitted by Cow_tipping on April 11, 2007 - 7:47am.

I bought in a non bubble market in 2003. I thought I got a great deal. I see houses comming up for 2-3 times what I paid for similar size right in my neighborhood. Charlotte NC is where I live and the situation here is similar to what he described, only bigger. Big University - UNCC, 2 big banks, and there are houses on my street that are listed at 8-10% more than their purchase price, and they are not selling.
There is down side, especially is there is new construction which he has indicated there is. The problem with the steady employment situation is, there isn't likely to be an upsurge which will cause things to sell and create a move up market. What they paid is irrelevant, what they owe is irrelevant, the fact that they are moving to a new house is indicative of the fact that there is supply, when demand is static. I can show you plenty of houses in charlotte where from 96 to 2002 the owners lost $$ and lost a good bit. 02 to now, I am assuming is flat, and in cases of some builders they are blowing a nice huge bubble. When it pops I presume it will blow up the whole city for a few years.

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