Short answer: absolutely. It’s okay to offer whatever price you want to offer when looking to buy a home. That doesn’t always mean the seller’s going to take you seriously if you, though. And we can’t promise that your real estate agent won’t be irritated with you for wasting their time and yours if you offer is too low and gets ignored. But yes, there are times when it’s absolutely okay to make an offer that’s below listing price…within reason.
The Home is Obviously Overpriced
When the time comes to make an offer on a home, your Realtor® will help you out by researching the comps in the area to make sure the asking price is on point. If a comparative market analysis comes in way under the listing price, you’re completely entitled to offer a more appropriate price for the house. Chances are the seller’s agent knows the home is overpriced, but the seller just won’t budge. It happens. And when it does, that overpriced house will sit on the market for a while. Your “lowball” offer will be more far more attractive to the seller than no offers at all.
The Seller Needs to Sell
Sometimes sellers can’t wait for that perfect offer to come along. They might have to sell quickly to move away for a new job; they might have lost a job and need to get out from under their mortgage; or they might have already bought another home and need to get rid of the old one pronto. Every seller has his or her own motivations and requirements for selling. If you can find out what those motivations are, it will make negotiating that much easier.
The House Has Been on the Market for a While
If a house has been languishing with a For Sale sign out front for a while now, or it’s come off and back on the market a few times in the last year, the seller may be looking to make a deal. A little research will tell you the exact number of days it’s been on the market. Have your agent do a little digging to see if there’s been any other interest in the house. If the sellers have been waiting around with no offers, they’ll probably be more than happy to see yours, even if it’s a little below asking price.
The House or Property Needs a Lot of Work
Fixing up a house that’s outdated or in an ill state of repair can take a lot of time, money, and effort. The listing price should reflect the amount of work a house needs. If it doesn’t, feel free to do the math and come up with an offer that reflects that amount of work. Now, we’re not talking about minor repairs or simple cosmetics here, like painting or merely ripping up the fairly new carpet because you prefer hardwoods. We’re talking seriously out of date homes or properties that aren’t liveable until certain repairs are made. If a house needs a new HVAC system or an entire new roof, for example, the listing price should reflect those repairs.