Is the first offer really the best offer?

Of course, this may not be true in every situation, but there are reasons why sellers should seriously consider their first offer and do their best to come to terms.  Here is why I often recommend that my sellers accept the first offer. 

Get in the buyer’s head

To understand why the first offer is usually your best opportunity to sell your home for the highest price, consider the buyer and their journey…

Buyers in the real estate market usually start by dipping their feet into the water. This may be before they even engage a real estate agent. They generally go to a few open houses, spend hours on Zillow, and start to do their homework.

From there, buyers begin to get more serious. They may start going on private, second or third showings with their agent. They are approved for a mortgage, have their funds ready and attorney selected. They’ve narrowed down their search parameters, spent months learning the market, pricing and checking the comparables.  They may have even put in offers on other homes.

These serious buyers who have been in the market for a while, waiting for the right home to come along, are most often the ones who write the first offers a seller receives on a property.  And that’s why their offers should be taken very seriously.

This buyer will want to get in and see the property ASAP. Since they’re so familiar with the market, they’ll be able to tell once they step foot inside if it will work for them, if it’s priced right, if it shows well, and if it’s in line with present or past comparable sales. If the property meets their criteria, the serious buyers make an offer within the first 30 days of listing.

Don’t hesitate to accept the first offer

But what if your home has only been on the market for a few days and an offer is received? I recently had an experience with a seller where the home was priced right and we had an offer after the first open house.  I presented the offer and the seller took a day to thoroughly review it.  The offer was strong and within a normal range for homes of that type.  But my seller was reluctant to accept it because it came in so quickly, they thought it would be the first of many. In this case another buyer did eventually come along, but it took 3 more months, and a price reduction to attract them.  In the end the home sold for $38,000 less than the first offer.  Ouch!

Bottom Line

Repeat after me, “The first offer is usually your best offer.”