Southern Maryland Best Buys


Never Presume Your Offer is the Only Offer

This is so very true. While one prospective purchaser is in high speed negotiation mode, another prospective purchaser can slip through the cracks and win the bid of the day on the desired  listing. The questions in this post to ask of the listing agent are also worth utilizing in your negotiations.

Never Presume Your Offer is the Only Offer

Never Presume Your Offer is the Only OfferWhen I sit down with buyers to write an offer, I like to have all my ducks in a row. I don't leave anything to chance. I have all the necessary paperwork for signatures, I have a pre-approval letter in hand and I have the recent comparable home sales.

I call the listing agent prior to writing the offer and ask a few questions:

  1. Does your client have a preferred closing date? Is sooner or later better?
  2. Who would you like to use as your Title Company?
  3. Is price or terms more important to your client?
  4. Are there any competing offers?
  5. Have there been previous offers? If so, why did the seller decline those?

I recognize that I may not get answers to all these questions but I give it a shot anyway. You'd be surprised how many listing agents will respond to these questions.

Then I take this information to my buyer to discuss an offer. Remember, my goal is to get the house for the best price for my client. However, I never presume our offer is the only offer. Even if the agent says there are no competing offers.

Here's why:

In the last year, I have had three sellers who received offers on their homes. The first offer was a low-ball. Since I always advise sellers to counter, we did. In each case, rather than accept our counter offer, the buyers chose to come back for a second go at it. Putting the ball in our court.

While my sellers were contemplating the counter offer to our counter, a second offer came in from a different buyer. In each case, the second buyer came in with a strong offer the first time around based upon recent comparable home sales. They had done their homework, provided pre-approval letters and included all the signed documents. This made it very easy for my sellers to accept the second buyer's offer.

When the first buyers were notified that the home had been sold to another buyer, they were in disbelief. How could this happen? Why weren't we notified prior to the seller accepting another offer? We would have come up in price or provided the necessary pre-approval letter had you let us know it was needed. We did do that through our counter offer. You, however, chose to ignore that request. Instead, you countered again.

While these buyers were going back and forth with counters, a new buyer came in and walked away with the home.

The moral of the story...never presume your offer is the only offer.

Your real estate agent is there to advise you; make a reasonable offer the first time based upon comparable home sales and provide all the necessary documentation. If you do these things, chances are the house will be yours.

Tammie White, Realtor® in Franklin TN
Cell Phone: (615)495-0752

This posting and the contents written here are the intellectual property and opinions of Tammie White of Benchmark Realty LLC


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Comment balloon 5 commentsCheryl Ritchie • November 07 2013 06:45PM


Tammie/Cheryl, EXCELLENT advice!  I do the same when I work with buyers, and I'm surprised at the number of Buyer's Agents who do not - I frequently just get an offer out of the blue, and am also surprised at how few agents even call to confirm I've even received it!

I like your questions posed to the listing agent.  It's slightly more thorough that what I do now, and I plan to incorporate your more extensive list!  Thank you!

Posted by Teresa Cooper, SC Lowcountry - Charleston, Dorchester, Berkeley (Home Solution Real Estate Services) over 6 years ago

As a listing agent, I would be honored to work with Tammie you. Please ask all the questions you need to make the best offer.

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) over 6 years ago

Cheryl, thanks so much for the re-blog. It's so important for buyers to understand that anything can happen during negotiations. It's always best to come in with a strong offer right away and all the necessary documentation to win the bid and ultimately the house.

Posted by Tammie White, Broker, Franklin TN Homes for Sale (Franklin Homes Realty LLC) over 6 years ago

I have a lot of fun with this one, because it depends on the market. For the last couple of years, I always ask before sending an offer if they already have one. If they do, I try to get as much information as legally possible, and I usually end up winning the bid, because I tell my clients to pay a little more than asking price, if they really want the house. With homes appreciating more than 10 percent a year here, it won't take long to surpass whatever price they pay.

Posted by Larry Brewer - Benchmark Realty llc (Benchmark Realty LLc) over 6 years ago

Hi Cheryl,

Great post and so true. I always tell my buyers that if they really want it, they might want to sweeten the offer a little for this simple reason. Many buyers get disappointed and they always want to blame the agent afterwards.

Posted by Kristin Hamilton CA Realtor, (909) 557-6966- Specialize 55+ Communties Banning (Sun Lakes Realty) over 6 years ago