9 Questions to Help Evaluate a Buyer Offer

By

As you analyze any purchase offer and how/when you’ll respond, the most important step is to determine whether the buyer can fulfill the terms of the contract with financing. Request that the buyer provide a letter from a lender stating that they are pre-qualified, or better yet pre-approved, for a loan.

Once you are assured that the offer is legitimate, build your decision process around these considerations:

• How close is the offer is to your asking price?
• Do you have other offers?
• Can you wait for more offers to come in?
• How will you handle it if no other offers come in after a particular deadline?
• How large is the earnest money deposit that accompanied the offer? (You should expect at least 1 percent.)
• Do you believe your home will appraise for the contract price?
• Has the buyer asked for assistance with closing costs?
• Has the buyer asked you to make repairs or to give a credit for home improvements?
• Is the requested settlement date appropriate for your needs?

You’ll need to balance the answers against your motivation to sell sooner rather than later and your confidence that other offers are forthcoming as you formulate a response. If you’ve thoroughly considered and decided upon your own priorities, you’re equipped as you enter negotiations to offer things you don’t want that much but that might be of greater value to your buyer. That can help develop trust with the buyer and go a long way toward making negotiations go smoothly.