Updated: Jan 7
Anyone that lists a home for sale is anxiously awaiting the highest and best offer. However, it can be difficult to determine whether or not the first offer you receive is the best offer. Many people decide to forgo the initial offer in hopes that a better offer will come along later. While this can sometimes be a good strategy, it is not always a foolproof plan. You do not want to outright reject a good offer just because it comes in shortly after you list the house for sale. Keep in mind that there are some situations in which it is a good idea to accept the first offer.
#1 Time to Accept the First Offer: It comes in immediately
Prospective home buyers tend to go through several phases. They start out casually browsing properties, maybe stopping by a few open houses. Then they become more serious, talking to real estate agents, getting mortgage pre-approval, and scheduling a second or third showing of a home. At this point, they know what they are looking for and they are ready to start putting in offers. They are constantly checking new out new listings in their preferred areas and price range. They might even put in a few offers on their favorite listings.
When you first list your home, these are the buyers that will take an immediate interest in it. They know whether or not it is priced fairly and they know if it meets their criteria. If you receive an offer shortly after listing your home, it probably comes from this type of buyer. These buyers are serious and the offer is likely to be a good one. You should seriously consider the possibility that this offer is the real deal.
#2 Reason to Accept the First Offer: It comes from a serious buyer
In other cases, your home might be on the market for a month or two before you get an offer. If your home sits for a couple of months and then you receive an offer that is lower than the asking price, you might want to take a second look at the offer. This might be a low offer that should be rejected, but it could also be a sign that your home is overpriced.
Some serious buyers will sit back and wait, watching your home and the offers that come in on it. If you get a low offer from a serious buyer, you should step back and try to decide if it is really as low as it seems. If the buyer is working with an experienced local agent, they have a pre-approval letter, and they have been looking at homes in the area for several months, they might have a good idea of your home’s true market value. Do not reject their offer outright just because it is lower than the offer you hoped to receive.