What to do if you get an early offer

Peter O'Malley

When you first list your property, your greatest desire is also your greatest fear – it’s the early offer. Here's what you should do next. 

Blogger: Peter O'Malley, author, Real Estate Uncovered 

Waiting for the agent to provide feedback after the first inspection is a nerve-racking time. Is the home presented correctly? Is the pricing strategy in line with the market? Will people like it?

If the response to those questions is favourable and a buyer makes an early offer, suddenly the nervous energy shifts. Is it too quick? How long should it stay on the market? It's only early, we are in no rush.

Many sellers have learnt that when you list your property in the digital age, the buyers are coming, ready or not. The internet has caused real estate marketing to become close to instant. Within days of it being listed online, literally thousands of potential buyers have run their eye over it.

In most campaigns, 75 per cent of the enquiries and inspections will occur in the first 21 days. If you decline the highest offer that comes from this period, you are essentially working in the belief that the best buyer will be in the 25 per cent that enquire and inspect after day 21 of the campaign. In fairness, that could well be the case, too.

It’s imperative that you know the probability you are relying on when you decline an early offer, though. As a general rule, it’s safe to decline an early offer if it does not meet your or the agent's price expectations. However, declining a strong offer just because it’s early in the campaign can and often does backfire.

Even in the strong market of the past two years, nearly 30 per cent of auction sales have been made before the big day. This is because the best buyers turn up early, bid strongly and move on if their offer is declined.

In putting a case forward as to why the early offer should be judged on the price rather than the timing of the offer, there is one aspect that cannot be written about. That aspect is context. Every sale has a different dynamic. Knowing the rules of poker is different to being able to play poker.

Ensuring the early offer is played to the seller’s best advantage is best judged in context. A skilled agent who can actually negotiate will ensure the best decision is made in the client’s interests.

An early offer, from the seller’s perspective, is often made after months of arduous searching on the buyer’s behalf. This disconnect in timing is where many campaigns derail because the best buyer is sent packing.

The buyers are coming, ready or not, once you go on market and online.



What to do if you get an early offer
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