5 Negotiation Tactics Sure to Doom a Home Offer

Are you house hunting? When it’s time to negotiate the home offer, some buyers think they’re playing hardball, but in reality, they’re just setting up their offer to be rejected. Below are 5 negotiation tactics that are doomed to fail. Keep them in mind when it comes time to make your offer.

1. Lowballing

A buyer’s first instinct may be to see how low they can go, but more often than not, a lowball offer will just offend the seller. As a result, they may choose not to counter or come off the listing price, because they feel the buyer is being unreasonable. Unless the buyer feels that the home is overpriced and has comparable properties to back up those claims, they should stick close to the listing price when making an offer.

2. Asking for Everything Not Screwed Down

In North Carolina, personal property can convey with the home at no added value or charge above the fair market value of the home. In other words, buyers can’t purchase a dining room table and pay the sellers through the offer. It would have to be a completely different transaction that they handle personally. Buyers can, however, ask for personal property to stay with the home at no added value as part of the offer. When this happens, it’s usually a refrigerator, freezer, washer, dryer, sound system, or something else that fits well with the home. Sometimes buyers try to get ahead by including a long list of personal property in their offer – dining room sets, bedroom sets, pool tables, etc. This is sure to get the offer rejected. Buyers should only include items that they really want and that make sense to stay with the home.

3. Going Silent

One interesting tactic used by a few buyers is going silent once they receive a counter offer. They don’t respond back for a few days thinking that it will make the sellers believe the offer is about to fall through and scare them into reconsidering their terms. However, it usually backfires. The sellers instead assume that the buyers will be difficult to work with and may not be worth the time or effort. Keeping communication flowing is always the best way to come to a mutually beneficial agreement.

4. Renegotiating Cosmetic Work

When an offer on a property is submitted, it’s assumed that the buyers have taken a thorough look at the home and are basing their offer on what they saw. That includes the cracked tile, peeling wallpaper, and deck that needs stain. Some buyers will try to include cosmetic repairs during the negotiations that happen after a home has been inspected. These negotiations are for issues that the home inspector uncovers, not ones that can be seen during a showing of the home. If it’s a cheap repair that is related to something that the home inspector has found and won’t take much to repair along with the other issue, it may not be totally out of line to request it be fixed, but the major rule of thumb is to consider cosmetics when making the initial offer and focus on system issues after the inspection.

5. Contacting the Seller Directly

It happens. A buyer decides that the real estate brokers are just getting in the way, so they attempt to contact the seller directly to hash out the details of the offer. This is a big no-no. Even if the buyer and seller know each other, the seller hired a real estate agent to represent them in negotiations. While they may feel comfortable discussing features of the home, they may not feel the same about anything involving money. Attempting to contact the seller directly could lead to alienation, which makes negotiations much more difficult. If a buyer feels their terms are not being presented in the best way possible, they can go to the manager of the listing brokerage, because technically it’s their listing, not the listing agent’s.


The purpose of negotiating a home offer is to come to an agreement that will benefit both parties. Having clear and factual communication is the best way to do that. Emotion should be removed from the equation. It’s also important to keep in mind that everyone involved has the same goal: to get to the closing table.

Ready to buy in the Wilmington area? We can help! Give us a call at (910) 202-2546 or send us a message through our contact page.

5 Negotiation Tactics Sure to Doom a Home Offer

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About the Author
Meghan Henderson
Meghan is the Marketing Specialist for The Cameron Team and a published author of two young adult books. She also creates digital and printable planners and trackers, as well as coloring pages for Larkspur & Tea.