Friday, May 30, 2008

Letter to Seller Explaining Your Lowball Offer

We've discussed the
Rise of the Lowball Offer.

Now, genius Ron Lieber of The New York Times actually gives you a letter to include with your Lowball Offer, gently, politely, firmly explaining your position to the seller.

This letter has current national statistics, but you'll want to include Charlottesville's own--the thousands of properties available, the 17+ months worth of inventory, and so forth, which you can adjust according to the date you make an offer.

Dear Seller:

I’m writing to let you know that I would like to make a bid on your property. I love the area and am committed to buying a house nearby. And your home fits my needs.

But given that my offer is well below your asking price, I also feel I owe you an explanation.

First, consider the big picture. Nationwide, home prices in the first quarter of 2008 fell 14.1 percent compared with the same period a year earlier, according to the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index.

That’s the biggest decline in the 20-year history of the data. And just in case you’re wondering, during the housing downturn of the early 1990s, the decline was never worse than 2.8 percent.

Not only that, earlier this month, the National Association of Realtors pointed to the huge number of existing homes on the market. As of the end of April, the total number was 4.55 million. At the rate people are buying right now, that represents an 11.2-month supply.

So buyers have options right now. A lot of them. I’m no different. Your home is great, but it isn’t unique. Few homes are. I know this may be hard to hear, since you’ve spent years creating memories here. But you may be waiting a long time if you hope to find a buyer with the same emotional connection that you have.

My mindset is hardly unique. We’ve all been reading the headlines. The accompanying articles appear prominently in major newspapers and sit on the Web pages where people check their e-mail every day. Everyone sees them, and the psychological impact is real.

Has your real estate agent laid any of this out for you? Maybe so, and you didn’t want to believe it. But it’s also possible that your agent, afraid of offending you and losing the listing, simply doesn’t want to initiate that sort of discussion. It may be worth sitting down for a candid reassessment.

It will be tempting to view my low bid as an insult. Please don’t make that mistake. Your home is genuinely appealing, and I wouldn’t have written this note unless I was serious about buying it. Getting a firm offer in this market is an accomplishment. So congratulations!

Oh, and one more thing. You presumably need someplace to move. My guess is that you’ll find these same points compelling when it’s your turn to buy. You just might succeed in buying for a better price, too.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Yours Truly,

The Realist

To read the entire article, including a possible response from the Seller, click here.


ownerfinancedloans said...

A low-ball offer is a term used to describe an offer on a house that is substantially less than the asking price.

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Anonymous said...

wow that letter sounded very insulting to the seller's intelligence. If I received this, I would reject your offer just because you were an a$$

Real C'ville - The Bubble Blog said...

Then you would be responding to a business proposition using emotion, instead of reason. Your choice. Emotion in business decisions typically leads to poor outcomes. The people who have called the author of the letter, Ron Lieber, an "a$$," btw, have not typically done so because of his business advice, LOL.

Foreclosures said...

Ive heard this, but happy to finally have a decent understanding of them. Thanks for sharing.