Boston area home buying tips often remind us that looking for a house is like sampling a buffet of delicious food. Many of them look great, but aren’t good for you. And some you like and want the most just simply don’t agree with you. That can be disappointing, because we all want the foods we love to “love us back.” All joking aside, the home shopping process can hold many of the same disappointments. Let’s examine what you should do when you find a home you want to buy, but the seller doesn’t accept your offer.
Boston Area Home Buying – Coping With Loss
You’ve looked at dozens of homes in your price range and in the neighborhoods where you want to live. You’ve finally found the one you want to buy, worked with your real estate agent to make the best possible offer and are waiting for the seller’s response. After a sleepless weekend your agent calls and gives you the bad news – the seller has rejected the offer.
So now what? Where do you go from here? What should you do – or not do?
Contrary to what some people think, there’s no law – written or implied – that a seller has to accept any offer, regardless of the amount. Until the sales contract is signed and the conditions are met by both parties, there’s no binding legal obligation.
Consider these three Boston area home buying tips on what to do when a seller refuses your offer.
Don’t spend time trying to analyze the seller.
It’s human nature for us to question any type of rejection, because it hurts our feelings. However, dwelling on the potential reasons the seller turned down your offer to buy their home is usually a waste of time and energy. For those of you that participated in team sports competition, it’s similar to obsessing on the “what ifs” and “shoulda, coulda and woulda’s” after suffering a loss. Rarely is there one clear, concise reason.
You could spend endless hours analyzing comparable sales data, property tax records and other market indicators. In addition, you could then intertwine that data with information you or your agent received from the seller’s agent about their reasoning, their situation or their motivations. But remember these three, simple words: Don’t do it. Just like trying to figure out why your team lost the big game, trying to understand the seller won’t accomplish much. While there’s nothing wrong with learning from your mistakes, often a seller’s rejection has little to do with anything you did or didn’t do. Worrying about it steals valuable time from searching for the next home you may love even more than “the one that got away.”
Make your best offer.
Perhaps your initial offer, though well thought out and fair, wasn’t the maximum you can afford or qualify for. Many Boston area home buying tips recommend holding back a little to allow some room to negotiate. A seller who hasn’t responded favorably to your – or other – offers so far, may not actually be all that motivated to sell. Maybe they’re having second thoughts. Maybe their situation has changed. Perhaps they need more time. Whatever the reason, the bottom line is they didn’t accept your offer and, as mentioned earlier, just because you want to buy their home doesn’t mean they have to say yes to the deal.
If the seller doesn’t respond, or if they make a less than attractive counteroffer, don’t waste time or mince words. Be direct, prompt and make your maximum offer in writing as soon as possible. After that, if there’s no positive response, continue the home-shopping process. It’s obvious you’ve done all you can do and, for whatever reason, the seller feels it’s not enough. To echo the newly-coined cliche’, “Move along, there’s nothing to see here.”
Get over it.
Buying a home can be an emotional experience. As such, it’s common for a prospective home buyer – especially a first-timer – to dwell on what might have been and find it difficult to move on. When this occurs, one of our Boston area home buying tips is to chalk it up to experience and file it under “lessons learned.” In the words of the immensely popular song from the motion picture “Frozen”, “Let it go.” One real estate agent who’s witnessed and endured her share of disappointment from clients says, “Every minute you spend dwelling on your missed opportunity is a minute that delays you from enjoying the next exciting find.” In other words, there are plenty of proverbial fish – bigger and better ones – in the sea.
Use the rejection experience to your advantage for the next offer. Chances are, that experience and the pains of rejection and disappointment will make you smarter and better prepared for making an offer or negotiating on a home that will probably make you forget the previous one completely.
Remember, time has a way of helping us through these and other losses. And while some losses in life are substantially more important than others, don’t be surprised if you look back and realize these tips were timely. Many a home buyer has experienced the feeling of satisfaction in looking back at the home they “simply had to have” only to be happier with the one they ended up buying. The moral of this home buying story is no matter how strongly you believe this house was meant for you, there are always other great houses that may be an even better fit.
It’s what makes home shopping exciting, exhilarating and fun. You never know what’s waiting for you. Like that delicious buffet we mentioned earlier, there are many choices. The key is to find the one that brings you the most personal satisfaction and enjoyment.
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