Should You Accept the First Offer on Your Home?

When it comes to real estate transactions, sellers may often hold out for a better offer and might not necessarily take the first offer too seriously. They’ll often hold out in hopes of something bigger and better coming along.

Not only that, but it’s also common practice for buyers and sellers to barter with one another and participate in a little back-and-forth negotiating. For sellers, it’s expected that the first offer that comes in will be open for a counter offer. After all, getting the highest price on a home sale is the ultimate goal.

But are there ever times when it’s wise to take the first offer given? Do all real estate deals necessarily have to involve tossing the first offer or countering offers, or is it OK for sellers to take the first offer on their home? Further, should sellers even entertain the first buyer that shows interest? Or should they wait to see if there’s something better out there?

Here are a few situations where taking the first offer might be something to consider.

You’re Motivated to Move

If time is of the essence and you need to move sooner rather than later, then that first offer might be one to take seriously. Whether you need to move because you’ve been relocated to another city for work, or the kids are starting school soon, or the closing date on your new home is coming up, you might have a very good reason to want to move sooner rather than later. And that may entail taking the first offer that’s given to you.

Of course, you don’t want to settle for a sub-par offer. You’ll certainly want to assess the offer – as well as any others you may get – and make sure everything is satisfactory. The offer price, closing date, deposit amount, and contingencies all play a role in the strength of an offer. That said, taking too long to accept an offer can put a huge stress on you and your finances.

The First Offer is Solid

Before you finalize your listing, identify what type of offer would be deemed an attractive one, That way when you do get an offer, you’ll be able to better assess whether or not it’s worthy of acceptance.

Weigh the offer against the initial criteria you established with your real estate agent. If that first offer meets – and even exceeds – these standards, there’s little reason why you shouldn’t grab it and seal the deal.

Your Home Has Been Sitting on the Market For a While

As mentioned earlier, a listing that sits on the market for too long will become stale. And a stale listing doesn’t fare too well among buyers. Instead, buyers will start to think that there’s something potentially wrong with the property. After all, why else would a home sit on the market so much longer than other comparable properties?

The best time to stir up interest in your listing is right out of the gates within the first week or two after the listing goes live. It gets increasingly more difficult to generate interest a few weeks after a listing initially goes up on the market.

If you get a decent offer within the early days of listing your home, you might want to seriously consider it. It’s not uncommon for sellers to lose out on a good offer when they give up on the first one that comes in the door simply because it’s so early on in the game. Waiting around for a better offer doesn’t always work out.

You’re in a Strong Buyer’s Market

If the market is ripe for sellers, you might have a lot of demand for your home and a large pool of qualified buyers to choose from. But if the market is cooling in your area and demand is weaker, that may limit your pool of buyers.

Your home could be in great shape, located in a desirable area, and priced aggressively. But if the market is not in your favor, the first good offer that is put on the table should probably at least be considered. This is even truer if your home is not as desirable or located in an area that isn’t highly sought-after, which can further put a cap on the pool of interested buyers.

You’ve Got an All-Cash Offer

It’s tough to turn down an all-cash deal. Even if the amount being offered is slightly lower than what you may have wanted, taking an all-cash offer can eliminate the waiting game that usually accompanies offers that are contingent on the buyer securing a mortgage.

When there’s no need to bite your nails hoping that a mortgage – or even a home inspection – goes through, the deal can proceed with minimal issues.

The Bottom Line

The truth is, there’s no rule set in stone that you shouldn’t accept the first offer that you get for your house. Whether or not you do will depend on a number of factors, including the specific situation, the market, and your home, for example.

The first couple of weeks that a home is on the market is the busiest time for listings and is the time when the most interest and activity are seen. Once those couple of weeks have passed, interest and activity start to fade, which is why it’s important to take advantage of this window of opportunity to find a willing buyer.

If you get an offer right away, don’t discard it. Instead, consider it, especially if it’s a sound offer. Many times sellers get burned by taking a gamble on finding a better offer, only to be left with a listing that grows more staler by the day.

Of course, if the offer is sub-par, perhaps waiting for a better one to come around might be the better option. Just be sure to make your decision after careful consideration and collaboration with your real estate agent.