Ask Greg – Owner accepted a higher price

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Greg Trembath answers your real estate questions.

Q:We recently missed out on buying a house we really liked. We made an offer, but were later told that the owner had accepted a higher offer. Should we have had an opportunity to match it? I believe ours was the first offer made.

A: Missing out in these circumstances can be disappointing. As far as matching another offer is concerned, you need to aim to finish in front.

Did you let the agent know how keen you were on the property? Always put in a good solid first offer – one to tempt the owner to agree to your price and signal serious interest in the property. Being first provides no guarantees nor any rights or preference in the negotiation.

People talk about ‘playing the negotiating game’, but buying property is no game. A low offer can offend the owner and jeopardise your negotiating position.

Agents are not obliged to disclose other offers; however, a good agent will tell you if your offer is not the highest. An agent should also establish whether a prospective buyer has reached their maximum or may be prepared to increase their offer. It sounds like this was not (but should have been) asked of you.

Property remains on the market while all offers are considered. An offer is not binding until the buyer and seller have signed and exchanged contracts, so a low offer can leave the ‘door open’ to other offers.

If a property looks good to you, it will also look good to someone else. My advice is to start with the end result in mind; ask yourself: “How will I feel if the home sells to someone else?”

Answers are general comment, and readers should always seek their own independent professional advice.

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Greg Trembath is Principal/Licensee at Greg Trembath Real Estate.
Licensed Real Estate Agent – Licensed Auctioneer.

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