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When to walk away from negotiating on a house: a seller’s guide

Not every offer ends in a sale. Here are four occasions when it could be a good idea to walk away from a home sale negotiation.

TM

Tara Mastroeni

10/24/2022 · 3 min read

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Key takeaways 

  • Low-ball offers could be a sign to walk away.

  • Lack of proof of funds may be cause for warning.

  • If you can’t reach an agreement on concessions or the appraisal, you may be able to exit the transaction without repercussions.

Negotiating the sale of your home can take an emotional toll. There may be times when you want to walk away from an offer entirely. With that in mind, we’ve laid out four times when walking away might make sense. 

1. The buyer continuously makes low-ball offers 

In some cases, it may be time to walk away from the negotiating table before a contract even gets signed. One instance where this may be the case is when a buyer continuously makes low offers on your home. This type of buyer may be trying to talk you into giving away your largest asset for less than it’s worth.

When this happens, it’s a good idea to check in with your real estate agent about the fair market value (FMV) of your home. If their offer is in line with your FMV, it may be worth considering. However, if it’s significantly lower, it can be a good idea to wait for a better offer to come along.

2. The buyer can’t show proof of funds

Next, an interested buyer should be able to prove that they’re financially capable of purchasing your home. For buyers who need a mortgage, this proof will come in the form of a pre-approval letter and assurance from the lender. Meanwhile, cash buyers should be able to show asset statements that prove they have the funds in hand.

Your real estate agent should take care of getting proof of funds from the buyer. If they are unable to do so within a reasonable time, it may be worth considering waiting for another buyer who can give you more assurance.

3. The buyer asks for too many concessions 

During the negotiations, the buyer may ask for certain concessions or monetary contributions from you. Typically, buyers will ask for you to give a credit towards any necessary repairs discovered during inspections or for you to pay a percentage of their closing costs.

As the market cools down, it may be worth entertaining some of these requests. However, if they seem unreasonable or well beyond what was called for in the inspection reports, you can refuse the request. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement during these negotiations, you both may be able to walk away from the transaction unscathed.

4. The buyer won’t budge on the appraisal 

Usually, a buyer getting a mortgage is required to get an appraisal. But if your home appraises lower than the agreed-upon purchase price, it’s up to you and the buyer to figure out how to make up the difference. You can agree to take a lower sale price or the buyer can figure out another way to access the necessary funds.

In situations like these, buyers and sellers can reach a middle ground and find a new purchase price. Still, if the buyer is unwilling to compromise or you’re unable to accept a lower price, you may have the option to walk away without facing repercussions. Make sure to talk it over with your real estate agent.

This content is meant for informational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as financial, tax, legal, or insurance advice. Opendoor always encourages you to reach out to an advisor regarding your own situation.

TM

Tara MastroeniAuthor

Tara Mastroeni is a real estate and personal finance writer. Her work has been published on websites such as Forbes Advisor, Business Insider, and The Motley Fool. She has also been featured as a subject matter expert on Innovators with Jane King and the American Trends podcast.

JG

Jena GreeneEditor

Jena Greene is the Managing Editor at Opendoor. She covers real estate, personal finance, money management, and market best practices. Jena is passionate about empowering people to find their dream homes and making the home-buying process a delightful one.