How Do I Know When to Accept an Offer on My House?

When it’s time to sell your home, there are important steps to achieve success. The first step towards receiving the right offer is to find the right realtor. An experienced realtor with connections in your area can not only guide you through the process of selling your home, but he or she can also utilize special tools in addition to their network of realtor colleagues whose buyers may be interested in your home. Once you’ve connected with an experienced realtor, here are a few things you can do to prepare to sell your home:

1. Do Your Research

If you’ve lived in your neighborhood or city for a while, you may think you have an idea of what to expect as far as home values are concerned. You know that Jane and Bob sold their home for this much, and Bill and Suzi sold theirs for this much, but is that enough information to make an informed decision regarding your home’s listing price? Not necessarily!

There are many variables that come into play regarding home values. While your neighbor’s home may have fewer square feet than yours, significant upgrades or additions to their slightly smaller home can mean a higher listing price for their home. Having an idea of what other nearby homes and properties are worth and what they are selling for is a good indicator of what you can reasonably expect your home to sell for, but it’s also important to know what amenities and features those homes include.

Get a head start  by knowing upfront how your property compares in the current market. View local listings in your area to get an idea of what homes in your market are currently listed for and what they are selling for. Keep in mind, your agent has access to information and data which you may not see and which may be important to your process. Also be aware that information on commercial websites such as Zillow and Trulia is often incomplete or erroneous and is not based on actual property values, listing prices, or sales prices.

It’s often said that as many as 9 out of 10 home buyers use the internet to search for their next home, so keep in mind that buyers, and their agents, will be using this information to make an offer.  However, while data and information are helpful to both sellers and buyers, an experienced agent can best utilize it, since they have access to information and local transaction histories that is not always accessible to the public.




Sales History

Your home may be in tip top shape compared to the rest of the neighborhood, but if you received a great bargain on your home when you purchased it, that can have an effect on what price you’ll be able to reasonably expect, since other realtors, and their clients, can easily access this information and use it to make informed decisions when making offers. Regardless of what you paid, you and your agent may deem it helpful to provide other agents and prospective buyers with a list of improvements you have made to the home in order to demonstrate the added value you’ve put into it.


Regardless of how beautiful the interior upgrades in your home are and how much you’ve invested in landscaping, the reality is that the overall appearance of your neighborhood can significantly increase or decrease your home’s property value. Like most of us, buyers are looking at the overall aesthetic of a neighborhood in addition to available properties, so it’s important to keep this in mind when working with your realtor to create a listing price.

Whether buyers have school-age children or not, today’s emphasis on education also makes neighborhood schools important in relation to property values. It’s also important to consider nearby attractions and amenities. Neighborhoods with close proximity to recreational facilities, high-end or upscale shops, and popular restaurants may have special appeal to buyers and can therefore positively impact home values.

Economy and Market

Like overall neighborhood appearance, the state of the economy and housing market can have an impact on how much your home will be listed for. During a seller’s market, when relatively few homes are listed, the seller and their agent have much more control over listing price, whereas in a buyer’s market, when a large number of homes are available for sale, buyers and their agents have the opportunity to use comparative home values to drive listing prices down.

Age and Condition

In addition to location, the age and condition of a home have a direct impact on value. While newer homes with more features, amenities, and upgrades often have higher listing prices, older homes which have been renovated and updated and are in good condition can sell for just as much. It’s also important to note that historic homes in good condition may have unique appeal and therefore may have higher property values than newer homes.

READ MORE: 4 Reasons Why Having a Real Estate Agent Works


2. Consider Each Offer

Due to the complexity and constant changes of the real estate market, buyers and sellers may have distinctly different opinions regarding a home’s value. While some offers may not appear to be acceptable at first glance, all offers deserve a fair evaluation. A low offer may reflect the prospective buyer’s search for your lowest acceptable price. So even if an offer appears unreasonable, it’s always a good idea to seriously consider it.

You’ve put time and effort into making your house a home, and chances are your home has specific components and sentimental value to you. These special aspects may not translate into monetary value to prospective buyers. Keep in mind buyers are viewing your home for the first time, from an objective point of view.

Buyers are also viewing your home relative to their specific functional needs.  Even with significant online research, they will not know until they view your home how well it suits their needs and desires. Depending on how well your home suits a buyer’s wants and needs, their offer may be closer to or farther from your listing price. When you receive an offer, it is time to curb your emotions and work with your agent to objectively analyze the terms and conditions the buyer proposes.



There is an old saying concerning real estate sales: “The first offer is the best offer.” The reason this is often true is that some buyers are watching and waiting for “the perfect home,” and when they find it, they don’t waste any time. They view it and proceed with an offer before other buyers get to it.

Market Trends

When inventory is low, this is often the case, and some buyers may even offer close to the listing price in an attempt to lock up the property before other buyers take action. However, in some cases, astute buyers will hold to a conservative price which may be materially lower than the list price. While the first offer you receive may be lower than you anticipated or expected, there are a few reasons to consider an offer below your listing price.


One reason to seriously consider your first offer, even if low, may be timing. You may be moving out of the area and looking to sell your home quickly, or you may need to complete the sale on your current home in order to purchase your next one. Have you already found your dream home and want to move quickly before it’s gone? The best advice: Don’t say no to a reasonable offer. Always remember this general rule of thumb: The sooner a home sells, the higher the sales price will be.

Cash Offers

A cash sale can be a significant advantage for the seller. While a cash sale does not put any additional money in the seller’s pocket, the ability to purchase with cash removes the financing contingency from the process. With the increasingly tighter lending regulations, obtaining financing and working through the tedious process can result in delays, or even failure, of a transaction.


Is it a Buyer’s Market or a Seller’s Market?

We’ve already touched on the difference between a buyer’s market and a seller’s market and how that can impact listing prices and offers. It is important to remember that when there are an abundance of homes on the market, buyers have more options and more leverage. Resulting from complex factors, shifts in market conditions may be constant and subtle. These shifts could favor either buyers or sellers.

Bear in mind that the media often inadvertently creates unrealistic, inaccurate perceptions. Hype, which may be polarized information, helps the media attract followers, but with regard to real estate in a given geographic area, what is true for homes in some price ranges or areas will not be true for homes in different price ranges or areas. Such anecdotal information can create misleading expectations for sellers and buyers alike.

When you list your home, it is important to have a clear, accurate, thorough understanding of the market activity for homes in your neighborhood, size, price range, age, and condition. This is imperative when you list your home, and it is of significant importance when reviewing offers.

READ MORE: 5 Ways an Open House Can Sell Your Home Faster


3. Trust Your Instinct, and Your Agent

Whether you are buying or selling your home, working with a trustworthy, experienced real estate agent is essential. Your agent can guide you through the transaction process and answer your questions and respond to your concerns. Your agent will also help you prepare your home for the market, help you properly price your home, and guide you through the negotiation process when you receive an offer. Each of these is important, and your agent is a specialist in this area. If you need a real estate agent, here are a few reasons to consider working with Marx-Bensdorf, REALTORS.

We Know the Memphis Area Real Estate Market

As a member of one of the Leading Real Estate Companies of the World (LeadingRE), and as the oldest real estate firm in Memphis and one of the first companies of any kind in the city, Marx-Bensdorf, REALTORS has a deep understanding of the Memphis real estate market. Within our firm, we also have agents who are thoroughly knowledgeable in whichever area you are located.  

We Have Connections

Our agents know many specialists who can help you prepare your home for the market and can help you each step on the way to the closing table. Because of our firm’s longevity in the real estate business and the length of time our agents have been representing buyers and sellers, we have a broad network of agents in the area who may have the right prospect for your home.

READ MORE: Marx-Bensdorf Celebrates 150 Years of Excellence in 2018

We Are Creative

Rather than simply placing a sign in your yard, our agents and support staff are diligently and intelligently working to ensure your home is seen by as many potential buyers as possible. That’s why we utilize social media and email marketing in addition to open houses, online listings, and other traditional real estate marketing techniques.


Which Memphis Real Estate Agent Should I Hire?

Are you buying or selling in the Memphis area? Marx-Bensdorf, REALTORS can help you find your dream home or receive the most for your current home. We have proudly served the Memphis area since 1868, and our dedicated team of agents have gained a reputation for being able to get the job done, even when other agents cannot.


Posted by David Tester at 9:19 AM
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