Counter offer in real estate - buyer vs seller negotiation

You’ve spent months getting your home ready to sell, and you finally have an offer. But it’s not the full asking price – it’s a counteroffer from the buyer. How do you decide whether to accept or reject it?

As a home seller, you might be wondering how to make a counteroffer that protects your interests and gets you the best possible price for your home. Here are some tips from real estate experts to help you make a smart decision about counter offers in real estate.

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By George Nicola (Expert Stager)

Table of Contents

When you receive a counteroffer from a home buyer - review and consider their position

When you receive a real estate counter offer from a home buyer, it’s important to take some time to review the document and understanding their position.

Although it may seem intimidating at first, counteroffers are simply an opportunity to negotiate terms and get the best deal for both parties.

A successful real estate transaction is not a one-way street; it takes back-and-forth dialogue, and both sides need to accept certain changes in order for the deal to move forward.

Taking the time to understand your buyer’s point of view before making an offer can help ensure that both you and your buyer are satisfied with the outcome.

When reviewing a counteroffer, consider including listing agents, financial specialists or solicitors before accepting the offer, if needed.

Their insight and advice can be invaluable during negotiations so don’t hesitate ask your real estate agent professionals to tap into their expertise.

After all, counter offer is an offer a seller may accept or not. Rejecting an offer is not always a negative thing, you can also make a new counter to one offer.
Also including the fact that the seller agrees to pay closing cost for home purchasing process in the contract may be a plus point. 

Example of counter offer (from a seller)

Scenario: A buyer makes an offer to purchase a house for $300,000. The seller disagrees with the price and feels that the house is worth $310,000.

Counter Offer with Escalation Clause: In response to the buyer’s offer, the seller makes a new counter offer of $305,000 with an escalation clause. This means that if another offer comes in higher than $305,000, the purchase price will automatically increase by $1,000 until it reaches the seller’s desired price of $310,000.

In this scenario, the buyer now has the option to accept the counter offer with the escalation clause, make a counter offer of their own, or reject the counter offer and move on to a different property. The negotiation process continues until both parties agree on the terms of the purchase agreement.

What does contingent sale mean and how it's linked to the counter offer?

In real estate, a contingent sale occurs when the sale of a property is contingent on a certain condition being met.

This can include anything from the sale of the buyer’s current home to receiving loan approval. Essentially, if the condition is satisfied within a specified time range, the deal will proceed.

When it comes to real estate deals, a counter offer occurs when the seller rejects the buyer’s initial offer and provides other terms. The buyer then has the option of accepting or rejecting the counteroffer.

So, in a contingent sale, the seller may submit a counteroffer in response to the buyer’s initial contingent offer, such as if the buyer’s offer is contingent on the sale of their current home, often called – chain.

The seller may propose to remove the contingency or extend the timeframe for its fulfillment.

The buyer is then free to accept the new offer or submit a counteroffer of their own.

Essentially, a contingent sale can influence a counteroffer since the parameters of the purchase agreement may need to be modified to accommodate the contingencies in the buyer’s initial offer.

Seek Professional Advice - Talk with a Real Estate Agent for Expert Guidance

If you’re a homeowner looking to sell your house, receiving a counteroffer can be an intimidating experience.

It’s important to keep in mind that while it might feel overwhelming or confusing, counters offer opportunities to negotiate terms. That can result in the best possible deal for both sellers and buyers, and there can be multiple offers after the initial offer.

With so much on the line, it’s highly recommended that you consult a professional real estate agent to ensure that you are making informed decisions and getting the most out of any counteroffers for your home on the market.

Not only will a real estate agent have the knowledge and expertise to talk through your options before the counter offer is rejected.

Expert agents also bring additional negotiating experience and insight on real estate counter offer etiquette which can help you strategize through any potential obstacles or difficult scenarios when closing a sale.

So don’t hesitate to reach out; an expert real estate agent is waiting to provide guidance every step of the way when selling a home!

Analyze Your Market - Look at Comparable Homes in the Area to Gauge Value

Selling your home can be a daunting task, and there’s no shortage of decisions to make. When you receive a counteroffer, one of the most important considerations before rejecting the offer will be gauging fair market value.

After all, it’s essential that you get the best deal possible while providing the buyer with an attractive offer for their dream home. To get a good benchmark on value, we suggest taking some time to analyse your local real estate market before submitting an offer.

counter offer meaning in real estate

Also a buyer may ask the seller to make a home inspection before the home buying process.

Results of this inspection may also help you anticipate if you need a different counter one.

Have a look at comparable homes in the area- by assessing their size, condition and upgrades- you can begin to piece together an accurate estimate of what potential buyers may pay for your home.

By gathering enough data through real estate trends, regional comparisons and local knowledge before the offer has been signed, this process should make it easier to weed out any lowball offers, minimize your closing costs and maximize your profits!

Consider Your Options - Should You Accept, Reject or Negotiate Further

If the counteroffer is too low, make a counteroffer of your own that is closer to your asking price!

When you receive an offer made in response to your original offer on your house for sale, it’s important to consider your options carefully.

A lower first offer may be reasonable or show a lack of interest, but it can also provide a good opportunity for further negotiation and an increase in the selling price.

If the counteroffer is too low, take the time to consider what makes sense to you and then you can make your own new offer that is closer to your asking price.

The buyer may decide on this second offer, or they may counter back again.

Whichever way the process goes, having a well thought out strategy will ensure that both parties find something equitable in each step of the bargaining process in this hot real estate market.

Consider you’re the buyer and try putting yourself in their shoes. This may make putting an offer or rejecting a counter one more rational. 

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Weigh Pros and Cons Before Choosing a Response

Reaching an acceptable sale price on your home can be a tricky process. After the offer comes, it can be difficult to decide what is best for you and your family and you may not know whether to counter or reject. 

It’s important to take the time to carefully weigh the pros and cons before choosing a response.

Consider factors such as negotiation tactics, long-term investments and costs associated with the transaction in order to make a well-informed decision that will ultimately benefit you in the end.

With the right preparation of counter offer work, you will empower yourself to achieve a favorable outcome on your property’s sale.

Be Aware of Common Strategies Used by Buyers’ Agents

Whether you are a first-time or experienced home seller, it pays to be aware of some of the most common strategies used by buyers’ agents in counter offer negotiations. Agents frequently try to use their knowledge and bargaining power to negotiate a lower purchase price for their client.

make a counter offer

Be sure that your counteroffer includes a realistic market value and fair terms, so you can secure the best possible deal on your home sale.

Make sure you understand the contract thoroughly, including all contingencies and other key points, as these could also potentially work against you during negotiations.

With proper preparation and knowledge of common negotiation strategies, you will be well-positioned to successfully navigate any counteroffer that comes your way.

For these situations you may need to find the right real estate agent or realtor to help you understand terms of the countering better in order for you to make the right decision to accept a counter offer or reject. 

Stay in Touch with the Buyer’s Agent Throughout the Process

Be prepared to negotiate back and forth until you reach an agreement that works for both parties involved.

Selling your home can be a stressful process, but staying in touch and being prepared to negotiate with the buyer’s agent through a counteroffer will help ensure you get the best deal out of it.

As the seller, you need to prepare yourself for this back and forth, as it is important to make sure that both parties agree on an arrangement they can live with.

To do this successfully, keep communication open between yourself and the buyer’s agent throughout the process—this way any changes or concerns can be discussed straight away.

Side note: Negotiating a counteroffer means both sides will have to compromise to reach an agreement that everyone is happy with so don’t be afraid to give a little in order to reach the best possible outcome.

What if the counteroffer is close to what you were hoping for?

If the counteroffer is close to what you were hoping for, accept it and move forward with the sale

If the counteroffer work for you, it may be in your best interest to accept it and move forward on the sale of your home.

This can help alleviate any delays that could occur by going back and forth trying to negotiate a better offer. Making a counter-offer may not work always and you may think that you cannot accept another offer, so choose another buyer.

Both buyers and sellers have a lot invested in this process so it’s important to study the offer in writing and assess if now is the time to accept before continuing negotiations which could ultimately lead nowhere.

It’s important that both parties come away from the transaction feeling satisfied.

Don’t be afraid to secure a deal that you feel good about but keep in mind there are other interested buyers in the market so don’t wait too long or you may find yourself starting all over again.

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Don't be afraid to compromise if necessary

Keep in mind that the goal is to sell your house, so don’t be afraid to compromise if necessary

The goal of selling your house is paramount, and it’s important to remember that.

Compromising in order to reach an agreement with the buyer is a key factor in the house sale process.

Things may not always go as planned, but negotiation is a key skill worth having – so never be afraid of going back and forth with a potential buyer to make sure you both get what you want from the transaction.

The buyer could make a low offer towards your home and as a house seller you may think that the offer is unacceptable.

As a consequence you may want to accept a better offer than the buyer’s original offer. You can also accept the offer that’s been made by the buyer.

Note: The home seller shouldn’t ever feel like they’re at a disadvantage because they’re trying to negotiate; every party in a real-estate deal needs to put something on the table to make it work out.

So have faith in yourself and don’t hesitate when compromises might need to be reached!


It’s important to understand that a counteroffer is simply the buyer’s way of negotiating for a better price on the home.

As a seller, you should always be prepared to negotiate in real estate industry. Be aware of common negotiation tactics, and keep communication open throughout the entire process.

If the counteroffer is close to your asking price, consider accepting it and moving forward with the sale. The goal is to sell your house, so don’t be afraid to compromise if necessary.