Real NEastate: How to lowball

Q: I know for a fact that the market sucks and I can get a bargain. But my agent says I can’t just offer 25 percent less for any house I like. He says sellers in the Northeast will never take “lowball” offers like I want to do and I am wasting my time. What do you think?

A: Can you make a lowball offer and see what happens? Sure, but be sensible about it. Simply offering 25 percent less for a house as a general rule of thumb is not making an educated decision.

Frankly, market value is market value. Although there are bargains to be had out there, you can’t expect homeowners, or their lenders, to settle for large amounts less than what the other homes on the market have sold for.

The gap between “for sale” prices and “sold” prices is narrowing. This means buyers are paying closer to the sale price now than in recent months. The fact is, sale prices of homes have come down in the past couple years and that has made it easier for homes to sell.

If your strategy is to lowball on every offer, expect to make dozens of them. While there are bargains to be had, it’s not a “fire sale.”

Stacey McCarthy is a real estate agent with the McCarthy Group of Keller Williams. Her Real NEastate column appears every Wednesday on NEastPhilly.com. See others here. Read other NEast Philly columns here.

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