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Carlsbad Home Buyers Ask - What Is a Counter Offer?

Real Estate-Ese – What Is a Counter Offer


Buying a Carlsbad home is a tough job in our competitive market, whether you are a first time home buyer or an experienced one. One thing you need to know about the offer process is the counter offer.


Buyer HandbookThe most important thing, of course, is to work with the right Realtor who can help you strategize about your offer, and understand the options available to you depending on your personal situation, and the local market conditions. But here are a few thoughts.


First, you might wonder why you need to know what a counter offer is. After all, you expect to make a good offer, and have it accepted by the seller, right?


Not so fast.


While making a strong and clean offer should of course be your goal, there is always the chance the seller will take issue with what you presented, or clarification may be needed.


And if there are multiple offers it becomes even more complex, especially in our Carlsbad sellers market if your offer is less than the asking price.


After your offer is made the seller can simply accept it. But another option the seller has is to make a counter offer to you. While this means your offer was not accepted as written, it DOES mean you are in negotiations with the seller; that’s a good thing since some of your offer terms and conditions were acceptable.


So don’t be offended that you are receiving a counter offer - look at it as an opportunity for further discussion to try and reach agreement with the seller on the house you want!


What is a counter offer?Here in the Carlsbad area the counter offer will be outlined on a standard written form, part of the California Association of Realtors database of required forms, spelling out any changes the seller wishes to make on your offer – a different price, a different closing date, clarification that the washer and dryer do not convey, or other terms.


Keep in mind that everything else specified in your original offer remains the same – the only changes are the ones outlined in the seller’s counter offer.


As the buyer you have several options to respond to the seller’s counter offer: (1) accept the counter as is; (2) accept the counter but make it subject to your own counter offer with other changes (e.g., another price); (3) or decline to go any further.


offer price may be in the counter offerNegotiation continues until both parties are in agreement regarding the price, terms and conditions, and the final offer is accepted in writing, unless one of the parties declines to go further.


The negotiation can conclude quickly, or may take some time depending on the parties involved, the issues, and other factors. I’ve seen negotiations completed in a matter of hours (faster, if the offer is accepted right away), but also taking more than a week. But in our sellers’ market things tend to move fast.


Keep in mind a seller does not have to accept your offer, or to provide a counter offer. If it’s a good offer chances are there will be discussion, however. But if the offer is low from the seller’s perspective, the seller might counter back at full price, or decline to counter at all. And in the case of multiple offers you cannot assume there will be a counter and you will have a second chance.


Thus in the offer process you want to have an effective strategy for making a strong and clean offer, based on discussion with your Realtor, but with a likely multiple bid situation making your best effort up front might be most effective.


If I can help you think through your home buying requirements, and your wish list, in light of your budget and other factors, and answer any questions about the home buying process including offers and counter offers, please give me a call at (760) 840-1360. Then we’ll get started on finding you the right home and get you into escrow!


The video below provides a brief overview of the counter offer process. If we start to work together I’ll provide more details about developing an offer strategy and what happens in the offer process, and we’ll discuss how to deal with multiple offer situations effectively.



For more information on things you should know about buying a home, visit Home Buying Tips and Advice for my YouTube Channel playlist of short videos. Then give me a call (760-840-1360) so we can discuss your specific home buying needs, budget, and any questions you have about the home buying process.


If you are relocating, also check out my video series at Relocation Tips and Advice for helpful information and issues you should consider whem moving.


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If I can provide more information about homes for sale in Carlsbad and in surrounding areas, the housing market in general (or locally), or otherwise assist you, friends or family in a home search or sale, please contact my mobile office or text me at (760) 840-1360 or email me at

Serving Carlsbad (including Aviara, La Costa & Carlsbad Village),  Encinitas (including Leucadia & Olivenhain), Cardiff, Solana Beach, Del Mar, La Jolla, Rancho Santa Fe, San Marcos (including San Elijo Hills), Oceanside, Escondido, and San Diego

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Comment balloon 46 commentsJeff Dowler, CRS • July 06 2018 12:06AM
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