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How Counter Offers Work (and what to expect!)

Offer on a home in Nanaimo

Buyers and sellers of homes for sale in Nanaimo frequently are in a situation where counter offers are made by one party or the other, and sometimes both. Three things can happen when a real estate purchase offer is made:

  • Seller accepts the offer as is without making changes
  • Seller rejects the offer outright
  • Seller wants to change one or more items in the original offer and makes a counter offer

Items most frequently counter offered

Almost anything in the purchase offer can be changed or amended. But in practice, these are the items that sellers and buyers most often counter offer on:

Sale price

The offered purchase price can be below or at the asking price, or even above the asking price if the real estate market is red hot and there are more buyers than sellers. When a seller has priced their home properly and a buyer still makes an offer below the asking price, it’s usually a sign the buyer wants to negotiate.

Closing costs

More often than not a buyer will ask the seller for a credit toward buyer closing costs. Buyers and their real estate agents usually consider this a normal request. But as a seller, don’t forget that paying for buyer closing costs has the same result as lowering the sales price of your house.

Closing date

If a buyer needs to move fast – maybe due to a job relocation or the sale of their existing home – they’ll ask for a quick closing date of 30 or 45 days. On the other hand, sellers might need more time to find another place to live, or pack and move.

Earnest money amount

Your Nanaimo real estate agent is a good source for learning what the amount of a customary earnest money deposit is for homes for sale in Nanaimo. An earnest money amount below the norm could mean that the buyer is short on funds or that they’re not a motivated buyer. A larger than normal earnest money deposit usually means the buyer is serious about buying the home.

Standard contract contingencies

Standard contingencies in the purchase contract are for property inspections, appraisal, title report, and buyer financing. Usually sellers don’t counter offer on these contingencies. But sometimes a buyer might make their offer contingent on selling their existing home – which means if the buyer doesn’t sell, neither does the seller’s home!

  • If you’re a buyer making an offer on a home for sale in Nanaimo, don’t be surprised if the seller makes a counter offer on more than one of these items.

    How to accept a counter offer

    A counter offer changes the terms and conditions of the original purchase offer. To accept the counter offer, both parties sign the original offer noting that there is an attached counter offer. Then, both buyer and seller sign off on the counter offer.

    How to reject a counter offer

    Just as with the original purchase offer, counter offers have a specific date and time for acceptance. A counter offer can be rejected by doing nothing and letting it expire. Sometimes one party will write “rejected” on the counter as a hint to the other party that they’re still willing to negotiate. Or, the counter offer can also be counter offered.

    Counter offer FAQs

    Q:Is it possible to have multiple counter offers with multiple buyers?

    A: Yes, it is. But, in a multiple counter offer situation, it’s always a good idea to use an experienced real estate agent in Nanaimo so that you don’t accidentally sell your home to more than one buyer.

    Q:Is it legal for the seller to counter offer above the asking price?

    A: Sometimes this does happen in seller’s markets, or in situations where the buyer is asking the seller for credits.

    Q:Does the counter offer make the original purchase offer void?

    A: No. Think of the counter offer as a way to change one or more of the terms and conditions in the original offer. Except for the items that are changed, everything else stays the same.

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