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Note to real estate sellers: rejection should not be in your current vocabulary

One of the items that was recently added to the California Association of Realtors purchase contract was a “rejection of offer” box at the end of the contract. The box states that, “no counter offer is being made to the buyer but it was reviewed and rejected by the seller.” My guess is the intention behind this was to give assurance to the buyer that their “low” offer was at least presented.

One of my fellow associates just received the aforementioned “rejection of offer” checked on one of his offers yesterday. The seller just reduced the price $20,000 to an asking price around $255,000, and the offer was approximately $20,000 below that.

Now I certainly understand that some offers are completely absurd (I cannot tell you exactly when the absurdity realm is reached) and may not even deserve the rejection response. But, in many cases, especially now given the normalizing market we are experiencing, some negotiation in going to have to take place on the sellers part. Even if a seller just reduced the price a week before, most buyers are not going to come in very close to full price today. This is not to say that all sellers need to sell for less than they want to. Every seller will have their own motivation & personal factors that make up their decision.

My point is that when you reject the offer completely, you are really ending the negotiation in the buyers eyes. Whether or not this is your intention, it does tend to have that effect. Buyers, just like sellers reacting to the lower offer, may take this as an insult and move on. The seller ultimately loses here.

Some good advice for sellers: take the emotions out of the deal; the buyer is not making a “low-ball” offer just to offend you; try to think of when you were a buyer what you were thinking at the time.

i believe much of the blame for not getting a counter offer back in this particular case belongs to the listing agent. I doubt they even tried to get a response from the seller. Sometimes agents who have been in the business a while, and even new agents who think very highly of themselves, have large egos that get in the way of a transaction being done. I know I have been there before (you need to check yourself constantly). These agents may take a lower offer has an insult to their pricing ability.

I always recommend to my clients that they at least give a response. You never know how the other party is going to respond unless you put something out there. I have seen it actually work out on several occasions (just two weeks ago on this house) where I presented an offer to a seller and right after I mention the price, you get the, “I am not even going to respond to that offer” response. In the end, they do respond and we have gotten a deal together that was acceptable to both parties.

Even if it is a full price counter offer, at least you gave it a shot to be accepted. You’re at least letting them know where you stand. A “rejection of offer” does not do that.


  1. Great post — I think the problem with the rejection offer is that it makes everything seem personal, when it should be just business.

  2. Agreed. As agents, we really need to drive that point home. Easier said than done though when working with some clients.

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