You found the perfect home. You walked over the threshold at the open house, took a good look around, and thought to yourself, you know, I really think this could be it. You checked out the neighborhood. You researched the local schools. You calculated the length of your future commute. This *is* it, you decide. This house is definitely the one.
You hammered out the details with your real estate agent, and you submitted an offer. You started dreaming about your future: Thanksgiving dinner in that dining room. Sunday mornings making breakfast in that kitchen. Snuggling on the sofa in front of that fireplace. A few days pass. And then, the phone call. Bad news. The sellers have rejected your offer.
Having your offer rejected by a seller can make you feel the same way you feel when you’ve been dumped by a romantic partner or passed-over by a potential employers. Why did this happen? What did I do wrong?
Understanding some of the more common reasons sellers reject buyers can help you avoid making the same mistakes.
Rejected Offer Reason #1: Your Offer Was Way Off the Mark
Looking for a bargain is one thing. But if you’re hoping to score a deal on your home purchase, sending lowball offers to home sellers can backfire. Instead of leaving yourself room to negotiate upwards, your too-low offer can put off a seller entirely.
On the flip side, offering well over a home’s asking price isn’t a great idea, either. Sellers know that an offer that can’t be financed isn’t a real offer at all. Even if you’d be willing to pay an over-the-top premium to own a particular home, your mortgage lender isn’t likely to agree. If your offer is pie-in-the-sky high, a smart seller will reject your outrageous offer outright.
And while including some contingencies with your offer are normal and necessary, unusual or impossible requests can lead to rejections. (Think: requests for major renovations or heirloom furnishings.)
How to Deal: Choosing the exact amount for your purchase offer can be tricky. A savvy real estate professional can help you craft your offer proposal—and that includes helping you settle in on a reasonable offer amount. And remember: every concession or contingency you request is a potential reason for a seller to say no. For the best chance for acceptance, your offer’s contingencies should only include real dealbreakers.
Rejected Offer Reason #2: Someone Else Wants it More
Housing inventory is pretty tight in most U.S. markets right now — especially on the starter-homes-for-first-time-homebuyers end of the price spectrum. So when good homes come onto the market, it’s not unusual for a seller to receive multiple offers. And if everything else is equal, most sellers will go for the buyer who made the highest bid.
How to Deal: If a seller accepts a higher competing offer, there’s really not much you can do about it. Generally speaking, your initial offer amount should be pretty close to what you’d actually be willing to pay for the seller’s home. If you were willing to pay more but didn’t say so, you can’t really fault the seller for choosing someone else’s higher offer.
Sometimes, sellers will let buyers know that they’ve got competing offers in an attempt to get a higher selling price. If you can afford to pay more and you think it’s worth it, increasing your offer might help you close the deal. Just be careful here. Bidding wars can get ugly. At some point, just a little bit more becomes just too much. Be prepared to walk away if bidding goes up over what you are willing and able to pay.
Rejected Offer Reason #3: You Haven’t Secured Financing
This one’s pretty straightforward: most sellers are pretty interested in how you intend to pay for their home, should they sell it to you. If the seller agrees to sell to you, but you can’t get financing, the seller has wasted their time. And that means most sellers will flat out reject offers that don’t include information about how the buyer intends to finance the home purchase.
How to Deal: Unless you are sitting on a mountain of cash, you need to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you make an offer, period. With Morty, getting pre-approved is easy and pretty painless. You’ll have a letter to show potential sellers that says you’re a serious buyer with likely access to sufficient financing.
Rejected Offer Reason #4: Sellers Are People, and People Have Feelings
Remember: when you submit an offer on a house, you’re asking a person to sell you their home. And people have lots of feelings about their homes. Sometimes, strong feelings cause sellers to behave irrationally.
So, perhaps you submitted a fair and reasonable offer based on the actual market conditions in your area, but the sellers have an overinflated sense of what their house should be worth. Maybe it took having an offer on the table for the seller to realize he wasn’t ready to sell the home after all.
How to Deal: Some deals just aren’t meant to be. If you are confident that your offer was fair and reasonable, and a seller rejects it anyway, there’s really not much you can do.
Having your offer rejected by a seller is a bummer, but it’s not the end of the world — or the end of your homebuying journey. Everyone’s homebuying story is a little bit different. Take a deep breath, and remember that there are other
fish in the sea homes on the market. The perfect home for you might be just around the corner.