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We’ve got a few questions on home prices. Do Realtors list homes at a higher price knowing that most offers will come in below asking price or are homes listed for close to their estimated value? We are going to be looking for a home in the upcoming months and are wondering how we should determine what to offer on a home if we find one we like. How do you determine value and what to offer? Furthermore, what happens if an offer gets rejected? We are just trying to figure out how this part of the home buying process works. We love reading your column each week!


Jody and Tom, Grand Junction

Jody and Tom,

Ok, you do have a few questions, but they are all good ones! I will do my best to answer them all, but excuse my brevity as my space is limited. The way Realtors price homes varies from agent to agent and market to market. Some agents will do just what you are talking about, price the home above market value expecting a lower offer. With this technique the agent builds in cushion to come down when the lower offer arrives, but also risking that the price is far enough above market value that it gets skipped over by prospective buyers. Other agents will try to price the home in line with sold comparable properties, within the past 6-12 months is best, and then adjust up or down depending on market conditions and competing listings.  Pricing is at least as much art as it is science and there are a hundred ways to skin a cat. The more you try to figure it out, the more confusing it will likely be. Your primary goal should be to not try and decide how they priced the property, but have your agent help you determine a fair price for the home from comparable property sales and similar active properties and make what you believe to be a fair offer.

When you find a property you want to make an offer on, your agent will be able to help you determine a fair offer price. I find that most buyers look at quite a few homes before purchasing. By the time they decide to make an offer, they have a good feel for the market and know what asking prices are and are not appropriate for the market conditions. If you and your agent determine that the price is higher than it should be then feel free to provide the comparable properties you used to determine your price when you make your offer. Many times the list price is not the agent’s suggested price, but the price the seller “needs” or “wants” in order to sell. Keep in mind that price may or may not be in line with the market, but providing a thought out analysis for why you are offering your price might help “make your case” with the seller and the seller’s agent. Whenever you make an offer at less than asking price you always run the risk that it will not be well received and even rejected.

Rejected offers are never the goal, but depending on your offer price sometimes they are the only way for a seller to respond. If the offer is insultingly low (greater than ten percent) then a rejection may be the best way to respond. A rejected offer by the seller can be received by the buyer in one of two ways. It will either be received as “take a hike” or it will be received as “reload and try again with something closer.” On a rejection, the choice of how you respond will be up to you and dependent on how much you really love the home. You can either reload and try again with a higher offer, or move on to your next choice! Keep in mind there is no playbook for how these things work and that is why the agent you choose to work with is of the utmost importance.

Choosing an agent who is experienced and has a proven track record is a critical part in helping you pre-determine your desired result. If you are out to sea and find yourself in the middle of a storm, big or small, would you rather have a captain that has been there, done that and survived or a green horn who not only does not know what to do, but is looking to you for answers and direction? The answer is obvious. Experience is undervalued when the going is easy, but there is no doubt about its value when the going gets tough! How about that for some free life advice while answering a real estate question! It’s because of questions like yours that this column exists, so thanks for reading. Best of luck.  

Dave Kimbrough
The Kimbrough Team


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