Why Wasn’t My Offer Accepted?

Houses on Cone Street

Hi there. Welcome, and I am very sorry to hear that the offer you made on that home was not accepted. Even though I (probably) don’t know anything about your situation, I might still be able to help you understand this unfortunate development!

I have found that sellers generally reject offers for a few reasons, so one very likely applies to your situation.

1. You Didn’t Offer Enough $$$

Sellers usually pick the offer with the highest value. Not always, but usually. So start there. How did your bid compare to the asking price? Did your bid reflect the current market conditions in your area? At the time I’m writing this (late 2020) most of the country seems to have very competitive real estate markets that favor sellers. Were you competing against other bidders?

2. Your Non-Financial Terms

The offer price is not the only term in an offer that can impress. For example, the timeline could be important. Some sellers are looking for a quick closing with minimal risk, and might be willing to accept a lower price to get it. Other sellers might need extra time to move out and prioritize their comfort over maximizing value.

Financing is anther term that can help a seller make a decision. If they are evaluating multiple offers that are reasonably similar, then they might go with the buyer who seems financially stronger. Cash beats a mortgage. Large downpayment beats a small downpayment.

Or maybe there is something else. An “As Is” offer. Or waiving home inspections (Note: I think waiving inspections is a bad idea and would not recommend it).

3. You Seemed “Difficult”

Offers rarely appear before a seller without context. You (or your real estate agent) likely interacted with the seller or listing agent as part of your tour of the property, and the preparation of your offer. The questions you asked the other side and the positions you took painted a picture to the seller about what you would be like to work with as a counterparty for the remainder of the deal.

Sellers feel a lot of pressure to pick an offer that is going to successfully close. If something goes wrong after they sign the contract, and if the house has to go back onto the market, then statistics show that they are likely to get less for the property from the next buyer.

4. You Were Too Slow

If you are in a hot market, then you might have just been too slow to react. Good houses can sell surprisingly quickly.

Good luck as you continue your home search! If you are having trouble getting a bid accepted, then think about your approach from the seller’s point of view. Maybe there is something simple you can change that will allow you to get the next one.