Renegotiating an Accepted Offer

Negotiating You're Doing It WrongA real estate transaction is full of surprises. You never know what will arise. Renegotiating the piddly stuff after an accepted offer is a bad idea.

I recently listed a home that is an estate. The home itself is a little rough, but it’s structurally sound, has a nice floor plan, and has beautiful property. We priced it with all this in mind. We had a ton of showings right away, and we received an offer within a couple days of listing it.

After some negotiating, we had a signed, accepted offer. The agreement was a couple thousand under list price, some closing costs were kicked in, and the buyers would pay for all inspections. The buyer, being a contractor, did the home inspection himself. Following the inspection, he decided he wanted to start renegotiating the accepted offer.

The kitchen floor slopes, and he’ll have to jack that up. The chimney needs work, the roof is shot, etc. He was asking for $5000 less. The seller and buyer agreed on $1000. Then the well, water and septic inspections were performed. The buyer asked if the seller would have the septic tank emptied following the recommendation from the inspector. Granted, there was nothing wrong with the septic and drainfield, but he would like to have it emptied. The answer was no.

I have been working on a commercial deal for the past nine months. The buyer was constantly demanding updated reports, some repairs to be done… you name it, every week it was something else. The seller was getting very frustrated because it was a lot of work just to show basically the same thing over and over. But the property had been listed for awhile, so the seller knew she needed to keep the buyer happy- until this week, that is. When a major issue arose a week before closing, the buyer asked the seller to pay $15,000 to remedy it. The seller simply threw up her hands and said no. She was done negotiating. I’m certain that if the buyer hadn’t constantly been asking for more information, and more of this, and more of that, the seller would have agreed to this last demand. But the deal is off, and the seller and I are starting over from scratch.

This is when I get annoyed as a Realtor. I get annoyed by the fact that following an accepted offer, a buyer wants to renegotiate over and over again. It feels like they want to get their foot in the door with the seller, peek around for a bit, and then rob them of their proceeds.

That being said, is there a time when it is okay to renegotiate a deal? Of course. When the home inspection turns up something that wasn’t easily noticed by a novice buyer, then it’s understandable to want to renegotiate. For example, the electrical system is installed incorrectly. The plumbing is wrong, the attic doesn’t have good ventilation or enough insulation, or the septic system has failed. These are things that an untrained buyer won’t know when looking at a house to purchase.

But things like an obviously bad roof, the septic being pumped, sloping floors, window replacement, etc., should all be taken into consideration when writing the initial offer. To come back and request money off the accepted price for those things is just going to aggravate the seller. And believe me, nothing shuts down future negotiations quicker than an aggravated seller.

Renegotiating an Accepted OfferA real estate transaction is full of surprises. You never know what will arise. This is why it is best to take the condition of the home into consideration when writing your initial offer, and expect your offer to remain as written until the end. Trying to renegotiate the piddly stuff after the fact is a bad idea, especially if something really important happens to crop up further into the process. If this happens, it will most certainly result in unhappy buyers, aggravated sellers and worse, a dead deal.