Dealing With a Seller Who Is ‘Just Not That Into You’

You’ve got your heart set on their home. Should you try to win them over, or just walk away?

Given the ups and downs of a home search and the love affair many buyers have with potential matches, many real estate agents feel their job becomes part therapist and part matchmaker.

Buyers tour dozens of homes and sift through dozens of properties, maybe even going on “second dates” — or in real estate terms, “private showings.”

Sometimes they feel it in their gut when the right house comes along. They know the comps, and are prepared to make an offer at fair market value. In their minds, they’ve already moved in.

Unfortunately, sometimes love is unrequited — even in real estate.

The seller has every right to reject a buyer for any reason whatsoever. They may stand firm on their price or wait for better terms. It could be they don’t like the buyer’s contingencies, or they’re holding out for a cash deal.

Either way, the seller has no obligation to sell to you, even if you offer what seems like a fair price.

Here are five tips for dealing with a seller who is “just not that into you.”

  • Go to your max

After submitting an offer and even going through a series of counter offers, you realize you’re probably too far apart on price.

You’re wasting time by holding back and playing the seller’s game. If you want the home, it’s time to go to your max.

By putting your best offer forward, you’ll have done all you can. Sometimes a few weeks pass, and they will come back to you.

  • Move on

Moving on is easier said than done, of course. But if the seller isn’t interested in working with you, move on.

Hanging around wishing the seller will come to their senses and accept your offer is a waste of time and emotional energy. By pining away in your love affair with that house, you risk missing out on other great properties that are available and whose owners may be more “into” you.

And who knows? Sometimes, when you move on, the seller may suddenly show interest.

  • Learn from the experience

The sheer desire to own a home and the assumption that an available home should be yours doesn’t always translate into homeownership. If things don’t work out for you, analyze what went wrong.

What mistakes could you have avoided? Did you spend too much time negotiating with that seller? Did you get too emotionally involved?

If you can walk away with some lessons learned, your next try at homeownership should be easier — and more likely to succeed.

  • Don’t try to figure out the seller

You’ve got no idea what’s going on in a seller’s head. For all you know, the seller is emotionally attached to the home and not ready to sell. Or maybe they’re simply are firm on their price, and that’s it — no matter how high it seems relative to the market.

It’s certainly tempting to play armchair analyst when a seller isn’t selling to you for mysterious reasons. It’s also, in most cases, a waste of time and energy.

Accept the fact that the seller just isn’t that into you for whatever reason, and move on to the next home.

  • Do try to figure yourself out

Is there a pattern developing? Are you only going after the ones you can’t have? If so, are you sure you’re ready to commit?

Like finding a mate, buying a home is a huge decision and financial commitment. If you find that you keep going after sellers that aren’t co-operating, the issue may be you — not them.

Identify the motivated and serious seller, and make a play for their home.

And don’t spare too much thought for the one that got away. You’d be surprised how many times buyers, at the closing table, admit that the home they had previously pinned for wasn’t the one for them, anyhow.


About the author

Brendon DeSimone
Brendon DeSimone is a nationally recognized real estate expert and author of the book, Next Generation Real Estate: New Rules for Smarter Home Buying & Faster Selling. A fifteen year veteran of the residential real estate industry, Brendon has completed hundreds of transactions totaling more than $250M. His expert advice is often sought out by reporters and journalists, and he is regularly quoted in local and national press. Brendon is a regularly featured guest on major television networks and programs including CNBC, FOX News, Bloomberg, Good Morning America, ABC’s 20/20 and HGTV. Brendon is the manager of the Bedford and Pound Ridge Offices of Houlihan Lawrence, the leading real estate brokerage north of New York City.

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