Why - What - When - Where
Before proceeding to read about the real estate counter offer, please carefully read the Disclaimer Page Here
Where to Obtain Real Estate Contract Forms
Before we get into the meat and potatoes of the counter offer, it is important that you have some of the forms on hand.
The easiest and quickest way, is to download all the for sale by owner forms that you might require online.
After much research, I have two recommendations for blank contracts. You can find all the information at: Legal Contracts & Forms.
Why You Use the Counter Offer Form
In many cases as a for sale by owner, you have already come to an agreement in principle and just need to put it in writing.
If you and the buyer have already agreed to all the terms and conditions and there is a change to be made on the original contract, the counter offer makes it all tight and legal.
The counter offer form saves writing up a whole new contract.
On occasion and if acceptable where you live, a real estate counter offer, may be as simple as making a small change on the original paperwork and all parties initialing the change.
As an example, lets say the buyer's comes in at $273,000.00, but you have been using some of the negotiation skills on this site.
The buyer agrees to buy your house for $275,000.00, which is the value on the certified appraisal.
If that is the only change needed, a simple solution would be to cross out the $273,000.00 write in $275,000.00, everyone initial and be witnessed and march off to their respective legal council.
If it gets more complicated than that, you probably should use a counter.
What Exactly is a Real Estate Counter Offer Form?
A real estate counter offer form is used as an addendum, or to make a change to the original contract.
Everything remains the same as the original offer to purchase, with the exception(s) stated on the counter offer.
Some examples of those changes could involve;
When to Use a Counter Offer Form
You use a real estate counter offer, when you are not completely satisfied with the buyer's original proposal.
One big advantage of selling for sale by owner, is that if you have some people skills and of course you follow the program on this web-site :), you can sit face to face with the buyer and put everything into place.
When you are listed with a real estate agent, you have this cat and mouse game back and forth, with large chunks of time between offer and counter offer. Sometimes many hours and even days are spent, going back and forth.
When you are listed with a real estate agent, you depend so much on that agent's skills.
If you had me on your side when I was a real estate agent and you were either the seller or the buyer, you would come out a winner every time.
I knew where the weak link was. Because I was motivated by doing the absolute best for my client, instead of motivated by a commission cheque, I always won.
By the way, the weakest link was not usually the buyer or the seller. The weak link was almost always the other real estate agent in the transaction.
What Should the Counter Offer Say?
The first thing you want to do as a seller when it comes to the real estate counter offer, is to have a few of the official forms on hand.
The basic wording is already on the form and all you have to do is fill out the rest of the body. Where do you find the real estate counter offer forms? Just click on the following link. Where do You Acquire these Forms
The real estate counter offer form will vary greatly, depending on which country, state, province, territory, district etc. you may live in.
As much as I would like to give you the wording of a counter offer, for the reason stated above, it would be irresponsible for me to do so.
Dollars to donuts, someone, somewhere, would use the exact wording if I posted an example on this site.
The blank counter offer will probably include the following:
The important thing, is to use the real estate counter offer form, that is generally used in your area. Lets look at a few examples that you might put on a counter offer form.
#1. Purchase price shall be two hundred and seventy-five thousand in American dollars ($275,000.00).
#2. The closing date shall be the 25th day of November, 2012.
#3. The kitchen fridge and stove are not included in the purchase price.
#4. The dining room chandler is not included in the purchase price. The seller will have a new chandler installed by a qualified electrician, before the closing date. The chandler will be of the buyer's choice and at the seller's expense. The cost of the chandler shall not exceed a price of five hundred dollars ($500.00).
Then of course, if the real estate counter offer is signed and witnessed by all parties, everyone trots off to their respective lawyers for approval of the written contract and counter offer.
I keep sounding like a broken record here, but it's important;
Always include the "subject to lawyer's approval clause" in the Agreement to Purchase. If you receive an offer that does not include the clause, you can always insert in the real estate counter offer. Go here for the clause: Subject to Lawyer Approval Clause
A Word of Caution
Just because you make a counter offer, it doesn't guarantee that the buyer(s) are going to accept.
You may decide to counter offer on price and the buyer(s) reject the whole thing.
It is my belief that this is another area, where a for sale by owner has an advantage over a transaction handled by a real estate agent.
When you fill out a real estate counter offer form, you can invite the buyer to sit down with you at the kitchen table, (remember the kitchen table magic?) and put things to rest. If you need a refresher, go to Kitchen Magic
If the buyer shows some reluctance to sign, you can use some of the negotiation skills on this web-site. You may have to give a little, but still make a good transaction for all parties.
When a real estate agent is handling the counter, you may just get the paperwork back with a big rejection signature.
Now what do you do? Yikes! If the real estate agent is really competent, this shouldn't happen....but it does.
As you can see, the real estate counter offer form is quite easy to use. Just follow these steps.
For More Information about Offers and Clauses
How to Write Clauses
All About Time Frames
Conditional Offers or the SPP
Earnest Money or Good Faith Deposit
Chattels and Fixtures
Some Other Considerations
by Douglas F. Cameron