Vail Daily column: Turning low-ball offers into successful contracts |

Vail Daily column: Turning low-ball offers into successful contracts

Joan Harned

Dear Joan,

I have had my house on the market for six months, and I am very frustrated about it not selling. The first 60 days I had no showings, then we lowered the price and I started to get showings. I have even had two “low-ball” offers that were actually insulting. What is my next move? A new broker that does better marketing? Lower the price again so I get even lower “low-ball” offers? I don’t want to give it away. I don’t have to sell, but I would like to. Looking forward to your advice.

Dear “Don’t Have to Sell.”

Your situation is pretty classic. Most sellers (other than distressed sales) say that they don’t have to sell and that they “don’t want to give away” their property. Assuming that your broker has experience, skill and integrity, the broker probably recommended listing your property at a price lower than your starting price. If you are now getting showings, but no offers, then you are still too high. Since, however, you have received two offers (and I don’t know the time frame), I think the place you need the most advice is about counter proposals.


First of all, no written offer should be considered “insulting.” If a buyer went to the time and trouble to write up an offer, then they are genuinely interested, but, as is human nature, they want to see how much discount they can get. You might do the same when you go to buy your next property.

Secondly, the National Association of Realtors says that about 50 percent of the time a written offer can be turned into a successful offer. Therefore, no matter how low the offer price is, you should do a written counter proposal on price and terms. You need to counter with terms (dates) that will work for you and your family and then discuss a strategy for a counter on the price with your broker. If the offer is quite low, then you might want to counter just under your asking price in order to make it plain that you are not going to go much under your price but that you are willing to negotiate a little. Chances are that the buyer will counter your counter, so if you come back at your bottom line, then you have no place to go. On the other hand, if the buyer’s offer has terms that are close to what works for you and the price is not too far off your bottom line, then you might counter at exactly what your most flexible terms are and your rock bottom price, in hopes that they will sign your counter, and you will be under contract!


Please rely on your professional, knowledgeable broker, who should be a skilled negotiator, too.

Negotiating skills are extremely important in getting your property under contract and then working your way through the inspections and other aspects of the path to closing. Best of luck to you!

Joan Harned is an owner-broker for Keller Williams Mountain Properties and heads up Team Black Bear, her own real estate team of qualified experts. Harned has been selling real estate in Eagle County for 27 years, is a past Chairman of the Vail Board of Realtors, past Realtor of the Year, past director on the Great Outdoors Colorado Board and a member of the Luxury and Land Institutes. Contact Joan with your real estate questions at, 970-337-7777 or

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