From Listed to SOLD - How to Sell Those Listings You Work So Hard to Get!


"This is Our Best Offer - Take it or Leave it!"

“The seller countered at $435,000 and said that’s his bottom line.” Negotiate

Well, shucks. I guess the deal is done, then. The buyers said they won’t go above $415,000, so there’s no point in wasting any more time on this negotiation.

Uh, HUH?

Never, ever, ever believe that anything is anyone’s bottom line! Not saying that they’re lying or even that they didn’t mean it when they said “this is as low (or high) as we’ll go.”

They probably weren’t lying and they probably did mean it.

But that doesn’t make it true.

No one knows what the bottom line is until they reach it. Not the listing agent, not the buyer agent, not even the buyer or seller. And chances are that any proclamations of bottom line (or top offer) are thousands of dollars from what the seller would be satisfied taking or the buyer satisfied paying.

As the representative of the buyer or seller in a negotiation, never, ever allow the negotiations to die on your side of the table. Always counter a “final” offer, even if you “know” the parties involved are as low (or high) as they’ll go.

Because you don’t know. And, frankly, neither do they.

On a related note, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen an agent on a real estate reality show push her OWN client to accept an offer or counteroffer because “the other agent says this is their bottom line.” Nonsense!

Never, ever advise your buyer or seller client to pay any attention to such proclamations, and push them to accept a “final offer” just to save you the trouble of drafting up yet another counter-offer. If your buyer or seller wants to push a little harder, just write it up! I think you’ll be surprised (pleasantly) how many times a “dead” deal will come together if you don’t accept anyone’s “final offer!”


It's Here!


The More Fun You Have Selling Real Estate, the More Real Estate You Will Sell! 
(True Story)
Order Your Here!









Comment balloon 20 commentsJennifer Allan-Hagedorn • June 13 2012 05:05AM


Hi Jennifer, Good post and good point. I agree it is important to keep the lines of communication open between all parties and never give up

Posted by Joan Congilose, Helping Sellers & Buyers (New Jersey Properties) about 8 years ago

So true!  I get a bit irritated when I see agents coerce their clients that they HAVE to accept something.  Our job is to advise the client and present the facts and options... and allow them to make that decision.

Posted by Kathryn Maguire, Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach ( (757) 560-0881) about 8 years ago

Exactly! I try to never say those words if that's what my client has proclaimed because I know it's rarely an accurate reflection of their motivation. Meanwhile, it never hurts to push a little more. We did last week and saved another $2k. Hey! 2k is 2k!  ;)

Posted by Brenda Mayette, Getting results w/ knowledge & know-how! (Miranda Real Estate Group, Inc.) about 8 years ago

I agree, you never know what someone will do when it comes down to it. Sellers, want a certain amount, but who knows how long it may take to get that amount of a serious buyer again. Buyers need to realise the market has changed and properties may not sit from months....

Posted by Scott Fogleman, Greater Good Group (New Home Team 804-573-9592) about 8 years ago

Exactly! I see it all the time on the reality shows... where the "agent" advises her client not to counter because the other guy said it was his bottom line. 

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) about 8 years ago

Well put Jennifer.  Great Blog with some very good advice for buyers and sellers both!

Posted by Captain Wayne - Rowlett Real Estate School, Rowlett Real Estate School / Owner and Instructor (REcampus Fully Accredited Florida ONLINE & Classroom Training in Destin, Pensacola Florida) about 8 years ago

We've found over the years that this is our final and best offer doesn't necessarily mean final and best.  Of course it does occasionally.

Posted by Ralph Janisch ABR CRS Broker, Selling Northwest Houston to good people like you! (Janisch & Co.) about 8 years ago

JAH, it literally takes 2 seconds to put another offer together these days so why not keep on trying. 

Posted by Kevin J. May, Serving the Treasure & Paradise Coasts of Florida (Florida Supreme Realty) about 8 years ago

Kevin - well, maybe more than 2 seconds, but it's true - it's not nearly as much work to counter and offer as it used to be. You don't even have to walk to the fax machine! 

Jeanne & Ralph - eventually you get to your "best" but I don't think I've seen it be the number that the person proclaimed as their bottom line or best offer!

Cap'n - Thank you!

Scott - I hear it's "fun" out there right now as expectations are adjusting!

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) about 8 years ago

I've had agents stamp their feet and fuss, "I thought I said this was our final offer?", only to have the deal accepted!

Posted by Doug Rogers, Your Alexandria Louisiana Agent (Bayou Properties) about 8 years ago

Jennifer -- as agents, it is our duty to present offers/counter offers to our clients.   In presenting them, I give them the possible scenarios -- sometimes the best and final is indeed how it is presented but it is not our decision to accept or reject --- only the client can make that ultimate decision.   

Posted by Michael Jacobs, Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393 about 8 years ago
Amen! Sometimes the agents are surprised....even the buyers and sellers are surprised....that what seemed like a dead end negotiation just turned into an agreement.
Posted by Nancy Conner, Olympia/Thurston County WA about 8 years ago

Great point Jennifer. And there are times people have not be completely candid with their own agent. Particularly true of people in financial trouble who are desperate but don't tell anyone. They can surprise everyone by taking a deal just to get out of something.  G

Posted by Glenn S. Phillips, CEO, Lake Homes Realty / (Lake Homes Realty) about 8 years ago

This is so true!  
I always say "I know you said you would not go any lower or higher", but I won't hold you to it!"

Posted by Debbie Cook, Silver Spring and Takoma Park Maryland Real Estate (Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc) about 8 years ago

Oooh, Debbie... you reminded me of something... NEVER ask your client for their bottom line! Once they've spoken it out loud, they have ego invested in it and might feel wussy if they agree to go higher or lower. And if your client tells you something like "I won't go any higher than $xxx" just ignore it and act as if you didn't even hear ;-]

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) about 8 years ago

I had a deal fall apart a few months ago 3 days before closing  because the contract price was $89,000 and the appraisal came back $74,000. I represented the seller, who would still have cleared $18,000. But she refused to take it. She was just determined to get the price she wanted. So it is hard to know when the parties will still budge and when they won't.

Posted by Ann Cordes, Home Ownership is Not a Distant Dream (Century 21 Randall Morris and Associates, Waco) about 8 years ago

I've seen some people "move" their bottom line when reality hits (on both sides!).

Posted by Loreena and Michael Yeo, Real Estate Agents (3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Prosper TX Real Estate Co.) about 8 years ago

JA, As that famous baseball sage Yogi said ""it ain't over till it's over". We need to remind all involved that 100% of nothing is still nothing.

Posted by Tom Bailey (Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc.) about 8 years ago

Great point is never final until it's written and signed off on lol :).  Always counter on a final unless the seller and buyer are satisfied.  It's definitely not the agent's decision.

Posted by Brenda Mullen, Your San Antonio TX Real Estate Agent!! (RE/MAX Access) about 8 years ago

I am alway the last person to declare a deal "dead".  You need to continue to negotiate until everyone else standing around tells you that the deal is a corpse on the floor and the coroner's office needs you to get out of the way!  Before that point, continue to make suggestions for how a deal can be made to work.

Having said that, if something really is our "highest and best", and I tell the other agent that we have made our "highest and best" offer, that is what the offer really is.  Our Highest and Best.


Posted by Judith Abbott (Coldwell Banker Residential) about 8 years ago

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