This is probably the least-likely time to get a lowball offer accepted in the history of the world, due to the lack of pressure on any seller – but for the next 2-3 weeks you might have a sliver of a chance. Once we get into December, the next selling season will be within sight, so sellers will pack it in – either literally or mentally – and be reluctant to make any deal. Then they will wait until end of summer before thinking their price might be wrong…again.
I haven’t had any luck lately – so this is just theory. But these are the things I’m looking for on behalf of buyers looking to make a deal in November:
1. Vacant houses that have been on the market 2+ months. They need to be eating a mortgage payment to really be motivated, but anyone sitting on an empty house in November must be avoiding the thought of renting it.
2. Homes that have been on the market for months – and have a mortgage balance around 70% to 80% of list price. They don’t want to lower their price because they hope to get a decent chunk out of it, but the payment could be eating them alive. There is a very small minority of sellers in this category, because banks are so lenient these days. But those who are barely making their payments to keep their good credit might appreciate any offer at this point.
3. Homes listed with great agents. They know the score, and if they just had an offer they might be able to convince a motivated seller to make a deal.
4. Fixers are prime candidates. The sellers apparently don’t want to make improvements (or can’t), and you have ample evidence why they should consider a lower offer.
At least nine out of ten sellers and their listing agents will think you are crazy, but it’s worth a try. To save time, I get the agent on the phone and feel them out first, and listen for any hesitation before they scoff at me.
Sellers shouldn’t take it personal – if you are comfortable just ignore any lowball offers and keep waiting for the market to head your way. But for those who really want and need to sell, this is your chance to do so – and at least you won’t have to worry about what the market might do in 2015.
P.S. If this is a house you love, don’t risk a lowball offer. If the sellers get offended, they will sell the house to anyone but you!