I want to make a bunch of “lowball” offers, can you help?

a1With the type of real estate market we’re in right now, many of us are looking for GREAT DEALS…buying opportunities that come around just once in a lifetime.

And if we can’t find the great deals, we think we can create them with a wonderful thing called the “lowball offer.”  Now, technically there is no real definition of what constitutes a lowball offer, except that it’s low ofcourse.  In the market that I’m used to working in (Greater Austin), anything more than 10% off a reasonable list price is considered a lowball offer.  I say “reasonable list price” because there are plenty of agents who list their homes way to high, just to get the listing, and an offer of 10% off list price would actually put the home at market value!

Well, the question that you have to ask is:  Is it worthwhile for a buyer to pursue this strategy for their next home or investment?

I received an email from a client regarding this very thing and I wanted to share my response with my readers:

I know this sounds bad…but given the market conditions and how many houses seem to be going up I want to buy something for what I consider a steal…I am sure there may be buyers in front of me but I figure what the heck I might as well try. We really are happy renting as we will be moving in 2 years for sure into Austin and will turn it into a rental property or sell it. I guess I would be willing to lob bids in on properties in the $125k area for sellers that are desperate. Tell me if I am wrong but, from what I have read, I think that should be doable if I am patient, and like I said I am buying for the bargain, not b/c we particularly need or want a house in Gtown. Your thoughts are appreciated! – JW

Dear JW –

Hmmm, you bring up some interesting points.

You’re not the only one wanting to snag a steal…I do too…in any market!  However, there is a reason why I, as a guy involved full time in real estate, have never gotten a good as a deal as you’re wanting to get through the lowball method even though I own 5 homes:

1.  I’m not savvy enough
2.  I don’t have the patience
3.  I haven’t been in the right place at the right time
4.  I never offered anything that lowball and it got accepted.

I’d say it is a combination of maybe all 4 of those reasons to some degree.  However, my goal is to own homes, not make offers, so eventually I need to be able to use the resources I have (time, money, patience, savviness – i know i didn’t spell that right), however limited they may be, and buy something.  Not because I need to, but because I want to.  For me, it’s better to own 5 pretty good deals, then 1 super great deal.

I don’t know how productive it would be for me to make the 50 offers for you just to get 1 accepted…..especially if I’m not willing to do it for myself! That is a full time job…and I already have one.  In my early (read: desperate) years of real estate when I had time to twiddle my thumbs, I helped a lady do this and we made a good handful of offers….in the end, all I did was spend my time and money and she never bought a home. I told myself that in the future I would never do that again.  If somebody insisted that I represent them on making lowball offers on a multitude of properties, I could only justify it from a business standpoint if I charged my client for every offer made.

If you’re trying to get a home for $125K and it’s worth $150k, why would the owner lose $25k to you when they can just lower the asking price to $135k (10% below market value!) and still sell it quickly and for $10k over what you’re offering?  What you’re trying to do can and has been done….but I haven’t personally been able to be successful with it.  Believe me, I’ve tried.

BOTTOM LINE: Value is not determined by how much of a discount you can get off a home.  To many lowballers think that if they can get a huge discount off the home, they can brag to their friend’s “I’m da man!” yet really have no idea of the true value of what they bought.  I would much rather determine the value of a home and purchase it at a great price rather then feel the need to have to lowball everything in sight.  I guess what I’m saying is that you don’t have to lowball (offer a ridiculously low amount) a home in order to get a great deal.  Real estate investing is determined by the end result…how many homes you own is more important than how many offers you’ve made. Case in point:

On the market today is a home on 1125 Boxwood Loop in the city of Georgetown, Texas.  It’s listed for $157,500 and is 1953 SF.  If you are an investor or homeowner, I can help you own this home for probably around $150,000.  Is that a lowball offer?  No.  Is it a great price?  Well, let’s just say that it will be the second cheapest home to sell in Georgetown Village since January of 2005 (according to the MLS).  I’d say that’s a great deal!  Interested?  Call me before I buy it for myself.


Comments

  1. Impressive read! contact me off line about the house in GT village.

    Jason

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