• Meredith Adhate

Why did that house sell for less than what *I* offered?

So in this crazy market, you put in a solid offer over asking and thought you were a shoo-in. Nope, didn’t get it. Sigh, you keep an eye on that listing, but move onto other ones. A few months later, you’re curious and check on the status of that first one you liked. It sold for LESS than your offer. WTF? How dare they! Why would they do that? Here are a few possibilities – they won’t make you less angry, but at least they’ll give the sale some credence.

person holding fan of U.S. dollars banknote

Cmon look at this cassshhhh

Appraised Low

Say the house was listed at $300,000. Your offer was $320,000, but you didn’t get it. You’ll never actually know what the other offers were, but let’s say the ‘winning’ offer was $325,000. Okay, no problem, that’s higher than yours was. But it closed for $315,000! That’s not fair! It’s possible they accepted the offer of $325,000 and maybe the appraisal only came in at $315,000 so they decided to drop the price to the appraisal price. They COULD have held firm at $325,000 which would have meant the buyers would have had to pay that $10,000 difference out of pocket (which maybe they couldn’t do) or terminate the contract. It is often easier for the seller to just stick with the offer and reduce the price instead of terminating and *hoping* they get another strong offer (or someone willing to pay over the appraisal price).

Repairs

The other possibility is the home needed some repairs or had some other issues and the sellers were willing to drop the price to accommodate for those repairs. Same as before, rather than the sellers saying, “We’re not dropping the price; we’ll just find someone who doesn’t care about those issues,” it’s often easier to accommodate the strong offer they currently have in hand. Odds are anyway if the house needs, for example, a plumbing repair or a hot water tank, the next buyer would take issue with those problems, too.

You’ll Never Really Know

Unfortunately, you’re unlikely to ever know why the house sold for less than what you offered. You can always call the seller’s agent and they may or may not tell you. But it’s often same to assume the seller agreed to a reduced price due to an appraisal or repair-type of issue and it’s often easier to stick with the existing offer rather than risk putting the property back on the market and possibly receiving even lower offers. It’s up to the seller what they feel comfortable. Another tip is to check the source of the sold price – the MLS is going to have the most accurate closing price (and will also now list concessions as well in CT).

Occasionally there are mistakes, too. Last year, my client and I put in an offer on a house, over asking. We didn’t get the house (the agent said there were many offers, including his own!) A few months later it closed – for $60k less than we offered!! Turns out it was a typo and should have been, let’s say, $250,000 not $150,000. Phew! Always good to check the MLS and the seller’s agent if you have any strong concerns.

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