A seller of real estate has only three options when they receive an offer to purchase. They can accept the offer as written, counter the offer with terms and conditions more to their advantage, or reject the offer outright.
It isn’t often that a seller accepts the first offer that they receive, except in some cases when a buyer offers full asking price without requesting a lot of seller concessions. Usually a prospective buyer sends their first offer somewhere below list price to test the waters and see what the seller’s response will be. Often, they instruct their agent to send a letter along with the offer describing everything that they see wrong with the home with the hope that the sellers will roll over and accept their offer.
In some cases when a seller receives a letter of this type they are offended and want to outright reject the offer. It’s at this point when cooler heads prevail, and with a little afterthought the seller may be willing to negotiate with a counter offer.
Both the seller and buyer should start with a fair price and a fair offer. There's no question that significantly overpricing your home will turn off potential buyers. Likewise, making an offer that is far lower than the asking price is practically guaranteed to alienate and insult the sellers. Asking and offering prices should be based on recent sales prices of comparable homes.
The purchase and sale of real estate is not a winner-take-all situation. There needs to be give and take from both parties. What may seem irrelevant to one party may be a significant issue to the other. Each party looks at the home with a different view. While the cabinets in the kitchen may be satisfactory for the seller, they may be a turn-off for the buyer. However, for the buyer to tell the seller that they look terrible doesn’t help their case during the negotiation process.
Finally, a word to the wise: buyers shouldn’t trash-talk the seller's home, and sellers should not take it personally when a buyer does. Each party should respect the other priorities and be prepared to compromise. "Win-win" doesn't mean both the buyer and the seller will get everything they want. It means both sides will win some and give some.