How Much Should I Lowball

You may want to offer as much as 25 percent or more less than the asking price. However, that's usually just a test offer, trying to see what the water's like. In all but a very cold market, a seller's likely to simply reject it out of hand. Indeed, the seller may simply ignore the offer and not counter it, and that could mean the end of the deal for you. Often the goal of the initial lowball is to get a counter-offer from the seller. Try to offer enough to entice the seller to at least respond.

The counter-offer can be very revealing. If it's just a thousand dollars or so off the asking price (or right at the asking price), you can assume that this seller won't budge much. Then it's time to fish or cut bait. Either move up to the seller's price, or move on.

Remember, to succeed with making lowball offers you must be willing to make a lot of them. You have to play the odds. You have to expect that most of the time they will simply be ignored.

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