How To Respond To a Real Estate Counteroffer

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Published June 26, 2023
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So, you’ve been looking to buy a house and put your all into submitting the best offer you can make to the seller. But instead of accepting your offer, the seller comes back with a counteroffer proposing different terms.

Here’s what you need to know about how counteroffers work and how you can respond to one.

Why Sellers Might Counteroffer

It’s likely that you’ll receive a counteroffer from the seller after making a solid bid on a home. Here are some of the commonly negotiated factors in a counteroffer:

Possible Responses to a Counteroffer

Once you’ve received the counteroffer, you’ll have several options:

  • You can accept the counteroffer.
  • You can counter the counteroffer.
  • You can walk away from the deal.

Typically, if the seller has made no concessions and won’t budge on the price, you can either accept or walk away. But if the seller has made any concessions, then you may have space to negotiate further. Keep in mind there are no limits to the number of counteroffers you can submit.

“When responding to a counteroffer, carefully consider the terms and conditions of the offer,” says Denis Smykalov, a real estate broker at Wolsen Real Estate in Miami. “If the terms are unacceptable, you may need to counteroffer and continue negotiations. If the terms are acceptable, you can move forward with the purchase. Make sure to work with your real estate agent and legal representatives to ensure that the final agreement is in your best interest.”

How To Respond To a Counteroffer on a House

Seller’s ResponseBuyer’s Options
Refuses to lower price.This often means the seller is unwilling to negotiate, so you can either accept their terms or walk away.
Makes a small price adjustment.If the seller makes any concessions, then there may be space to negotiate further, and you can consider your own counteroffer or accept the seller’s terms.
Refuses contingencies.While you may not need certain contingencies, it can be risky to waive a home inspection or home appraisal contingency. You can cancel the deal or agree to waive contingencies — just be aware of the risks before you do.
Refuses to pay any of your closing costs.It’s customary for the buyer to pay their own closing costs, so this might not be worth killing the deal over.
Asks for more earnest money.Your earnest money gets credited to your down payment or closing costs anyway. So, it might be worth paying more in earnest money if it will get the deal done.
Asks to change the closing date.If you aren’t on a strict deadline, this may be worth accommodating. But if you’re on a sensitive timeline for closing, you may have to walk away.

When To Walk Away

It’s important not to let your emotional attachment to the home lead you into committing to a mortgage you can’t afford.

Here are some scenarios where it might make more sense to walk away:

  • The home inspection reveals major issues with the home.
  • The appraisal comes in lower than what you’re offering.
  • Homeowners insurance will be too expensive.
  • The title search reveals past claims or liens against the property.
  • The deed restrictions are too complicated.


Here are answers to some common questions about responding to a real estate counteroffer.


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