Rejection can be hurtful in any form, regardless of whether it is the sting of heartbreak, a job interview ending in disaster, or an offer on a property that wasn’t accepted.

That feeling of rejection can be powerful. In fact, studies show that rejection can manifest in the body almost in the same way as physical pain.

There are lots of reasons an offer on a house could have been rejected, but in today’s sellers’ market it is likely you were outbid by another buyer. Since sellers have so many offers to choose from, they have the upper hand when it comes to setting the price for their home — and selecting the bid that appeals to them the most.

Unfortunately for you, that means you have lots of competition and need to put your best foot forward.

Don’t be discouraged! Your first offer may not have been your best, but we’re here to teach you how to make every offer count.

What to pay attention to next time you make an offer


For “most” sellers, their “walk away net” is the ultimate deciding factor. That doesn’t always mean “the highest bid wins”, though.

The highest bid may fare best in a contest of many bidders, such as when a seller has a property that receives many offers at varying prices. However, if a listing has been on the market for a while — say, a few weeks — it gives a buyer the opportunity to place a conditional offer on the listing. That’s an offer that is fulfilled only if a specific requirement is met by either party, such as making repairs to the property or terms more in favor of a buyer.

If this isn’t the case and you’re found yourself in a bidding war of many buyers, you may need to increase your offer. The key is to come in with a clean and strong offer that will let the seller know you’re serious right off the bat.

The Seller

Back before face to face meeting were completed over Zoom, people were able to get to know one another a little throughout the buying and selling process. It’s not quite as easy now, but still a vital aspect of real estate.

When you make an offer on a listing, don’t go in blind. You’ll have a leg up on half of the other bidders if you get to know the seller’s interests, motivations, and lifestyle — even marginally. These are factors of our lives that unconsciously drive us to do the things we do, including put our houses up for sale.

For example, most people sell their homes with the intent of moving into another they have already closed on. They are probably interested in an offer that yields them the highest profit, with the smoothest closing. They will conform to a standard process using a real estate agent, title company, or attorney.

On the other hand, a property that has been foreclosed on is has a seller / bank who is more interested in a quick closing and a cash transaction. The bank wants to unload the property from their books as quickly as possible. The shorter close timeframes and less contingent offers are those that typically win the bids.

What you have to offer

The fickle and currently seller-dominated housing market can attract some very picky homeowners, for whom a strong offer isn’t necessarily enough.

If you made a strong offer — well above the listing price — and you’re still wondering why you never got that call back, you may have bid too early. Some homeowners want to get to know you.

It’s not uncommon for a homeowner to have a sentimental attachment to a home. Homes are not just for living in, they’re for raising families, celebrating milestones, grieving tragedies, and so much more.

In some homes, there are generations worth of memories, and especially for homeowners who have lived there a long time, those can be tough to say goodbye to.

It’s important to present yourself well to a homeowner. Make a great first impression — turn on the charm. Show them you’ll take care of their home. If you have a family, introduce them!

Of course, sometimes a homeowner will make demands that have nothing to do with you at all, but with their unwillingness to spend money. Maybe you have observed some renovations that need to be done, or a home inspector has pointed out some repairs that are required. The homeowner might ask you to pay for these. If you refuse, they could move forward with another offer if you don’t come to terms and find someone who is willing to pay for these expenses.

So you have to consider, “is the home I want worth the extra expense, or should I move on and find something better?” That’s up to you.

Follow-up with the seller

Although it’s crucial to make a good first impression as a buyer, it’s also vitally important to stand out by keeping communications open after you make an offer.

Make sure the seller has access to all your regular contact information and knows where to reach you. You can bet you have lots of competition, so consider leaving a note to remember you by.

Follow up with the seller after they have had a few days to consider your offer. Call or email, and be friendly and conversational. If they make a counter-offer, it means they’re serious about making a deal. You should make your next offer one they can’t refuse.

Be friendly and open but don’t come off too strong. Give the seller room to breathe. Remember, they likely have multiple offers and are probably fielding calls from several people. You want to be someone they want to talk to.

Having an offer rejected can feel like defeat, but don’t fret. There are always steps to be taken to reach improvement. The housing market is ever-changing and difficult to navigate, but ultimately you will find your place — and your dream home.

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