Flushing Out the Seller’s Bottom Line (or trying to)
Listing agents (representing the Seller) know that there are three cards you never show the other side: 1) the client’s bottom-line price; 2) their preferred purchase agreement terms (closing date, down payment, earnest money, inspection contingency, etc.); and 3) their motivation.
Which doesn’t mean that Buyers don’t try to find out.
One of the most common ploys, in the early, informal stages of negotiating, is for a would-be Buyer to verbally ask (through their agent), “Would the Seller take $___ for their home?”
The problem with such a hypothetical question is that it flushes out the Seller’s price, but doesn’t obligate the Buyer to buy.
If the Seller answers “Yes,” the chances are good that any resulting offer ” assuming there is one ” will come in below the just-tested price.
All of which is why an experienced agent will parry the question by asking the Buyer, “are you offering $___?”
If they answer affirmatively, their next sentence is, “Great! Put it in writing.”
If the Buyer subsequently makes an offer at that price, and the Seller agrees to it, there’s a deal.
However, if no offer is forthcoming, the Seller hasn’t revealed their position.
See also, “Buyer’s Agent: “So, What’s the Seller’s Real Bottom Line??”; “Is the Seller’s Price Soft? Two Ways to Find Out“; “Written vs. Verbal Counter-Offers“; “The Key to Successful Negotiating: “Getting to Yes?” Or, “Getting to No?”; and “Not-So-Done Deals: The Downside of Verbal Negotiations ” & Purchase Agreements with an Undotted “i” or Uncrossed “t”.