Last week, we surveyed readers for their best handlers for when buyers ask: “Why do I have to offer more?” The top strategies readers offered included reminding buyers that the cost isn’t an immediate out-of-pocket expense, pushing the FOMO button and pointing to data to make your case with gun-shy buyers.

Last week, Inman surveyed readers on our site and on Facebook for their best responses to buyers who ask: “Why do I have to offer more?”

Pushing the FOMO (fear of missing out) button can sometimes work in situations like these. Readers offered a range of ways to stir up this emotion.

Another recommended response is making it very clear that the data argues for a higher offer or pointing out that higher offers are paid off over many years, rather than on-the-spot, out-of-pocket costs.

Read on to see some of our favorite suggested comebacks. Be sure to only use those that you believe are accurate and that align with your values.

We might offend the seller 

  • You don’t have to offer more. But you do run the risk of paying more if the seller is offended by your initial offer. You set the tone of negotiations with your initial offer.
  • The seller will be annoyed and not submit a counteroffer.
  • If this is what you want, then I will write it up. But I’ll tell you right now, your offer is not going to get accepted. This offer will alienate the sellers, and they might not even want to work with you at list price in the future.

Put them in the seller’s shoes

  • Let me ask you this: If you were the seller, would you accept your offer?
  • If you were the seller, what would you do if an offer came in this low?

Leading the horse to the water

  • Can you see yourself living in this home? (Yes.) Do you want to make sure we don’t miss out on it? (Yes.) So, there are multiple offers, and we’re in a strong seller’s market. Do you want to make sure we make the strongest offer we can? (Yes.) To do that, I think we need to offer $X more than asking. What would you like to do?

Push the FOMO button

  • Do you want to buy this house or learn a lesson?
  • How much do you want this home? Would you be okay if you didn’t get it?
  • Do you want this home? If you really want this one, an offer this low is not likely to let the sellers know that.
  • You don’t have to offer more; however, it depends on if you want the house or not. Do you want this house, or will you simply take any house that will accept your offer?
  • The more you offer, the more likely they will accept.
  • How bad do you want this house?
  • Are you going to be disappointed if you don’t get this home?
  • How will you feel if you let me know in two days that you decided to offer more, and I tell you someone else already did, and they got the house?
  • Are you going to be disappointed if you don’t get this home?

What’s $X amortized over many years? 

  • The market is going to decide what this home is worth, and you have to decide what your absolute ceiling for this house is. If your best and final is $405,000, and you later find out someone else got it for $408,000 will you be okay with that? Keeping in mind, the difference amortized over 30 years is less than Starbucks for the week.
  • If you really love the property and another $25,000 will do it, the extra cost per month is negligible. Don’t lose this home over the price of a pizza.
  • At what price would you be upset if you lost this place for?
  • Would you kick yourself if you lost this over $X?

Concerned you’ll look like a dupe?

  • A concern buyers sometimes have is others thinking they overpaid. One reader wrote in recommending that agents arm buyers with scripts for when inquisitive people in their lives dig, such as “Dream homes don’t come cheap,” and “It’s a competitive market, and we won.” But, of course, you’ll have to probe more to determine the true objection first.

Because … data

  • My experience with making what is referred to as a lowball offer in the kind of market we have been in for the past three or four years is your chances of success are less than 10 percent. My goal is to help you find the best property to fit your needs, help you purchase it at the best possible price and with the least amount of frustration. Based on my research of homes in this market, they are selling within 23 days for 96 percent of list price. If you really want this place, it is my recommendation that you make your offer in that price range. Based on your understanding of the market and what is available in your price range, shall we write it up and lessen your chances of losing out on this one as well?
  • This is a seller’s market. With 16.1 percent lower inventory than last year at this time, we have to go in strong, or we will be beat out by other serious buyers.
  • In our current market, and with the comparable properties I have shown you, if you really want this home, you will need to make a better offer.
  • One reader said they show buyers what other homes are selling for versus the asking price. Even the most stubborn buyers come around by the time their third offer gets rejected and another one gets accepted. The reader cautioned, “Don’t give up on those buyers. One way or another they will realize that they aren’t going to get a steal.”

Or instead …

  • It’s better for you to ask the seller for closing costs because that lessens the amount of money coming out of your pocket now.

Editor’s note: These responses were mostly given anonymously and therefore are not attributed to anyone specifically. Responses were also edited for grammar and clarity. Inman doesn’t endorse any specific method, and regulations may vary from state to state. 

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