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If you're house-hunting and are ever tempted to make a really, really lowball offer, you might consider these tips, from a recent Time Moneyland piece, before you pull the trigger.

According to the story — and according to what I hear from local real estate agents anecdotally — lowballing to an extreme degree can backfire in some cases.

But if you do make a lowball offer, it may have a better chance of actually being accepted if a few of the following are true:

— If it has "some basis" in reality. By which the piece means, if the offer has some connection to recently sold similar homes in the area.

— If you can document those similar cases. The piece recommends including them in your offer, as explaining your reasoning for a lowball offer goes a long way in making it more palatable to a seller.

— If the home's been on the market long enough that the seller may be starting to understand their asking price is itself founded in fantasy. Agents describe that as sellers getting "educated by the market."

— If the seller wants to sell badly enough to take the price, and if she or he is in a financial position that allows for accepting the lowball offer.

You can get a lot more details and insights in the piece itself here, if you care to read further.

And speaking of good buyer strategy, check out this list of tips I gathered from local agents for a recent story I did for the State Journal documenting local cases in which sellers were still getting multiple offers and/or selling quickly, with or without a big profit.

These examples aren't meant to imply such an experience is typical for many sellers today. But the story explains the circumstances — a great neighborhood, a house in top shape that's well staged and other factors — that can still exist to make sales more competitive.

And for those situations where an actual bidding war may occur, there are a number of smart things that buyers can do to help ensure their bid is the one that gets accepted. Learn more about that in the tip box with the story that I mentioned above.


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