Real Estate by Debbie Reynolds: Can You Have Too Many Counteroffers?

Can You Have Too Many Counteroffers?

Are Too Many Counteroffers Detrimental?

NegotaitingBuyers want to get the best deal possible when they buy. Sellers want to get the best deal possible when they sell. If a buyer starts low with their first offer, there may need to be some closing of the gap to reach an agreement. with the seller. This is done by counteroffering.

Negotiations are not limited to one or two times. They can go back and forth between buyers and sellers so many times that the clients may lose track and it makes it hard on the agents to keep up. The goal is to reach an agreement that everyone can live with.

Some low offers are so low that sellers say they want to reject it. We agents encourage keeping the lines of communication open by making a counteroffers. Even if the seller is unwilling to take any price lower than a full price offer, a counter is the way to send the message back to the buyer. Low-ball offers often end up at acceptable terms after a few counteroffers have gone back and forth a few times. 

When representing my clients, I strive to keep the counteroffers going back and forth until agreement has been met. As to how many counteroffers there can be, there is no limit. Is it detrimental to have too many? Not if the buyer and seller are being open-minded and want to reach an agreement. 

Sometimes it takes just one counteroffer and then other times it takes several. However, it is good to remember that another buyer can make an offer during the countering process and it can stop the negotiations and kick out the latest counter in play. Prior to acceptance, an offer can be rescinded in writing at anytime. A seller is not obligated to continue with a counter. If a better offer is presented, the seller may choose to take that offer or counter it. He will then notify the first buyer or buyer's agent that the counter has been rejected or rescinded.


It requires patience on the part of both the buyers and sellers. When the negotiations stall out, the countering is over and one party will likely reject it.

Make sure that the details are clearly spelled out in each counteroffer and there is no confusion. All parties need to know what they are agreeing to do. 

There are no limits to the number of counteroffers. The only detriment to making a counteroffer is that another offer can come in and beat out the countering buyer.

Contact the Real Debbie Reynolds for a home in the Clarksville TN or call Debbie Reynolds to begin your home search at 931-320-6730.

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Comment balloon 42 commentsDebbie Reynolds • July 09 2018 02:29AM


I had one deal that had 9 counter offers.

When done both were very happy.

I was a pivitol part of the offers and it was a dual agency to boot!

Both parties said it was the smoothest transaction they had ever done!

Posted by William Feela, Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No. (WHISPERING PINES REALTY) 3 months ago

Hi Debbie- good informative post. As long as the lines of communication are open and no other offers come in there's no reason not to try for both parties to have a win-win situation. 

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) 3 months ago

I love this mindset.  As long as a buyer has interest in a property, a counter is much better than rejection.  You can't blame people for trying to get a property at a steal, but if they really love the place, many will be willing to come up.  Without a counter, you'll never know!  

Posted by John Meussner, #MortgageMadeEasy Walnut Creek, CA 484-680-4852 (Mason-McDuffie Mortgage, Conventional Loans, Jumbo Loans, FHA, 203(k), USDA, VA,) 3 months ago

Hi Debbie

This is a great discussion and on a topic I don’t recall seeing addressed. It really comes down to the parties involved and the issues being addressed, and it’s not always just about price. I think the most I have been involved in was 6, and it all got resolved. 


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (Solutions Real Estate ) 3 months ago

Debbie-Good subject! As long as I feel both parties are dealing honestly and not trying to "pull" something, it can be an exciting and worthwhile process.

Posted by Carolyn Roland-Historic Homes For Sale In Delaware and S. Chester County PA, Carolyn Roland, GRI, CRS (Patterson-Schwartz Real Estate) 3 months ago

Typically there is at least one counter offer in every transaction.  Sometimes it's several.  You just need to be mindful you can antagonize a seller with too many counter offers.  They may interpret the negotiation as a lack of real interest.

Posted by Matthew Klinowski, PA, Golf Community Real Estate Specialist (Downing-Frye) 3 months ago

So true Debbie Reynolds patience and experience are the key factors to the successful negotiations!

Posted by Lisa Von Domek, ....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless! (Lisa Von Domek Team) 3 months ago

And, Congratulations on another well deserved Feature!


Posted by Lisa Von Domek, ....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless! (Lisa Von Domek Team) 3 months ago

Most I've seen: 14. In the end, there was only $1,500  difference on a $1.1 million offer and no, neither side would accept any concessions from an agent pitching in against the balance through commission reduction.

It was probably for the better- the two parties had such resentment that an accepted offer would have been just the first of many disagreements that could have soured the deal.

Posted by Chuck Willman, Utah Homes (Utah Homes) 3 months ago

A low offer is just a starting point for negotiation, and there could be a lot of counters before an agreement is reached. I prefer keeping the number of back and forths as low as possible; I think both sides can get frustrated if there are too many counter-offers.

Good post!

Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, 3 months ago

Debbie, this is a great post.  I've found that seller exhaustion and frustration can make them their own worst enemy.  It's our job to keep all the balls in the air to a successful end.  Thank you for this post, Debbie!

Posted by Faith LaRosse, Serving Berks, Chester & Montgomery Counties (Springer Realty Group) 3 months ago

There are occasions...and we never suggest starting out that way when a Buyer or Sellers decides...enough is enough...especially if there is no effort to compromise.

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) 3 months ago

Every situation is different, Debbie.  As agents, we should do our best to advise our clients to the best of our ability.  The best way to do this is by keeping our ears and eyes open to determine the other parties motivation as best as we can.

Posted by Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales) 3 months ago

The more back and forth happens the more tedious it gets with emotions running high. Too low means sellers don't take offer serious and the agent or broker has to point out to make it just a few trips to the well, back and forth or the deal goes the other way. The offers go on deaf ears. The seller digs in and your buyer is the last guy and gal on earth they would sell to because they are insulated.

Posted by Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573, Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker (MOOERS REALTY) 3 months ago

great reminder to bueyrs and sellers that it's not done till it's done - 

Posted by Lise Howe, Assoc. Broker and Attorney Licensed in DC, MD, VA, (Keller Williams Capital Properties) 3 months ago

Good morning Debbie Reynolds, it's important to keep the communication flowing between both parties. As you said, it's not always the price. Congratulations on the feature, well deserved!

Posted by Beth Atalay, Cam Realty of Clermont FL (Cam Realty and Property Management) 3 months ago

Hi Debbie... I've found that too many counter-offers lead to "fatigue" and I've seen both buyers and sellers just pull out when it dragged on for too long.

Posted by Nina Hollander, Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage | Charlotte, NC) 3 months ago

There can be unlimited counter offers but they can also come to a halt if the seller refuses to counter. I like to tell all my sellers before an offer even comes in to counter every offer no matter how low. I am seeing sellers who are not told this that reject everything, not a good way to sell or come to a deal

Posted by Scott Godzyk, One of Manchester NH's Leading Agents (Godzyk Real Estate Services) 3 months ago

Congratulations, Debbie, on your feature recognition. 

Thank you very much for sharing your advice and your experience.

Posted by Roy Kelley, Roy and Dolores Kelley Photographs (Realty Group Referrals) 3 months ago

Hi Debbie Reynolds In the part of my business that is ag land sales...counters are commonplace...and almost all are done verbally until a price is negotiated and then put in writing; sometimes on a counter and sometimes by rewriting the contract.

No need for anyone to lecture me on how or why that is done...let's just say my duty is to have happy sellers and buyers.

I love your last sentence of your blog....The only detriment to making a counteroffer is that another offer can come in and beat out the countering buyer.  I would add the words "countering seller" as well.

I had a buyer who insisted on countering again despite my warnings...and another, stronger, offer came in to me during that phase.  That was an expensive lesson for that buyer. 

Posted by Mike McCann - Nebraska Farm Land Broker, Farm Land For Sale 308-627-3700 or 800-241-3940 (Mike McCann - Broker, Farmland Broker-Auctioneer Serving Rural Nebraska) 3 months ago

too much of anything is questionable. How about just getting the job/need done?

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) 3 months ago

I don't like to see a lot of counteroffers between two parties, it often raises a red flag that even if we get under contract, there will be further negotiations on other stuff throughout the transaction.

Posted by Brian England, MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ (Arizona Focus Realty) 3 months ago

Then there are the buyers  that don't want to counter at all. They like to offer their best price and be done. Personally, I think some negotiation is good since both sides feel like they had a say.

Posted by Margaret Goss, Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate (Baird & Warner Real Estate) 3 months ago

Hi Debbie,
Nice post on counters.  It's always a risk to go back and forth too much for the very reason you mentioned at the end... another offer coming in.  It's part of the game people play but it's not without risk.

Posted by Carol Williams, "Customized Mentoring & Marketing Services" (U.S.: I specialize in helping agents who have been in the business 2 years or less create a thriving business.) 3 months ago

Great, post, Debbie! It is very true. It sometimes is once or twice, sometimes more like 7-8! It depends on the buyers and sellers and the situation!

Posted by Marney Kirk, Towson, Maryland Real Estate (Cummings & Co. Realtors) 3 months ago

Good Morning Debbie Reynolds 

In my mind, an offer is made to indicate a willingness to negotiate. There cannot be too many counteroffers.

Posted by Doug Dawes, Your Personal Realtor® (Keller Williams Realty - Topsfield, MA) 3 months ago

Debbie I have had is work both ways with counteroffers. If the buyers and sellers stay open and don't get emotional it's good to keep the communication going. Years ago we had a buyer that finally had it after the seller crossed off yet more stuff in the contract - I think we were at 6 counteroffers at that point. They walked away and bought another home. Seller waited quiet some time to get another offer and I am sure he wishes he hadn't been such a hard headed guy with my buyers.

Posted by Anna Banana Kruchten CRB, CRS 602-380-4886, Arizona's Top Banana! (Phoenix Property Shoppe) 3 months ago

Hello Debbie --- this is an interesting post and often it is based on "current events".

Posted by Michael Jacobs, Los Angeles Pasadena Area Real Estate 818.516.4393 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) 3 months ago

I think the counter offer process is a indication that both sides are serious and there will probably be a meeting of the minds at some point. 


Posted by Jane Peters, Connecting you to the L.A. real estate market (Home Jane Realty) 3 months ago

Debbie Reynolds at the heart of any real estate negotiations, I believe you have to look at the individual circumstances.  First being the market you are in, and your clients tolerance levels. 


I have seen multiple offers be pushed so hard by a seller they end up with no offers when it is said and done.

I have seen a buyer negotiate with a seller for two weeks on a home to be trumped by another offer. The seller was no longer interested in selling to that buyer after being pushed so hard.

Depends on the circumstances and the people.  There is a breaking point in negotiations where you can push to hard.  The silly part is in both of these cases very little money was involved but both parties dug in their heels.

Posted by Kevin Vitali, Helping Massachusetts Home Buyers and Home Sellers (EXIT Realty- Massachusetts Short Sales & Residential Sales) 3 months ago

It used to drive me bonkers because we had numbered counter offers and ALL of them became part of the contract.  Ugh.  But several years ago that changed in Georgia and now when a counter offer is written is written to reflect ONLY those changes in terms from the original offer NOT changes based on the last counter offer.  This weekend we wrote two offers... one accepted without change and the other we have countered back and forth about 4 times and it's still going and hopefully no one else is out there to swoop in and get it.  It's been on the market a really long while.

Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) 3 months ago

Thank you for your excellent description of the counteroffer process, and how there can be one or many counteroffers before there may be an agreement or failure to agree. Our market is going through a change right now. We will see more counter offers now that we are seeing fewer generously priced offers with no contingencies.

Posted by John Juarez, ePRO, SRES, GRI, PMN (The Medford Real Estate Team) 3 months ago

No one likes leaving money on the table, and both parties always want to feel like they got the better end of the negotiation.  It's human nature. 

It is frustrating though, to negotiate back and forth for days, then reach a stalemate.  No one wins then!


Posted by Tim Ball (EXP Realty, LLC.) 3 months ago

Good morning Debbie Reynolds,

Congratulations on a well deserved featured post. Keeping lines of communication open between buyers and sellers is key if you hope to come to agreement.

Posted by Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.346.1799) 3 months ago

Everytime that a buyer or seller counters, it essentially rejects the previous offer.  It is a risk, but most of the time, it all works out.  Thank you for the post.

Posted by Karen Feltman, Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa (Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group) 3 months ago

Counters and overpriced listings drive many agents loco. Nonetheless, talking and talking often gets you to the finish line. Thanks Debbie for reminding us.  

Posted by James (Jim) Lawson, DBA, Broker Associate, RSPS, BPOR, HI & PE ( LLC) 3 months ago

Glad you pointed out that while Buyer A is countering back and forth, a better offer could come in from Buyer B.

Posted by Jon Quist, Tucson's BUYERS ONLY Realtor since 1996 (REALTY EXECUTIVES TUCSON ELITE) 3 months ago

I think you can be working toward your detriment if you do have that many offers.

Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) 3 months ago

I have often had sellers get angry and want to reject low offers. I always tell them "Don't be offended by this low offer, be offended by all the people that looked at your house and didn't make an offer. Here we have someone that wants your house. An offer is just a starting place, lets see if we can get this to something acceptable to you." I also remind them that other offers can still come in and they loss nothing by countering.

One thing I will do if we reach an agreement after several coounters is to rewrite it into one counter form. I do this because I have had lenders & title people get thgings wrong because they looked at one or some counter forms but not all.

Posted by Patrick Willard 3 months ago

My experience has been that going back and forth for days gets very tiring and frustrating for both parties. Seems someone always wants to 'win' .  That's why splitting the difference works so often

Posted by Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR, Experience Agent in Kansas City Metro area (Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes) 3 months ago

Luckily with CTM contracts the amount of countering can be an arbitrarily high number if need be.  But at a point you want to agree on something instead of endlessly negotiating back and forth. 

Posted by Kevin Mackessy, Dedicated. Qualified. Local. (Blue Olive Properties, LLC) 3 months ago

Hi Debbie Reynolds - 

Great discussion!  Not a big fan of too many counter-offers. Sometimes things get missed or convoluted. This can be too risky for both parties for all the reasons mentioned.  When there is too much back and forth, I prefer writing a new contract if I represent the buyer. 

Posted by Sheri Sperry - MCNE®, (928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR® (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) 2 months ago