Calm Your Buyers' Fears

What do you do when your buyer's offer is rejected ? They might want to throw in the towel, but you can keep them on track.

June 2, 2015

The process of buying a home is one of those proverbial roller coasters. The highs and lows can be dramatic for buyers who put their all into finding the right property. When their offer is rejected, it can feel to them like their house hunt has reached an impasse. But it’s your job as a real estate professional to keep them on track, and doing that requires taking as much emotion out of the process as possible.


For newer agents, learning how to manage your client’s disappointment through various setbacks in their search will take experience. But Jeff White, a sales associate at Alliance Real Estate in Bismarck, N.D., has some wisdom to impart: When your client gets upset, give them space to cool down — but don’t let them sulk for too long.


White, who started in real estate last year, says the most challenging part of his first year in the business was learning how to keep his clients focused after a letdown. He was working with a couple who were first-time home buyers living in an apartment with their two children, both under 5 years old. They found a 2,080-square-foot, four-bedroom, two-bathroom ranch they thought made the perfect starter home for their budding family. But there were multiple bidders, and when the couple’s offer was rejected, they needed a breather.

“At that point, they decided to take a week off from looking at homes,” White recalls. “It almost felt like a grieving period for them.”

He was willing to allow his clients to decompress but knew he couldn’t let the couple take off too much time. They could lose sight of their goal if they got too far off the path of their search. After a few days, White invited the couple to meet at his office.

They primarily needed to vent. White listened, and then reassured them the right home would come along. He reminded them that “as long as they’re paying rent, they’re paying someone else’s mortgage,” and that money could be better spent. When he told them a house is an investment, the couple had an “aha moment,” White recalls. “Once they were able to see that buying a home needs to be more than just an emotional purchase, they were ready to look again.”

White found a better property within days. “I knew what they were looking for, and I knew the perfect home for them had just come on the market,” he says. The listing was a four-bedroom ranch with a two-car garage and large yard, and it was a 15-minute commute to the husband’s job. What’s more, it was cheaper than the first home.

“It was even more perfect than the home they missed out on and was exactly in the neighborhood they wanted to live,” White says. Initially, the couple wasn’t sure they wanted to look at the property because they felt they weren’t ready, but White persuaded them. Within hours of viewing, they submitted an offer — and they ended up closing on the house in April.

“I still get a random text message every once in a while letting me know how much they love their new home,” he says.

White says this experience taught him that remaining positive is critical to success after any rejected offer. When your clients feel like giving up, you have to be the strong one. “No matter what each deal throws at you, you cannot throw in the towel,” White says. “There is no giving up or walking away. Your clients have hired you to be their advocate, expert, voice of reason, and confidant. This is something I take a lot of pride in.”

freelance writer

Mary Beth Klatt is a freelance writer with a passion for architecture and home design.