What To Do When Your Offer Is Rejected: Tips On How To Become A Better Home Buyer

Once you finally decide to place an offer on a house, you have to be ready for what comes next. In a slow market, your offer has a high chance of getting accepted given that there is little to no competition. But in a hot market where bidding wars are won by people offering to pay all cash or significantly above the list price, and promising hefty down payments—you may have to come to terms with the possibility of your offer getting rejected.

We’d advise against taking it too personally, though. Rejections happen all the time, and it doesn’t have to be the end of the world! Here are different ways of dealing with a rejection, and how to move forward depending on your situation:

#1 If you haven’t given your best offer yet, consider pushing for the highest you can go—just make sure that it is a price you can still afford, with terms that feel comfortable to you. If you can’t stretch your budget any further, think of other ways you can make transactions easier for the seller. You can either offer less contingencies or agree to move in at the seller’s most convenient date.

It is not uncommon for home buyers to save their best offer for later, and many would leave the first offer with enough room to increase when needed. If that was your strategy, the logical next step would be to make your best and final offer, and patiently wait (again) for the seller to reconsider.

#2 If your offer was rejected for a better one, you can make an offer to be in the backup position. This means that you’ll be the next buyer in line should the first buyer walk away from the deal.

If the seller accepts your offer as a backup, just make sure to get it in writing. This way, the seller will have legal obligation to sell you the property if the first deal doesn’t push through --  and for the terms you originally submitted. You can also include a right-to-refuse clause which protects you from being bound to purchase the property, while still being the seller’s first option when the current deal falls through.

#3 If the rejection happened even with your best possible offer, it may be time to discuss further options with your agent.

Yes, that house could’ve been your dream home, but in a tight market, there are a lot of things beyond your control. The best thing you can do is to strategize with your agent so that you can be in a more competitive position for the next house you’ll be gunning for.

1. Don’t linger on your previous rejection. Thinking of “that home” as “The One That Got Away” will prevent you from giving other houses a fair chance. That being said, it is important to move on completely and accept that you’ll have to find a different dream home.

2. Don’t get emotionally attached to a house before you’ve even sealed the deal. Now that you know that you can’t get the house just because you really, really want it -- always remind yourself to NOT get carried away on your first visit. Imagining how you’ll furnish the house and thinking of the best shade of paint for that lovely master’s bedroom -- all these will lead to even more heartbreak when you don’t get your way.

However, this doesn’t mean that your should never get excited about viewing a home. Just keep your hopes at bay and don’t make any renovation plans just yet.

3. Take note of what made you love the first home. Instead of dwelling on the rejection, use the first home as basis for the next home you may choose. List down the features that made the first home desirable to you. Just because you didn’t get the house doesn’t mean that you’ll never find another one with similar qualities.

4. Learn from the experience. Again, it is important to communicate with your agent about how you can make your next offer stand a better chance at getting accepted. Maybe next time, you can start with a stronger offer, perhaps by agreeing to pay for your own title policy, or not making the seller too many requests. Whatever it is you think you can improve, discuss it with your agent and come up with a solid strategy.