Options upon Receipt of an Offer
Q - When I receive an offer, what options do I have?
A - When you receive an offer, you have three choices:
Choice 1 -- Accept - Don't even consider the price until you review the conditions and timing. If these critical items - conditions and timing - are satisfactory, you should then look at the price offered. There is some value in these items being satisfactory so evaluate the price in that light. If all three are acceptable - conditions, timing and price - sign your acceptance. Remember that as soon as you make any changes to the contract, regardless of how minor, it becomes a new contract.
Choice 2 - Counter Offer - If there are elements to the contract that are absolutely unacceptable, you may wish to make a counter offer and adjust those elements so that they are more acceptable to you. Again, keep in mind, any changes made to the contract, makes this a new contract. The buyers are no longer committed to their original offer. If you counter their offer, the buyers have the same choices - they can accept, counter or reject.
Choice 3 - Reject - I rarely suggest rejecting an offer outright because that closes the door to any further negotiations. Sometimes offers begin with the buyer and seller very far apart but when parties negotiate in good faith, this can often bring about an offer acceptable to both parties.
If your real estate agent is only representing you (and not in a dual agency situation) he/she can spell out your options and the consequences BUT you are the decision maker.
However, if the real estate agent is representing both the buyer and the seller, Canadian regulations state that the agent must not favour either party. In effect, the buyer and the seller are on their own without the benefit of the agent's advice. The real estate agent cannot help you in the negotiations.