Share this article!

Most homebuyers understand the perils of making a financial misstep like buying more house than they can afford or ending up with a money pit that requires unexpected, big-budget repairs. After all, buying a home is likely the most important financial decision you’ll ever make, and you want to walk away from the process feeling like you made a good deal.

But there’s one less obvious move many homebuyers are tempted to make that real estate agents far and wide would strongly advise against: submitting a lowball offer for the heck of it.

“It’s so common for buyers to see what the sellers paid themselves, realize the seller didn’t put money into making improvements, and decide that they should pay less,” says Ann Robertson, a licensed real estate agent at Barley and Barley in Washington, DC. “But an increase from what a house cost when it was last purchased and what it is on the market for now is not a 1-to-1 comparison. A lot happens in the market and in the economy that affects prices.”

“Pricing judgments are complex and based on deep and broad price comparisons and data,” Robertson says. “You also have to look at how many days it has been on the market, how hot or cold that market is, and how many offers and viewings it’s received.”

That’s not to say that submitting a lowball offer is taboo—you just need to know what you’re doing.