As we expected, the sellers of the lot we wanted came back with a counter-offer. The property had been listed for $255,000; and we had come in with a relatively lowball offer of $208,500.

They came back with a counter-offer at $235,000. In all honesty, they came down more than we expected they would. The realtor cited some other comparable properties, and noted that the sellers had turned down other offers in the $230s that weren’t as “clean” as ours (in other words, they were contingent on getting a loan, or selling another property, or something else).

So now we had to decide whether we wanted to counter-the-counter. We likely would have taken the property at or near the list price, since it was head-and-shoulders above other lots we saw listed for $300k, at least for our purposes. So we were playing with house money at this point. 

On one hand, if we could reply with another counter and save, say, $3,000 with one exchange of emails, it seemed silly to ignore those kinds of savings for such little effort. 

On the other hand, by rejecting the counter and replacing it with our own, the sellers would no longer be obligated to sell the house to us for the $235k. They could decide we are too much trouble or take another offer that came along. And at this point, anxiously refreshing our email accounts was getting exhausting. We wanted the lot and didn’t want to risk losing it.

So we accepted their counter. We were under contract! We drank bubbles and celebrated the milestone and started thinking about what was to come.