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Negotiating Tips

A property's listing price is a starting point for your offer to purchase that home. You can offer something below the listing price, but the seller might not accept that offer. When negotiating price, consider such factors as how long the property has been on the market; how quickly houses are currently selling; location; and timing. A local market active with many buyers puts the seller in a better position, and vice versa. Regardless, don't be afraid to negotiate!

Even after you have an accepted offer, you can use your home inspection report to claim replacement or repair values for items that are not in good condition. If an old roof needs repair, ask that the expense be deducted from the sales price of the home—the seller may not agree, but these are important requests to be made. Negotiate which appliances or fixtures will remain in the house after the sale and which will be removed, adjusting the sales price accordingly.

Negotiations have several steps

  1. The initial asking price, or list price by the seller
  2. An initial purchase offer by you, the buyer, with inspection, financing and other contingencies
  3. Acceptance of the offer or a counter-offer by the seller

Counteroffers

The counteroffer process can take some time as you and the seller agree on a price and begin the home inspection and financing phases. If the inspection(s) revealed serious defects, you should submit a new offer that reflects any added expenses you’ll take on after purchasing the home.

Like any negotiation, the seller will probably ask for more and then be prepared to lower the price. But the seller will also be expecting you to offer less than you are willing to pay.

Negotiating Basics

There are some basic rules to keep in mind during the negotiation process:

  • Before you begin negotiations, decide on the highest price you are willing to pay.
  • Do not necessarily disclose to a real estate agent the highest price you are willing to pay. The agent may be obligated to seek the best possible price for the seller.
  • Remember that by law, the agent must present all formal offers to the seller.
  • Don’t be pressured to bid higher if you believe your offer is reasonable.
  • If you reach an impasse in negotiations, remember that the price you will pay is based upon both research and emotion
  • If the seller refuses your final offer, it’s not the end of the world. There are other houses to consider.

Inclusions

Inclusions are items to be included in the sale of a home. Don't assume that items are part of the sale unless their inclusion is specifically stated in writing.

Common inclusions are carpeting, garage door openers, window treatments, window/door screens and storms, awnings, shutters, heating equipment, appliances (oven, dishwasher, washing machine, etc.), hot water heaters, plumbing and bathroom fixtures, garbage disposals, lighting fixtures, mantels, outside television antennas and air conditioning equipment.

Remember, the seller can take appliances, ceiling fans, chandeliers, fixtures and other items, but they will need to be replaced. If you want something to remain in the house, you must include it in the Purchase and Sale Agreement.