Once you have decided which home you want to buy and are ready to
make an offer, review the following tips for information that could
save you thousands. The most important tip I can offer is to maintain
your objectivity. It's easy for both buyers and sellers to get wrapped
up in their emotions during the process, a mistake that often robs
them both of reason.
FIVE NEGOTIATING DON'TS
- Don't make an unreasonably low offer. The seller may be so turned
off that they will refuse to negotiate. This doesn't mean that you
should not try to get the best deal possible. If you have educated
yourself about pricing, you'll know what the home is worth and should
expect to pay somewhere in that neighborhood. Your offer should be
below what you think the home worth, but not so much as to offend.
Then, you can include additional concessions for the seller to make.
- Don't expect everything in your offer to be accepted. Sellers expect
purchasers to ask for more than they are willing to accept. But, do
ask for everything that is important to you and a few things that
aren't. You might, for instance, ask the seller to pay a portion or
all of the closing costs or to make needed repairs.
- Don't say, "This is my final offer." Even if it is, keep
your cards close to your vest. You may change your mind, and reversing
can be awkward and costly.
- Don't let your agent know exactly what you are willing to pay,
even if they are supposedly representing only you. While you can let
them know your general position, it's not a good idea to share the
- Don't sign an offer unless it contains all the specifics you have
agreed upon. Remember the two rules of verbal agreements. "They
aren't worth the paper their written on." and, "If it isn't
in writing, it isn't."
Once the offer process has begun, keep your cool. Don't panic if
a response doesn't come as quickly as expected. The seller may be
slow to respond because of an emotional attachment to their home.
Don't push them for an answer unless you are also pressed to finalize
your decision. Respect the seller by being patient and polite.
Make sure your offer contains a contingency regarding financing,
not just the standard one that says you must qualify for a loan, but
that the interest rate will not be above your pre-determined maximum
Finally, if there are serious differences between you and the seller,
don't be afraid to walk away. Not every deal is a great one, and not
every offer will result in a signed contract. There is never only
one home that is right for a purchaser. Buying a home is always a
compromise. Be willing to do so and you'll benefit in the end.