Where To Begin
Checking Credit
Research Before Choosing A Neighborhood
Check the Zoning
New Home Or Resale?
Think You Don't Need Flood Insurance?
Used Homes
Do I Need Title Insurance?
Be Alert For Sellers’ Tricks
Recruiting The Experts
Choosing A Real Estate Agent
The Foreclosure Market
Buying? Think Selling!
ALWAYS—ALWAYS Hire a Home Inspector
Be Your Own Inspector
Partnership Purchases
Financing Tips
Can't Afford A Down Payment?
Negotiating Tips
10 Tips For Winning A Bidding War
Homebuying Checklist
Home Warranty Tips
Can You Afford the Home You Want?
Green Building Tips


Negotiating Tips

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.


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 specifics.
  5. 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 rate.

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.


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