Little things can add up to big savings.
Learn what to negotiate when buying a home to reduce your total purchase price.
List price is only the beginning.
Many new homebuyers understand that price is negotiable, but may not understand the buying process is full of other opportunities to negotiate when buying a home.
For buyers and sellers alike, there is a strong emotional and psychological relevance to the list ‘price’ of a home. Let’s face it – there are certain bragging rights to this number on both sides of the table. But, when a buyer or seller carries an attitude of looking for “bragging rights,” productive negotiation can often break down. Besides, everyone knows when one side is doing this.
But, there are many other factors in the buying and selling price that can impact the final cost for buyers. So, while the list price is important – don’t get so stuck on that price that you forget there may be easier items to negotiate that could have a higher payoff for you as a buyer.
Partner with an expert.
The first step when considering purchasing a new home is to partner with a trusted and experienced realtor. Of course, a great agent can help you find the right home and guide you through the often-tricky real estate process. But, an experienced real estate partner can also be your best tool in the negotiation process.
Start by sitting down with your real estate agent and discussing what is important to you in your new home, as well as your current situation. Low on funds or furniture? Maybe time is a factor that’s critical to your situation? Let you real estate agent know so they can keep an eye and ear open for negotiation opportunities to get you what you want.
The current market condition also plays a vital role in negotiations. In a seller’s market, there may be multiple offers for the home. But, that doesn’t always mean the highest offer wins. Types of financing (or cash offers), requested move-in dates, even the buyer’s situation can play a role in which offer wins out in the end.
Your experienced real estate partner understands these critical factors and will help you put the right negotiation tactics in play at the right time.
Understand the seller’s situation.
Remember that negotiation goes both ways. The seller may also have a list of things they are looking to negotiate. The more you know about the seller, the more equipped you are to find negotiating points that are relevant to them.
Is the seller highly motivated or are they just testing the waters? A seller that is truly motivated and committed to the sale may be more open to creative negotiation ideas.
Finding out why the seller is selling, what their time frame is and where they plan on moving could be information that comes in handy during the negotiation process.
If you don’t ask, you probably won’t get.
Simple advice that is often unheeded for new home buyers.
When partnering with the right real estate agent, there may be additional options to help you cut or lower your expenses when buying and moving into your new home. You might not get everything you want so it’s important to be open-minded and willing to compromise throughout the process.
10 things you can negotiate when buying a home.
Viewing the home buying process as a negotiation opportunity frees you up to consider all relevant costs that influence your final price. You may end up adjusting the top line offer, but winning in other areas that get you closer to your ideal price. The buying process is ripe for great communication that leads to both sides winning.
Here’s a list of just a few to get you started.
1) Price of home
Yes, this one is obvious, right? Your real estate partner will help you understand the market conditions and competition to architect a starting offer that gets attention. Remember the offer price is just the starting point. The end goal is to get your offer into the consideration set of the buyer.
Especially in a seller’s market, the expertise and skills of your real estate agent are critical when deciding what offer to make to initiate the process.
2) Closing costs
There are many costs associated with closing a real estate transaction. Some of these closing costs, such as points, are typically paid by either the buyer or seller.
But, just because a cost is typically paid by one party doesn’t mean it isn’t negotiable. Negotiating on points or other closing costs may help you lower your overall cost of purchase. Again, the market condition and number of offers can greatly impact the ability to negotiate on these items.
3) Closing date
Both parties in a real estate transaction agree to a proposed close date. This may be partially determined by process time or finalizing funds, but may also include other factors. For example, the seller may need to close by a certain date because they are moving or closing on another property. Or, they may need to close and lease back for a certain period of time.
If one buyer is flexible and willing to do this (when others aren’t or can’t), that buyer can stand out and oftentimes, a seller will accept less of a purchase price to have this convenience. Having the ability to be flexible can often pay off for a buyer.
The more information you have about the seller’s needs and situation, the better your negotiation position. You may consider speeding up or slowing down the closing date to match the seller’s needs, then negotiate a price to compensate for your flexibility.
4) Move out date
Again, it’s beneficial to understand the seller’s situation to determine if there is any negotiation room here. It could be that a proposed close date doesn’t correspond with the seller’s ability to move out it time. In this case, you could negotiate extra time for the seller to vacate the property. This might be in the form of a leaseback after the close providing the time-constrained seller a little peace-of-mind.
Having this concession built-in for the seller may just make the difference between your offer and a competing offer, and result in you winning the deal. Flexibility to meet a seller’s needs (which relieves stress on them), will often relate to a lower sales price.
5) Furniture, accessories & appliances
New home buyers are often shopping for new furniture, appliances, and accessories for their new home during the home buying process. These expenses can really add up when piled on top of down payments and other home buying expenses.
If this describes your situation, consider asking for certain items to be included in the sale of the home such as furniture and accessories. Appliances such as refrigerators, washers, and dryers can be big-ticket items and the seller might be willing to leave these behind.
Keep these things in mind when constructing your initial offer as they can help you keep your offer competitive while reducing your overall costs. Some agents and sellers prefer to get a deal negotiated prior to negotiating for furniture or other Non-Realty items. This is because they often want to reduce a buyer’s opportunity to take advantage of this situation. And, sometimes because they don’t consider themselves as “furniture sales people.”
It is common for buyers to want updated flooring, paint or new built-in appliances when purchasing a new home. Be mindful of asking for an allowance – it weakens your offer. If you are in a seller’s market, allowances almost never happen.
Work with your real estate agent to determine the cost/risk of offer price and allowances to make sure you are striking the right balance.
7) Home warranty services
Home warranty services are often a great negotiation point. Although the inspections should rule out any major damages, home warranties help new homeowners manage through any surprise repairs down the road. Your realtor will provide helpful information on how much home warranty to ask for, in addition to names for trustworthy warranty providers.
8) Financial contingencies
Sellers favor offers that don’t have contingencies in place. So, keep this in mind when you create the offer with your realtor. If your offer is based on the contingency of selling another home or qualifying for a loan, you might not make it the top of the list.
This is because sellers don’t like uncertainty. They are making their own plans. And they would much rather have a solid offer they can have confidence in when making their decision.
Get pre-qualified before you make any offers. This will help shorten the buying process, but will also give the seller confidence your offer is a solid one. Having the right lender is as important as getting prequalified. Partner with a lender your realtor knows and trusts. It can be very important, especially if you are competing against other buyers. All lenders are NOT equal.
9) Home repairs
This is one of the most fertile areas for negotiation in the real estate process. Understand the seller’s situation and work with your real estate agent to determine the best tactics for home repair demands.
Sometimes, you may ask for a concession for a home repair as a deduction from the offer price. This will save the home seller time and hassle of getting the repairs done. And, you may prefer to handle the repairs yourself so you can control the quality versus someone who might do a repair as inexpensively as possible when selling.
In these situations, make sure you have a realistic idea of what the repair would cost. Written repair estimates from quality vendors are the best source of information for negotiation purposes. But, in the real world, may not always be obtainable in short time periods. Be flexible and willing to negotiate understanding you may not always know exactly what something costs before you have to come to an agreement.
10) Paid expenses
Much like costs associated with closing the loan, there are many other costs involved in the real estate process that can be negotiated. These include appraisal fees, inspections, HOA dues to name a few.
Although some of these expenses may typically be paid by one party or the other, your realtor may be able to find creative ways to use these items to help both you and the seller get what you want.
These are just a few areas ripe for negotiation during the home buying process. Experienced real estate agents are pros at uncovering these and other negotiation opportunities.
The important points are to find a great real estate partner, listen to their advice, and be willing to compromise so both parties can walk away happy.
About The Judi Wright Team
Judi Wright/The Judi Wright Team is a real estate group specializing in the suburbs of Frisco, Plano, and surrounding areas. Named the “Best Realtor in Dallas,” by D Magazine ten times and a Five Star Realtor with Texas Monthly, Judi is also a Company-Wide Top performer with Ebby Halliday and the #1 Top Small Group for Ebby Halliday Frisco.