How to Negotiate with Sellers
Buying a home is one of the most
important purchases most people will make. In order to make the
right decisions the first time, potential buyers need to be
prepared. Consider the following before starting negotiations:
- Be prepared
Research the housing market in the target area. Once you
have information about the general area, focus on the particular
property and seller. Look for answers to questions such as:
1. Why is the homeowner selling? (If they're moving because they
find the area undesirable, you might as well.)
2. How long has the home been on the market? (If it has been on
the market for a long time, perhaps there are negative facts
about the property that you need to know.)
3. How much did the seller pay for the home compared to the
current asking price? (If the seller paid more, find out why.
Was it a general real estate trend, or did property values in
that particular neighborhood go down?)
4. What is the seller's time frame for selling and moving? Does
it fit within your needs?
5. Are there any defects in the home or problems with the
surrounding neighborhood? (For example, is the roof so old that
it will likely leak during the next storm? Is there a new
construction project in the area that will lead to major traffic
As the potential buyer, you want the advantage. While you want
answers to all your questions to the seller, reveal very little
about your circumstances. Do not give the seller personal
information such as your income, the maximum you're able to pay
for a down payment or the home, or when you want to move. Make
sure that your agent knows not to reveal any such information to
the seller or his/her agent.
Also, don't let the seller see how much you want the property.
If you appear desperate or overly enthusiastic, the seller then
has the stronger bargaining position. When meeting with the
seller or listing agent, keep your emotions in check.
- Establish a Timeline
Find out if the seller needs to have the sale closed sooner
rather than later. If the seller is feeling pressured to sell,
use that to your advantage in negotiating. Even if you, the
buyer, are the one with the deadline for purchasing a home,
don't let yourself be rushed into making concessions or a
purchase you may regret later.