Negotiation Tips for Home BuyersPosted on Sep 01, 2020
As a buyer, you probably assume your agent has it covered when it comes to the negotiating table. If you’ve chosen well (ahem, any one of our agents here at Team Lassen), that should be true, but be sure you’re not missing any opportunities to bargain for any extras you want. Here are a few suggestions for negotiating smartly with your sellers:
Help with Closing Costs
The total amount of your closing costs will depend on the property’s value and where it’s located, but typically expect to pay between 2% and 5% of the purchase price. Closing costs can be paid by either party, so if the seller is anxious to seal the deal, you might be able to convince them to pick up some or all of the bill.
It’s important to note that you can also request a closing credit for specific changes made after purchase, like getting a driveway sealed or new flooring installed. While a seller credit doesn’t lower the purchase price, it does lower the amount that comes out of the buyer’s pocket. You can also increase your offering price while asking for a credit. This effectively splits the difference, while keeping everything financed.
Two types of home inspections are common: standard inspections looking for both concerning and insignificant problems to be fixed, and more specific inspections focused on a targeted area, like your roof or bathroom. A seller can decline the latter type if they feel it’s unnecessary, but this gives you leverage and the flexibility to walk away from a potential issue.
Insist on negotiating anything safety-related, like ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) in the bathrooms, ungrounded gas pipes, railings that are not secured well, etc. They may seem trivial, but you don’t want the risk of serious injury or death because no one wanted to spend $75 to install a GFCI in the bathroom of an older home.
Flexibility on closing or possession dates
Most buyers assume that move-in time frame is their problem to figure out, but negotiating flexibility regarding closing or possession dates is actually pretty common.
You might think you have to wait for your lease to be up before you can write an offer on a home, but sometimes, you can negotiate with the seller to cover the cost of buying out your current lease. Many times, they’re motivated enough to adjust the price to cover it.
Flexibility works both ways—if the seller needs extra time to vacate due to another home purchase or construction, then buyers who don’t have a property contingency could offer to grant them the additional time in exchange for a lower price.
Cosmetic Updates, Furnishing, Personal Property
As realtors, we aren’t kidding when we say you can negotiate anything as a buyer. The seller’s furniture that you just love, light fixtures, minor landscaping, appliances, even cars! Sellers sometimes agree to such requests because they want to make a home more appealing, they don't need it, or it’s something that they rarely use.
Price or Mortgage Points
Ask for a lower price based on factors like comparable properties, appraisal value, neighborhood status, home condition and overall market. Or, you could ask a seller to pay loan points on your mortgage.
Buyers can ask a seller to consider paying points on their mortgage as a tax-deductible expense. This works for you by reducing the amount you pay in interest. Each point purchased will lessen the interest rate, and despite what some lenders might be tempted to tell you, this can be negotiated.
Want even more negotiation tips and tactics? Here at Team Lassen, we’re well-versed in getting our clients the absolute best deals we can! Let’s chat about what you should be bringing to the table!