Real Estate Negotiation

July 20, 2015

Negotiation (Buying A Home, Step 5)

If you missed any of the first four posts in the series, get them here, here, here and here.

Everything is negotiable. That’s the old adage, anyway. But it doesn’t mean you should negotiate every.single.thing.

Now that you’ve written an offer, you can expect the seller to do one of three things:

  1. Reject your offer entirely
  2. Counter offer
  3. Accept your offer

If the seller rejects your offer, don’t despair. This can happen for any number of reasons, the most likely being that they thought your price was too far from their desired number to bother making a counteroffer. Ask your agent to find out why the seller flat-out rejected your offer so you can decide whether to pursue a deal or not.

Beware though, that a rejected offer often means a hard-to-deal-with seller, and you may just want to walk away at this point.

A counteroffer is the most likely scenario in most markets. When the seller counters with a different offer, this usually happens between the two Real Estate Agents before making its way to the seller and buyer. Being perfectly clear about the details of the counter offer before presenting it to their clients will help each side make the best choice for the deal. Once you’ve heard the counteroffer, you can then counter back to the seller (through the agents, of course) and work toward a deal in writing once the seller accepts your offer.

If (and when) the seller accepts your offer, congratulations! That puts you one step closer to being a proud new homeowner. This rarely happens, even with full-price offers. Many homes in today’s market are selling for more than asking price because of the limited supply of homes on the market (in nearly all price ranges).

Having a sealed deal means the paperwork begins. This process starts out with all parties signing and initialing dozens of pages of paper. Real estate contracts are lengthy and complex, and it helps to use a real estate professional with experience and support to help you navigate the process.

You’ll then have 10 days (the default period in most states) to perform inspections and make sure the property is in good enough condition or can be repaired to make it worth your investment. Any repairs can be added to a Resolution of Unacceptable Conditions and presented to the seller for negotiation and hopefully correction without any hesitation.

Other items that are often negotiated in a real estate contract include:

  • Closing costs
  • Who pays for what inspections (though it’s usually the buyer)
  • HOA fees
  • Personal property to stay with the house such as portable shelving, furniture, lawn equipment, etc

The negotiating process doesn’t have to be difficult. It’s best to keep a calm and clear head during negotiations. If you find yourself thinking the sellers are ‘just out to get you’, then maybe you should walk away. The more you can remain unemotional about the negotiation process, the better your chances of coming out with a deal where everyone wins.

Up next: Funding the deal on your next home

Have any questions? Leave a comment below and I’ll respond.

Thanks for reading,

Paul Sidwell, Top Kansas City Realtor