Negotiating Tips for Home Sellers

Selling your home is an emotional process, and it is sometimes difficult to remain detached as potential buyers critique your house and bring up negatives in order to negotiate a lower price. To strike a successful deal, you may have to negotiate with a buyer on the selling price as well as other elements of the deal like the closing date. Make sure to choose an experienced listing agent familiar with the real estate market in your area to guide you through the negotiations.

Tip #1 – Fix up your Home

Putting some time, effort and money into fixing up your home can attract serious buyers and may prevent endless discussions during negotiations after you receive an offer. A fresh coat of paint, new flooring and minor repairs can go a long way in making your home presentable to invite a realistic offer. If buyers feel they will have to put in money to clean up and repair the home, their offer will reflect it. You can strengthen your selling position by staging your home and removing clutter, placing colorful flowers at the front door to make your home more inviting, setting the dining room table and adding aromatic soaps and candles to the bath.

Tip #2 – Be Realistic

Rely on your real estate agent to give you the information to determine a realistic market value of your home. This can be done with a Comparative Market Analysis or CMA that lists comparable homes in the neighborhood that have sold recently. You will see the features of the homes, the listing price, the selling price and the number of days the properties were on the market. You will also be able to tell if the market is trending upward or downward to help you price your home correctly. In some cases, you may want to hire a certified professional appraiser to get a more exact idea of the value of your home.

Tip #3 – Put Aside Your Emotions

It is easy to become offended if a potential buyer makes a lowball offer that you consider insulting, since you may have spent many happy years in your home. But from a business standpoint, it is best to counter every offer, even a lowball offer, because the potential buyer has opened up a conversation, shown interest in buying your home, and you never know where negotiations will lead. To respond to a lowball offer and at the same time show that you want a more realistic and serious offer from the buyer, lower your price just a little bit in your counteroffer. Another common occurrence is that the buyer might demand that you tear down that gorgeous wallpaper you just put up last year. Do not take it personally. The goal is to sell the house and seal the deal.

Tip #4 – It is Not Just the Price

Remember that there are factors other than price that affect the quality of a deal. If you get lucky, you may have buyers who have already sold their house and can offer you a cash deal, without going through the process of obtaining financing. Other buyers may be flexible on a closing date, and some buyers are willing to undertake repairs and renovations other buyers ask you to complete. In any case, make sure your buyers have their financing in place before removing your home from the market.

Tip #5 – Move Quickly

Respond quickly to any counteroffer or demand by the buyer to keep them engaged in the negotiations. If the buyers are invested in the process they are less likely to stray to another home. Letting too much time go by before coming to an agreement can give the buyers the impression that you difficult and not a serious seller, which can prompt them to start looking at your competition.

Tip #6 – Save the Best for Last

If you are really close to making a deal but you just cannot get the buyers to sign on the dotted line, consider making a small concession that will make the buyers feel satisfied that they got something extra from you and made a good deal. Even a minor concession like leaving the patio furniture, changing the front door or installing that bow window you know the buyers want can go a long way toward closing the deal.