Negotiating with Confidence
When negotiating, be patient, know your home’s worth, adopt a positive attitude, and do not let emotions – anger, pride, greed, or prejudice – get in the way of negotiating the best deal. Of course your home means a lot to you, but you have already made the decision to move on, so begin to think of your home as “the house” or “the condo,” instead of “my home.” When reasonable offers come along, take them seriously. You can always counter any offer made by the buyer that comes near your asking price. Do not spoil a good deal over a few hundred dollars.
Responding to a Low Ball Offer
If you receive a low ball offer when selling your home, let your agent know it is too low to warrant a counteroffer and that you are willing to negotiate but only once a more reasonable offer is made. Ask the agent if the buyer was shown comparable market values of similar homes that have recently sold in your area and ask if the buyer was ever properly qualified. You do not have to settle for less if you are realistic about your chances of getting more.
Buyer Contingencies: When to Say No
As a seller, you can reject, accept, or counter any offer that is presented to you. Most offers include contingencies, which protect the buyer in case something goes wrong.
The two most common contingencies deal with financing, which makes the sale dependent on the buyer’s ability to obtain a loan commitment from a lender within a stated time period, and an inspection, which allows the buyer to have a professional inspect the property to their satisfaction. There really is no reason not to consider these contingencies because they are quite reasonable and standard.
However, think twice about a contingency that is predicated on you making expensive home repairs, such as a kitchen renovation. If there is a severe condition that needs to be improved, for example a roof that is caving in, that is an entirely different situation. You may need to spend money to make the repair or lower the asking price of the home.
The Seller’s Right to Contract Contingencies
As a seller, you can also include contingencies in a contract. For example, if you decide to sell your existing home first before buying another one, you can make the sale of your home contingent on finding a replacement home. Some sellers opt for this contingency to avoid a double move, such as moving to a hotel or rental until a new home is found and made available.
There is, however, one problem with this type of contingency: it can inconvenience the buyer, particularly if his own home is in escrow. The buyer may not be willing to wait for you to move.
This strategy has a better chance of working when the market is relatively strong, your home is a rare find, the price and terms of the transaction are very favorable for the buyer, or the buyer is in no hurry to move.