By Kay Wilson-Bolton
December 20, 2005
There is an art to negotiation. The primary ingredient is that you give something to get something. There is a fair amount of tension in today’s real estate realm by trying to “low ball” a price on a home where it is apparent that the owners are not ready for a traumatic adjustment.
While most REALTORS® advise their seller to counteroffer back to almost every offer, that decision often comes with a great deal of stress passed along to the seller’s REALTOR®, which in turn affects the REALTOR® representing the buyer and his or her client.
The jury is out on whether discussion should take place between the REALTORS® prior to writing an offer. Smooth conversations can be an indicator of a probable starting point, instead of one that promotes shock and awe.
There are a few tips to keep in mind when making your offer that will have minimum impact on your finances in both the long and short term
Consider having your pre-qualification letter demonstrate that the only remaining items to closing your escrow are an appraisal and a preliminary title report. This level of commitment takes the guesswork out of the transaction.
As a negotiation strategy, the buyers’ REALTOR® should call the listing agent and ask if the seller has a preference for title and escrow services. If the seller does, include it in the offer. Be sure the selection of services is not “agent driven” so that counter offers are not used to change service providers.
Consider picking up the cost of a fee that is normally paid for by the seller, such as home protection plan, title insurance, or transfer tax. This will increase the seller’s proceeds.
Knowing a seller’s situation can be helpful in tailoring the offer. Sellers who haven’t lined up a new home might like the opportunity to rent their home back from the buyer for a while after closing. If you, as the buyer, are renting, you can gain favor with the seller by offering a rent back to accommodate the seller’s needs.
Some competitors are making offers that don’t include an inspection contingency even though it is not a good practice. Most sellers find a contingency-free offer hard to resist, but there is also a risk attached to selling a home to a buyer who has waived this right. Or, buyers could shorten the inspection period to reduce length of time the house is off the market.
If the home has been previously on the market, ask to see any previous reports, which have been completed. Call the home inspector to discuss any questions you might have. While the information in that report was for the person who paid for it, the home inspection company may substitute the new buyer in for a fee less than the cost of an inspection.
Let your REALTOR® guide you. Not only are we licensed by the Department of Real Estate, we have also agreed to abide by the Code of Ethics established by the National Association of REALTORS®. All others are not REALTORS®.
Kay Wilson-Bolton is the owner and broker of CENTURY 21 Buena Vista and CENTURY 21 Ability serving west Ventura County since 1976. She can be reached at 805.340.5025. Her personal website is http://www.readysetkay.com