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40 Amazing Tips on How to Negotiate a House Price When Selling

how to negotiate a house price when selling
Negotiating the sale of your home is one of the most important things you may ever do. Most of us don’t make deals in the hundreds of thousands every day. Considering this is probably the single most expensive thing you will negotiate you need to be at the top of your game.

While these tips will help you make the best of your negotiation there are no magic bullets. The best thing you can do when trying to negotiate your home sale is to be informed. Make sure you are the expert on your home, and the local market. Most of the time the better-informed person is the one who wins out in the end.

  1. Always make sure your home is in the best possible condition when you go to sell it. Having your home in perfect shape is the best way to have a better negotiating position. A seller who wants your home will be more likely to give you the best price possible, and it might be worth looking into staging properly and improving curb appeal.
  2. Try to learn anything about your buyer that you can use by asking questions and perhaps researching the person. If you find out they have a mother who visits a lot, point out the extra room. If they have pets, point out the nearby walking paths.
  3. Pay for an independent appraisal, and keep it available to buyers. This is an objective way to say what your home is worth.
  4. Be fair and price your home consistent with your appraised value and in relation to comparable properties in your area. This creates an environment where the seller must justify not meeting your price.
  5. Be prepared to walk away. This is the strongest negotiating tool you have. In most negotiations, the one who can’t walk away, loses.
  6. Ask if they want anyone else involved before negotiations start to avoid the buyer’s tactic of saying they need to pass it by their attorney or family.
  7. Make sure all offers are in writing to avoid the “Also we would like” conversations. Changes to a written offer create a new offer you can reject.
  8. Use silence to your advantage. If an offer is made that is unfair or not high enough, simply wait. In most situations, the buyer will speak first and change their position. If the silence goes on too long only restate your initial offer, but don’t change your offer.
  9. Use body language to your advantage. Instead of rejecting an offer cross your arms and lean back. A quick frown can show annoyance without having to say anything. Practice these to get the best mileage.
  10. Do the research to know the market and neighborhood, down to street level. Know how your home compares to other homes that are on the market. Holding out for more than a better home two doors down is not a good negotiating tactic.
  11. Keep bad news to yourself, don’t give a buyer leverage by letting them know anything about negative situations in your life. You may think they will make a better offer out of pity, usually this is not the case.
  12. Remember your Realtor is a great resource, but not your friend. It’s a business relationship. Keep things professional and honest with your Realtor to get the most out of your home sale.
  13. Don’t tell your “why you want to sell” story, keep it simple and give them nothing to work with. Be personable, but stick to facts about your home.
  14. If you must sell because of financial reasons, try negotiating with the bank first. Often they will take a lower amount while you are trying to sell rather than get nothing if you default on the loan. If this is the case speak to the loss prevention specialist at your bank.
  15. Avoid any indication you must sell fast, don’t mention divorces, getting fired, or married and needing to move. You should always make selling seem like an option you want to take, not an option that you need to take.
  16. Never try to explain why you have your house set at the price it is. Don’t detail what you have renovated, or new fixtures. At most you can use the appraisal you hopefully have already had conducted.
  17. Don’t get emotional, let the process happen as a business transaction. Do your best not to be angry about low offers, or feel insulted. Keep your emotions out of it if you can. You love your home but to the buyer it is just something new.
  18. Even if you are the king or queen of sales, let your Realtor negotiate this one. Step away from the process and go buy a nice lunch when prospective buyers are scheduled to be there. If you aren’t there to reveal information, then you can’t impact the negotiations.
  19. Offer incentives to either the buyer, or your Realtor, or both. Offer your Realtor a higher percentage for the portion above your asking price, or offer to pay more of the buyer’s fees. If you are in a hurry, offer that incentive for a set time to motivate them.
  20. Have a viable alternative to selling your home. Don’t hesitate in letting your buyer and agents know you will rent it out if you can’t sell. Just that you’d prefer to be clear of the property, it makes you look less needy.
  21. If you are needing to sell, always make a counteroffer even if the initial offer is way too low. Come down only a small amount to see if they will negotiate a higher price but don’t reject any offer out of hand.
  22. Counter an initial offer at your list price. While this is a more hardball tactic, it will raise the eventual price you settle on. Negotiate if the seller offers a higher offer, but you are showing you know the appraised value of your home.
  23. If you aren’t in a hurry to sell, reject a low offer and invite them to submit a new one. This is like countering at your list price, and may drive a buyer off. However, it also shows you know your house value, and allows you to accept a different offer.
  24. Put the home on the market, and don’t accept offers until after you show your home at an open house and consider following up By putting a date that is a bit away you give the impression that there will be multiple offers which may encourage buyers to submit a higher offer.
  25. Ensure you put a time limit on a counter offer. When you counter an offer, you enter a negotiation. While you are negotiating, you are legally restricted from accepting other offers until you end that negotiation.
  26. Offer to pay closing costs, but if possible add it to the price of the home. If the price of your home is 300,000 and closing costs are 5,000. Counter offer for 305,000 and you’ll pay the closing. The difference is that the buyers get to roll the closing costs into their loan amount.
    • This only works if the total offer is below the appraised value of your home.
  27. Agree to concessions in other things to get the best price. Agree to a repair or a change to encourage them to accept a higher final price.
  28. Look to see if you are in a buyer’s or a seller’s market. If there are few homes for sale, and you are not having to sell quickly then you have more power in the negotiation. If there are many homes for sale, or you must sell, you should negotiate more.
  29. Avoid the impulse to hold out for the perfect offer. If you get an offer that is reasonably close to both your asking price and the appraised price, consider taking it. A lot of the time the first offer is the best and refusing it doesn’t lead to a higher price for your home.
  30. If anything is uncovered during a buyers inspection that needs repair, offer to fix the issue, lower the price to fix it, or provide the funds up front to do so.
  31. Know your goals, it is not always the highest price. If you are looking for specifics, then you can negotiate other aspects to achieve them. If you need a set time for the close, or you want a different concession, then you can aim for that instead of the highest price.
  32. Try to avoid being adversarial during the negotiating process. Keeping the process open and in an amicable tone leads to the best negotiations.
  33. Listen to buyer’s questions and respond quickly and honestly to keep the negotiations moving.
  34. Don’t answer too quickly. Buyers expect you to consider an offer, if you answer immediately they will likely grow uneasy.
  35. Do your best to find common ground with the buyer. This opens more lines of communication. Try to find interests that you share, or anything you can use to make them feel more friendly.
  36. Keep some skepticism to not fall for every line or story the buyer gives you to try and lower the price or concede something.
  37. Avoid using family members who are Realtors. While it seems like this would be a great idea, it is difficult to keep the relationship professional.
  38. Be realistic about what you can expect from your home. A buyer has no sentimental attachment to your home and will only be looking at the appraised value. So while you may attach great value because it was built by your great grandfather, that doesn’t translate to a buyer paying for that sentimental attachment.
  39. Ask leading questions if you are negotiating yourself. Leading questions normally invite a buyer to give you more information than they may intend. Avoid “yes” and “no” questions and keep them more open ended.
  40. If you are showing your own home take the kids to grandma’s. Don’t have your children at home when you are displaying it to buyers. It is easy for buyers to become distracted or annoyed by constant interruptions.

We also encourage you to understand the psychology of pricing your home right to increase your chances of getting good offers.