Seller's Handbook: Tips on Negotiating Price

By Keith Loria

Selling a house isn’t easy, which is why it’s often referred to as one of the most stressful times in your life.

“Selling a home leads to anxiety, frustration and uncertainty,” said Joan Gale Frank, author of  “Home Seller’s Blues And How to Beat Them.” “As a home seller, you need to take a deep breath and realize that your day will come.”

One of the most challenging parts in the process of selling your home is setting the correct price and then hitting the bargaining table when someone is interested. After all, with the housing market where it is today, the buyer has as much leverage as ever, and that means price negotiation is a true challenge. That is another reason why working with an experienced real estate agent has never been more important.

Good negotiating is about knowing the buyer’s motivations and your own, and coming to a deal that is satisfactory to both in a manner that’s fair for each.

Yes, you want to agree upon a price as quickly as possible, but you also don’t want to jump into any rash decisions or do something you will regret later. That’s why having a professional real estate agent to guide you is so important. A REALTOR® will come up with a strategy for a counter offer if the price is not to your liking.

When a buyer’s initial bid comes in and it’s much lower than you expected, even if your heart is racing because you don’t want to lose the sale, don’t just give in. Negotiate. It’s not uncommon to be scared; especially if the home has been on the market for a while and you finally have a bite.

An offer may be presented based on several factors including the local market, things a buyer may need to fix if they buy and comparing the home to others in the neighborhood that may have sold for less. It’s vital that you don’t take this personally and end talks just because you feel they are de-valuing your home. It’s all part of good negotiating strategy, and you need to be ready with a list of your own that explains why the price is valued as it is.

While you may be tempted to give in to any demands of the buyer, an experienced agent will be there to calm your fears and lead you to a fair number.

Sometimes negotiating power comes not from the price itself, but the other terms of the contract. Think about your preferred closing date, who is paying the closing costs and items that the buyer might want left behind (which often are things you wanted to leave anyway). If you can bargain in all the terms you want, maybe accepting a lower price isn’t the worst thing.

It’s also important not to respond verbally to an offer or counteroffer. All negotiating should be done in writing and all responses should be in writing. This keeps any misunderstandings from happening that could potentially kill the sale.

While you may be desperate to sell your home, remember, this isn’t a garage sale; you’re not going to give your home away just to get rid of it. Don’t be afraid to say no and walk away. It may be frustrating, but another buyer will come along. Never give up hope.

If you would like more information about selling your home, contact our office today.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2013. All rights reserved.