For many home sellers, especially in areas with difficult real estate markets, getting the call from their agent that an offer has been made on their home is something akin to buying a winning lottery ticket. In actuality, however, getting an offer is where the hard work really begins. This is when the seller and the prospective buyer officially begin negotiating the details that will, hopefully, result in a successful closed transaction that is beneficial to both parties.
If you are selling your home and want to approach the negotiating process with the confidence and wisdom needed for success, the following information is sure to help.
Keep Emotion Out of the Deal
Whether you have lived in your home for just a few years or raised a family there, it can be difficult to keep emotion from interfering in a real estate transaction, especially when you feel that a prospective buyer's offer is too low. Remember, however, that to the buyer, the offer is merely a business transaction on a house and is not intended to slight the home you love in any way.
Since it is important to make the most of every offer, work to remove the emotion from the situation when countering offers that you feel are too low. Your real estate agent can be an excellent buffer for those times when you feel emotional during the negotiating process, and they are also the best person to skillfully represent your interests, especially with difficult buyers or buyer agents.
Know the Current Market and Competition
Even though your real estate professional has probably kept you informed about the local real estate market and how your home compares throughout the listing term, make sure that you have the most current information before responding to any purchase offer.
Local markets can undergo subtle changes that can affect the sale of your home and the price and terms that you will end up with. Before responding, take time to know what comparable homes have sold in your area, what the listing versus closing price ratio was and any other information that might have bearing on the negotiation of your home's sale.
Your real estate professional can help you use current market statistics and data to ensure that you negotiate the best possible price and terms for your home.
Focus on Price AND Terms
While the amount of the buyer's offer may be the first point of interest upon receiving it, sellers should also take time to understand the additional terms of the offer and consider how they will affect the transaction.
Price is only part of the deal. Remember to review TERMS. The buyer's offer may be better than you think!
Remember, too, that every part of a purchase offer is negotiable and can be used to accommodate specific needs through skillful negotiations. For instance, if the seller needs to remain in the home for an additional month after closing or doesn't want to do a certain repair that needs to be done, it may be worthwhile to accept a lower purchase price from the buyer in exchange for the terms the seller needs.
Make sure that all negotiated terms are spelled out completely in the purchase agreement before signing, including price, repairs, credits in lieu of repairs, items that convey with the sale, closing costs, closing and possession date, financing terms and more. In most cases, verbal contracts are not usually binding on either party in a real estate transaction, so avoid them when negotiating your home's sale.
Respond in a Timely Manner
No matter how much they profess to love your home, remember that prospective buyers are capable of being lured away by the new listing down the block. Without an actual purchase contract signed by both you and the buyers, they are free to keep on looking and often will, if they feel the seller is not responding to them honestly, fairly or in an timely manner.
Rely on Your Agent's Experience and Negotiating Skills
The negotiation process is one of the most important reasons to seek out a great real estate agent and utilize the experience, knowledge and negotiating skills they offer. The right real estate agent can help their sellers work with prospective buyers to achieve an agreement on price and terms and skillfully guide the transaction all the way to the closing table.