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  • Writer's pictureKimberly Dotseth

Negotiation and How to Get to Win/Win


When actually buying a house, it doesn't take five minutes to get your deal signed by all parties. It usually takes days. Rarely is an offer written that doesn't get countered. To reduce the number of counter offers and the stress involved, write your best offer first. Or be very, very close to that. Why? The "win/win" component is easier to come by if buyer writes a strong offer and seller isn't unreasonable in their response.

Buyers want the best possible price for a house. It's a business deal for both sides. If you as a buyer know the neighborhood and what the house should be worth, by all means don't offer 10% below that appropriate neighborhood price. If you want to offer less than a (hopefully) realistic seller asking price, be reasonable. 5% under the asking price is not too insulting. 40% is. Regarding closing costs: it is not an automatic guarantee that a seller will help you with your closing costs as a buyer. A buyer can ask. Asking for 3% of the purchase price credited to you isn't a sure thing. Be prepared to wiggle on this through the counteroffer phase. There are no rules on closing costs or anything else in a real estate contract. Sellers, buyers are more nervous than you in this phase. Be kind, don't overreact if you don't like the offer. It's OK to sleep on it before responding. Residential real estate is very emotional, even though, as we said, it's a business transaction. It's also an experience with real feelings and real reactions. Sellers, be cool and calm. You'll get there. Be more concerned about seeing a buyer's pre-approval letter during the negotiation phase. I will always call every lender on a preapproval and tell you what’s what with the buyer. We can work through any contract. Most buyers and sellers are somewhat apprehensive after getting their deal signed. You still have to get escrow open, make sure the buyer's good faith deposit is sent in immediately and that all parties keep to their timeline and schedule. There can be excitement of course upon "getting it all signed," and some celebration is in order. But sellers, don't really celebrate until you hand over the keys (and that better be on close of escrow day!), and buyers, don't celebrate until you are handed keys. Then, by all means, dance around a bit. You've earned it.

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