Neither side has an unshakable position-the seller will try to convince you that a house is worth the asking price, while you the buyer should be savvy enough to point out reasons why a lower price is justified. Anything from the current housing economy to the color of the drapes can be arguing points, depending on your argumentative skills.
Use the seller’s mortgage and monthly expenses for your benefit.
A seller who hasn’t yet sold their property is still paying money for mortgage, monthly utilities, interest, insurance, and property taxes as long as the house remains unsold. This benefits the buyer, in that the seller could be willing to accept a lower offer when reminded that not selling the house is worse than selling it at a lower-than-expected price.
Never reveal how much interest you have in the house.
A grave mistake many inexperienced buyers commit during negotiations is revealing that they really want the property in question. At that point, the seller has all the power and will most likely refuse to come down on the asking price. Maintain nonchalance on whether to accept the property and also imply that you are looking at other properties in the area.
Force the seller to prove why the listing price is valid.
This tactic works especially well with houses that have been on the market for months without any real offers. Ask sellers, ‘if the house is so great, why hasn’t it been sold yet?’ This puts them on the defensive and gives you more power to make a lower offer as they struggle to justify the higher listing price that hasn’t been supported by market demand.
Appraisals are basically one person’s opinion based on guess-work. If the seller maintains that the listing price is based on a recent appraisal, counter by walking away from the offer. Make sure you leave your contact info with the seller, as you can really low-ball once they ignore the appraisal.
Nit-pick when possible.
If you see imperfections in the house, make sure to point them out. Even if it’s a slight nick in the hardwood floors or a creak in one of the doors, every point you raise while touring a house is another minus you can justify putting onto the listing price. When you’ve nit-picked extensively enough, there’s a chance you can low-ball with the threat of contracting a professional home inspector.
Don’t allow yourself to be the seller’s profit margin.
In most cases within today’s economy, the seller is expected to take losses when selling their home. If the seller tries to tell you that the listed price is ‘about what they paid to own’, explain to them that the times have changed and that you won’t be paying for their mistakes in the housing market. They purchased their house for too much money; selling it today is their loss and your gain.
Don’t be afraid of ‘no deal’.
Many buyers are afraid of alienating themselves from the seller with a very low offer. This is silly, as the worst the sellers can do is say ‘no deal’ to the proposed offer. In most cases, a lower-than-usual offer is expected in order to come to the ideal compromise price that both parties can agree on.