Buying a house is exciting! It’s also overwhelming. Not only do you have to determine how much you will bid on the home, there are many other aspects of the purchase contract that you must negotiate. If you don’t, you’ll be at the seller’s mercy, and the terms aren’t always in your best interest.
The following five items are something you should consider negotiating when you buy a house so that you get the best deal.
Help With Closing Costs
As the buyer, you carry a brunt of the closing costs. You don’t have to pay all of them on your own, though. You can negotiate with the seller to get help. While it might not seem like something a seller would want to help with, you might be surprised.
If you are buying a home in a buyer’s market, sellers often get desperate to sell their home. They may be willing to meet you down the middle, splitting the closing costs in half. Some sellers may even be willing to foot the entire bill for you, especially if it means the difference between you buying the home or walking away from it.
Keeping the Appliances
Do you love the appliances a seller has in their home? If you really want to keep them, you can make it a part of your negotiations. Sellers may be willing to leave the appliances in the home if it means that you’ll accept the contract.
This can go beyond appliances too. Don’t assume that anything that isn’t a permanent structure in the home is staying. Negotiate it in the contract if you don’t see it in there already. A few common things are window treatments, furniture, and appliances. You can even go as far as certain wall hangings or decorations too. If it’s something that really fits within the theme of the home, the seller may be willing to leave it if you ask.
Even before you have an inspection done on the home, you may notice things that aren’t quite right with the home. You can negotiate with the seller to fix them before you close on the home. They can be little cosmetic changes or large repairs that might affect your decision to buy the home. You may want to revisit this topic after the home inspection too. If the inspector finds things wrong with the home, you may want the seller to fix them.
If the seller is unwilling to make the repairs, you can also negotiate for a credit for the cost of the repairs. The seller will give you a credit at the closing, which you can then use to cover the cost of the repairs. Of course, not all sellers are willing to do this, which would leave you with the decision to either eat the costs or back out of the sale.
You can also negotiate certain contingencies into your purchase contract. Contingencies give you a clause that lets you out of the contract without losing your earnest money. Some sellers allow them while others do not. You may have to pick and choose between a few contingencies so that you don’t make your purchase contract one-sided, but some of the most common options include:
- Sale of your home – If you can’t sell your current home by a certain date, you can back out of the purchase contract
- Inspection – You have a specific period to get the inspection done and review the report. If you don’t like the findings, you can re-negotiate the contract or back out of the purchase.
- Financing – You have a specific period that you can secure financing with as few conditions as possible. If you can’t get the approval subject to just the home appraisal, you may back out before the contingency date.
- Appraisal – This allows you to back out of the purchase contract if the appraised value doesn’t meet the price you bid on the home.
The fewer contingencies you have on your contract, the more likely a seller is to accept your offer. But that doesn’t mean you should avoid asking for contingencies altogether.
It’s a good idea to get to know the seller and what their needs are so that you can negotiate a proper closing date. Even if the closing date is out of your control, the possession date is also something you can negotiate.
The closing date means the property transfers hands at that time. The title company and lender may dictate when you need to close by, but you have a little wiggle room in that aspect. Negotiating the date with the seller can make or break your offer. If the seller is building a home and needs another month or two in the home, it could work to your advantage to offer that time.
If you do have to close by a specific date, you may offer the seller time to rent the home back from you. This means you don’t move into the home as soon as you take possession, but it gives the seller a little more leeway, which may prompt them to be a little more giving on the price of the home that they require before accepting your bid.
Take your time when negotiating a sales contract and use the help of a professional realtor or attorney so that you make sure you are protected. Covering all of your bases and negotiating all aspects of the purchase contract will help you make the most of the purchase, giving you and the seller the easiest time with the transaction.