Palmer Harned, Realtor®
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Making an Offer + Negotiating a Contract

This is Part 9 in a series of posts about how to tackle the home buying process.

Once you have found a home you like, it’s time to make an offer!  This step involves writing a contract with your agent based on the current market conditions, and it may involve some counter-offering if the seller doesn’t agree to all of the initial terms.  Every situation is different and only your agent can advise you on the best way to write and negotiate your specific contract.  However, there are a few key points that are helpful to remember in any transaction.

1.  Both parties (buyer and seller) are working towards the same end goal.  Everyone wants to complete the sale!  It’s often helpful to step back and remember the bigger picture when you are caught up in the nitty gritty details of a contract.  If you really want the house, is it worth going back and forth over relatively minor details? 

2.  Negotiating the offer is not the only time you may have to negotiate during the contract period.  Be careful not to start off on the wrong foot and set the tone for a tense transaction.  The home inspection and appraisal are two other important areas where you may need to ask for concessions from the seller.  If the seller feels they were slighted on the initial offer, how willing do you think they will be to negotiate on other items down the road?   

3.  If you can’t wiggle on price, consider making other terms more desirable to the seller.  Many other components make up the contract besides price.  The settlement date, length of the financing contingency, and whether you’ll ask for home inspection items are just a few things your agent may suggest modifying if necessary.

4.  If you love the house or it’s a competitive market, put your best foot – and offer – forward.  Unless the house is truly priced too high, don’t waste time coming in with a low initial offer in the hopes of getting a bargain.  Ask yourself, “How would I feel if I didn’t get this house?”  Let your answer drive how you structure your offer.  

Stay tuned for next week’s post which will discuss what to expect once you’re under contract.


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