What are some of the common mistakes people make when it comes to negotiating the purchase price for residential real estate?

With mortgage interest rates so low, now is a great time to purchase residential real estate. Perhaps you have finally found a perfect house on Magnolia Avenue, near Virginia Park, so that your son can attend Larchmont Elementary School and your spouse can attend classes at Old Dominion University. The house has been recently updated and the yard is private and beautiful—just waiting for that first backyard barbecue. This is an exciting time for your family, but a stressful one at the same time. After all, this is the biggest purchase you have made in your entire life!

Because it is such a large purchase, obtaining the best possible purchase price is an absolute must. Unfortunately, many do not get the best possible deal because of negotiation errors. Following are four common price negotiation mistakes:

  • Not negotiating in person – It is tempting to deal with a seller through email, phone, text, or fax—these are great ways to communicate. However, when negotiating a deal, the best way to persuade a seller to accept your offer is to meet face to face to discuss your proposal.
  • Not doing enough research – Before going into a price negotiation, it is important to understand the local market and as much about what motivates the seller as possible.  Important factors such as comparable sales, how long certain houses have been on the market, and whether the market in the area is hot or cold can provide you with great insight. Speaking with neighbors and learning more about the area can also provide you with information you can use at the negotiating table.
  • Offering a set amount – Many buyers feel it is necessary to present a set figure to the seller. However, it may actually be more beneficial to present a range of prices, such as $225,000 – $255,000, which provides more flexibility throughout the negotiation process.
  • Not using a professional – It may be tempting to try to save a few dollars and negotiate without the help of a professional real estate attorney, but it is generally a bad idea. Experienced real estate lawyers are skilled negotiators and can save you money on the purchase price of your home while ensuring that the purchase process proceeds smoothly.


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