Naturally, you can put in any offer that you want on a home for sale. But what can you realistically expect to get? Most people aren't familiar with negotiating, especially for big-ticket purchases. However, it can save you a lot of money with a real estate sale.
Always Go a Little Low
If you're the first bid on a property, you want to go a little lower than the purchase price. It gives room for a counteroffer, which can be done quite quickly. If you're not the first bid, you need to go over the prior bid by enough that it makes your bid clearly more attractive.
Go Even Lower If You're Paying in Cash
When you pay in cash, your deal immediately becomes more desirable. That's because the deal will definitely close (unless you back out). When buyers are relying on a mortgage, the mortgage loan could get pulled last minute. Buyers are eager to sell to cash buyers, and that means you can negotiate more.
Don't Get Caught in a Bidding War
It's easy to get emotional when you're thinking about your dream home. But getting locked into a bidding war is always a bad idea: you could end up paying far more for a property than it's really worth. If you've been outbid on a property, take some time to think about what the property is really worth.
Take a Look at the Comparable Properties
If the neighboring houses are cheaper than the property that you're looking at, consider targeting your offer around those prices. Properties tend to drift towards the value of the surrounding neighborhood.
Don't Just Think About Cash
You don't have to negotiate for a lower purchase price. You can also negotiate for things such as new floors, a repaired roof, a new HVAC system, new appliances, and other upgrades. If there's something in particular that's a sticking point to you, don't be afraid to ask for it to be corrected. The worst a seller can do is say no.
Take a Look at the Market
If homes are moving quickly in your market, you'll have less negotiating power in general. If homes take more than 45 to 60 days to clear in your market, then you have far more negotiating power.
You don't have to negotiate. In fact, if you're in a high-volume, fast market, it's often best to make a bid and stick to it. Still, your real estate agent will be able to tell you more about negotiating procedures and what you can expect.