Negotiation Strategies for Buyers in Austin
First Thing’s First…
Before you consider any negotiation with a seller, make sure you are thinking logically and are not being fueled by emotions alone. Put together your list of “must-haves” and things that you would simply enjoy having. Don’t confuse the two. Set your budget and don’t budge from it. Don’t let your wallet be swooned by a dual-sided fireplace or claw-footed tub.
Spy… Well Sort Of
Most property information is also public information. While your agent can provide you with a wealth of data, it doesn’t hurt to take a look at the county property appraiser’s website for yourself. You’ll typically be able to find sales history, construction dates, and other pertinent property information.
Your agent can run a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) on other houses in the area so you can see what homes in the neighborhood are actually going for. This will help ensure your offer is on pace with the local market conditions.
Try to find out why they are selling. Do they have a date they need to sell by? If so, you can use this in your buying strategy. If the property isn’t seeing much interest, as the “sell-by” date draws closer, they will be more likely to accept a lower offer. You can look on the MLS or Zillow to see how long a property has been listed, as well as historical information regarding the listing price. Has the seller been dropping the price? If so, you might be looking at someone who not only wants to sell but who needs to sell right away.
This is when the real negotiations will come into play. Your inspection will cover most elements of the house. You will find out what needs to be fixed and replaced so you can negotiate repair costs with the seller. You can choose to ask for a lower sale price in exchange for buying as-is, or you can request the repairs be made before the sale is finalized.
There are some things an average inspector won’t be able to tell you. What’s behind the walls, the condition of a septic tank and other hard-to-reach elements will require specialized inspections.
Use Your Agent
You hired an agent for a reason. Make sure you are working with someone who loves the negotiation process! There is a difference between agents who simply guide you and ones who dive in to get their clients the absolute best terms possible. If you want to negotiate or discuss terms with the seller, make sure you keep your agent in the loop.
Your agent should be a well-versed professional and will have an excellent grasp of market conditions and real estate legalities you might not be aware of.
Run the Numbers
Sometimes when you are considering two prices, you will be surprised at the overall monthly impact. A difference of $10,000 can change your monthly payment considerably! Have your lender or mortgage professional run the numbers for you if you are considering two different prices.
Set an Expiration Date
Don’t just leave your offer on the table. Let the seller know you will be ready to move on if the offer isn’t considered in a timely manner.