Your Guide to a Good Deal: 5 Signs That a Home Price is Negotiable

Your Guide to a Good Deal: 5 Signs That a Home Price is Negotiable

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Megan Johnson
Aug 24, 2017
(Image credit: Zachary Zirlin )

After toiling through an endless trail of listings and showings, you've found your dream home. The only problem? The price tag that's out of your budget. But that doesn't mean you have to give up your dream of home ownership; if you're willing to put the research and effort in, you can often move the price point down significantly (within reason, of course). Here are some indications that you can flex your negotiation muscles:

The property has been on the market for a while

If a property has been loitering on the market for a considerable amount of time, consider that your open window to negotiation. "If something doesn't go under agreement after the first open house, you know there is something wrong," says Sarah Maguire of Broadway Village Real Estate. "Usually the issue is that it is overpriced." That's the perfect time for your agent to spring into action; have them start looking at comparable properties in the area, specifically ones that have sold for less. This way, you have evidence to back up your argument that the price should be lower.

There have been multiple price reductions

Have you noticed incremental price drops? Well, that's a surefire sign that either the seller requested or the realtor listed the home for more than it's worth, says Ed Deveau of Century 21 Mario Real Estate. If they're reducing it every week, that probably means they're not getting any offers. "It doesn't mean you'll be able to steal it, but they might just be happy getting a strong offer," says Deveau.

The market is filled with similar properties

If the seller of your dream house is looking to make their house stand out in a sea full of lookalikes, they're going to go the extra mile. "If a particular home is facing competition by being listed close to similar properties, it's possible the price may be negotiable," says Collins. This applies mostly for people who don't live in areas with very low inventory, however.

The seller is itching to close

If you can figure out the seller's motivation for putting the property on the market, you can often determine how eager they are to finish the deal."One of my jobs as a Buyer Agent is to dig for as much info as possible from the sellers," says Thais Collins of Suzanne and Company Keller Williams Realty. "What is prompting their move?" Perhaps the seller of your dream is hoping to move before the school year starts. Maybe they have a baby on the way, or are in the middle of a divorce. "Timing is everything" rings true when it comes to real estate; when people are motivated by a specific date on the horizon, they're often a bit more willing to compromise.

Nobody is currently living there

Vacancy is obvious. If nobody is currently living in the space you're hoping to buy, it's usually a good indication that you can negotiate the price. Why? The seller (or their tenant) have already moved on, and the owner is incurring costs for every single day they continue to own a vacant property. "Usually, that's a sign that there is value in a 'quick deal' for the seller," says Kevin Concannon of the Steven Cohn Team with Keller Williams. "Or the seller was just too cheap to decide to pay for staging."

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