Fierce Negotiating Tactics for a First-Time Buyer

published Aug 28, 2017
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(Image credit: Ellie Arciaga Lillstrom)

Just because it’s your first time buying a home doesn’t have to mean you go into negotiations completely clueless. While the whole process may be new to you, there’s actually some benefits to having it be your first time around. Here’s some tactics for negotiating your first home purchase:

Think locally

It’s always a good idea to go with a buying agent that knows their territory. You know how it feels like everyone who went to summer camp knows each other? Well real estate works similarly, in that every agent has a wide network of fellow agents. This means not only do they all know each other, but they know the local market. Out-of-town agents who don’t do their homework before listing a property are ripe for being taken advantage of by somebody who does know the area. “Don’t use your cousin’s friend who just got their license — things will not end up in your favor,” says Sarah Maguire of Broadway Village Real Estate.

Bring an inspector along to the open house

If you know a place is going to have a lot of interest and multiple offers, ask an inspector to accompany you to the open house. Not only can they take a look around and point out any visible issues, but it will also allow you to feel comfortable waiving the home inspection, therefore making your offer that much stronger.

Tug at their heartstrings

Never underestimate sentimental value. If your realtor does their homework on the seller, you might find that they had their first child in the house, or that they’re major dog lovers. By playing up those details and somehow relating to them, the seller may choose to go with you.”We’ve had offers get accepted that were a lower dollar amount than other offers on the table, due to emotional connections,” says Andrew Sobel, Vice President of Sobel Real Estate.

→ When Home Buyers Contact Sellers Directly: Has This Worked for You? Or ON You?

Have your pre-approval ready to go

Ideally from a local, well respected lender: “I can’t tell you the amount of times my clients have gotten accepted offers because of the lender I refer them too,” says Maguire. If you want to be super diligent, have the lender reach out to the listing agent once the offer is submitted to reiterate how strong you are financially.

Know exactly how much you’re willing to pay

You don’t want to kick yourself because you lost out on your dream home because you wouldn’t go up another $2000. That’s why you should settle on a number that you know absolutely, 100% you will not exceed. “If your number is $525K, be prepared to pay $525K,” says Ed Deveau of Century 21 Mario Real Estate.

Work according to the seller’s schedule

As a first-time homebuyer, you have one advantage: You don’t have a home to sell. That means you can accommodate a seller’s particular closing date. By catering to their needs, you’re making them feel like they’re in the driver’s seat. If possible, also make it clear that you can also be flexible with the dates of the Purchase and Sale signing.

Offer the seller the chance to rent their property back

Offer sellers to close on the home and rent it back from you for a short period of time, “This takes pressure off their move, and may make your offer stands out against your competition,” says Thais Collins, a realtor and buyer agent with Suzanne and Company Keller Williams Realty. Just be sure to consult your Buyer Agent as well as your real estate attorney to discuss the legal aspects of this method.

Remember bluffing is a risky game

Don’t bite off more than you can chew. While bluffing is certainly a negotiation tactic, it’s a dangerous one. “The most powerful tool in negotiation is truly being willing to walk away from something if you do not get what you want,” says Kevin Concannon of Steven Cohen Team Real Estate. “As a buyer you have to decide where you find the value and at what point it is no longer for you.”