The following is a guest post from Houston, Texas real estate developer and entrepreneur Tracy Suttles.
Overall Home Price
The most obvious new home negotiation point is the overall home price. When determining the price to be offered for the home, it is best to use the asking price of the home as a last resort. This number is typically just what the owners want to receive for the house and may or may not reflect its actual value. Working with a Realtor, comparables of recently sold homes in the area can be used to determine an appropriate home price. Use an average of homes that are similar in size, design and maintenance level.
If the real estate market in the area is a seller’s market, be prepared to pay top dollar for the home. The buyer may even have to compete with other offers when the offer is made which gives the seller the upper hand in the negotiation process. If it is a buyer’s market, the buyer may be able to make a low-ball offer that is below the perceived fair market value of the home.
Home Sale Contract Contingencies
In addition to overall price, the buyer can also negotiate based on other terms or contingencies. For instance, the sales contract may be contingent on an appraisal of at least the offer, an approved mortgage loan at a certain interest rate and a satisfactory inspection of the home.
New Home Concessions and Terms in Sales Contract
In a buyer’s market, the buyer can likely negotiate additional concessions into the contract such as a carpet or paint allowance or additional sod and landscaping. A buyer may also negotiate a portion or all of the closing costs into the price of the home. For instance, the buyer may make an offer of $200,000 for a home that also includes the seller paying for $5,000 in closing costs. This is in essence offering the seller $195,000 for the home.
Depending on the buyer’s situation, it may be necessary to negotiate certain terms into the sales contract. These terms could include the sale of the buyer’s home before this sale is complete. Or it may include a shortened or extended time before the home is closed.
A sales contract should not be signed unless all terms have been reviewed by both the buyer and the seller. Once the contract is signed, it will be difficult to walk away from the contract without giving up the retainer that was paid by the buyer upon acceptance of the offer. Negotiate the sales price and terms before signing and know that if it is not in the contract, the buyer nor the seller can be held to it.