Negotiating is very important when buying a home.  There are lots of things to negotiate other than price.  For example, you can negotiate whether you keep the refrigerator, the closing date, whether or not the seller pays for closing costs, needed repairs, and many other things as well.  You will want to avoid negotiating mistakes in order to get what you want in the negotiating process.  Let’s take a look at some of the most common negotiating mistakes.

  1. Do not assume that the seller thinks like you.  Try to find out as much as you can about the seller and put yourself in their shoes.  What would you do if you were them to sell the home for as high a price as possible?  Now that you know how they might think, you should be mindful of that with your offer.  Try to ask for things in areas they might accept and make concessions in areas in which they may not.  Remember, you need to let the seller think they “won”.  Be mindful of this when deciding on what you will offer and any items that you will ask the seller to fix or pay for prior to closing.
  2. Do not be a jerk.  Sellers do not respond as favorably to jerks.  If you play nice, they will likely consider your offer and any additional requests.  However, if you are not nice, they may say no even though they are not adverse to your request.  Just remember, you get more flies with honey.
  3. Talking too much.  Knowledge is power.  You will want to listen more than you talk.  The goal is to find out as much as you can about the seller and reveal as little as possible about you.  You will want the seller to know that you are a legitimate buyer and can confirm that fact with a mortgage approval letter.  Talking too much can provide the seller information to use against you in negotiations.
  4. Failing to take enough time to think about and respond to counteroffers.  Often times a seller may put pressure on the buyer to respond quickly to counteroffers.  Buyers can feel pressured and make hasty decisions.  Do not fall into this trap.  Take the time to thoughtfully consider the counteroffer.  Good decisions are rarely made when feeling time pressures.
  5. Small things become deal breakers.  Pick your battles carefully.  Early in the process, rank the things that you want in the deal.  For example, number one may be purchase price, or it may be closing date.  You may want to keep the refrigerator.  If keeping the refrigerator is low on your list of top priorities, do NOT make it a deal breaker.
  6. Taking the negotiating process personally.  One of the biggest mistakes is that the buyer will allow their ego to get involved and will take things personally.  Stay focused on the end goal and be as objective as possible.  Do not let emotions drive your deal.