When negotiating to purchase a new home, you will want to remember there are other things to negotiate than price.  When deciding what amount you will offer to purchase, you will want to be mindful of the other things that you are asking for from the seller.  You need to be mindful about the overall deal, not just the price.  The seller will consider all of the things you have asked for in order to make a decision on whether to accept, reject, or counter.  Let’s take a look at other things you should consider negotiating with the seller, other than price. 

  1. Repairs.  When buying a home you should always do a home inspection.  Typically, a home inspector is going to point out everything wrong with a home, some things may be big, some may be small.  Unless you are purchasing a home “as is” you may want to consider negotiating with the seller to make certain repairs particularly expensive repairs needed.  Sellers will not generally agree to fix everything on a home inspection as some things are considered frivolous by the seller.  They will also not agree to verbiage in a contract that requires them fix all repairs.  It is standard for buyers to add a clause in the contract that specifies that a seller will pay for repairs up to a certain dollar amount.  It is also common to have a buyer specify that they can cancel the contract if repairs exceed a certain amount once an inspection is done.  This is done so that the seller will be allowed to walk away from the deal if there is a lot of expensive repairs needed. 
  2. Closing Date.  For a residential loan closing, it is typically 45-60 days from the date that you execute the contract.  However, the loan closings can be negotiated to be sooner or later.  For example, perhaps you have to vacate your rental in 30 days and need to move quicker.  This is something that should be negotiated with the seller to see if they can accommodate a closing sooner.
  3. Closing Costs.  Buyers will often ask for the seller to pay for closing costs.  Typically, your agent will ask for a certain dollar amount in closing costs.  For example, they will ask for $2,500 in closing costs.  Be aware that the seller may not agree to a low ball offer AND paying closing costs.  The seller will look at how much they are going to net out of the deal.  For example, if the purchase price is $250,000 and the seller agrees to pay $3,000 in closing costs, then they view that they sold the home for $247,000.  Negotiating closing costs as a buyer allows you to come out of pocket with less money.
  4. Painting and Flooring Allowances.  Often sellers will have non-traditional colors on the interior and exterior of the home.  They may also have carpet that needs to be replaced as it has stains or fraying.  If this is the case, the buyer should consider asking for a painting and/or flooring allowance for updates.
  5. Appliances, Personal Property, Fixtures.  As a buyer, be as detailed as possible from the beginning and in the purchase contract.  If there is something in particular you want to have remain in the home, you need to discuss it and possibly negotiate with the seller.  Some appliances typically come with the property and some do not.  For example, stoves will come with the property but refrigerators may not.  Also, some sellers may have a favorite fixture and remove it prior to closing.  Maybe you really want the sofa in the living room.  You will want to negotiate things such as this during the contract process.