Buying a Home? 3 Tricks for Talking a Seller Down on Price

by Maurie Backman | Updated July 19, 2021 - First published on April 2, 2021

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A house made of folded dollar bills rests in an outstretched hand.

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Today's home prices are pretty inflated. Here's how you might get away with paying less.

In today's housing market, sellers definitely have the upper hand. A record low number of listings coupled with attractive mortgage rates have fueled a surge in buyer demand, which means sellers can get away with asking for a lot more money for their homes. If you're in a position where you find a home you love but can't quite swing the price, don't give up -- you may be able to talk its seller down to a more reasonable price point. Here's how.

1. Point out the home's flaws

No home is perfect, and chances are, there's something wrong with the property you're interested in, whether it's an easily fixed issue like worn carpets or a more extensive (and expensive) issue like an outdated air conditioning system. If you're looking to get a seller to come down on price, politely but firmly point out the various things you'll need to sink money into if you end up buying that home. If those things are an issue for you, chances are, they'll be a problem for other potential buyers as well, so a seller may agree to take some money off the asking price to appease you.

2. Offer to pay cash

Most people can't buy a home outright -- rather, they need to take out a mortgage to finance it. But if you happen to be sitting on savings, selling off some investments, or receiving an inheritance and you can make an all-cash offer, your seller might agree to knock some money off of the price for a quick sale. It takes anywhere from 30 to 60 days or longer to close on a mortgage. So if you have a seller who needs to close quickly -- say, because they want to relocate for a job opportunity -- then paying cash could be your ticket to a discount.

3. Be very flexible with your closing date or contract terms

You may find a seller who needs flexibility when it comes to a closing date. If you're willing to accommodate them, a seller may be willing to sell you their home for less in return. Say you make an offer in March. However, your seller doesn't want to close until June, because they are waiting for a new construction home to be built. If you agree to that condition, you may reap some savings. Similarly, your seller may ask to close on the home quickly but then keep the option to rent that home back from you for a few months. Agreeing to that arrangement could shave some money off your home's cost.

In today's housing market, a lot of buyers are paying above sellers' asking prices in the course of snagging a home. But if you play your cards right, you might manage to get a more affordable price from your seller.

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