Selling your home and think you hold all the cards? You do—sort of. But it’s easy to become overconfident in a seller’s market. Here, Realtor.com offers are six common home-seller negotiation tactics to avoid if you don’t want to sabotage your sale.
1. Starting a bidding war
There’s nothing wrong with fueling a little competition among buyers to get the best deal, but this tactic can easily backfire if you bungle it. Common bidding-war mistakes include:
• Not clearly explaining upfront how you intend to handle multiple offers;
• Giving an offer deadline that is too many days away. Some buyers might not want to wait for you to make a decision, especially if other homes are in contention; and
• Already having a strong offer on the table, but then insisting that all potential buyers come back with their highest and best bid.
There’s no guarantee buyers will play ball and, if that strong offer walks, you’re stuck with lower offers from which to choose. Bottom line: Proceed with caution before turning up the heat on the competition, because you could risk losing out on a dream deal.
2. Haggling over repairs
If the buyer completes an inspection and comes back with a long list of requested repairs, don’t get too tough here; you might send a buyer walking. Sellers should consider how good the overall package is before refusing to do repairs. If the buyer’s offer is high, and the seller tries to negotiate away from legitimate repairs, the buyer may feel the seller is taking advantage of them.
3. Threatening to put your home back on the market
If negotiations aren’t quite going your way, you might be tempted to call the buyer’s bluff. Hey, if they don’t want to ante up, you can always put your home back on the market and find another eager buyer to squeeze. Right? Yes, you might find another taker quickly. But beware of this move; it might not go according to plan. That’s because there’s often a stigma associated with putting a home back on the market, and it might be harder to get buyers to take a second look. Real estate markets also can change quickly from hot to cold, leaving you without all those buyers you were expecting.
4. Being stubborn on the closing date
You’ve decided you’re not going to allow the new people to move in until a certain date, because that’s when the closing date is on your new home. Or, they can’t possibly take possession this spring because your kids are still finishing school. Guess what? Your buyers have scheduling issues of their own, and sellers need to understand that they may have to move twice.
5. Getting greedy over what comes with the house
Planning to take your beautiful custom light fixtures with you? Not so fast. This could cause trouble at the negotiating table. The buyer might get so upset that a fixture they fell in love with is now missing that they won’t buy the home. Avoid this confusion by replacing anything that won’t be staying with the house before you show it. If that’s not possible, be prepared to leave the prized fixture behind, or negotiate a comparable replacement.
6. Refusing to pay closing costs
So, you’re coming down the home stretch and this deal is almost done. Congratulations! But the buyer asked you to cover their closing costs. Before you say no, consider that buyers sometimes roll the amount of those closing costs into their offer. For instance, let’s say your home is listed for $200,000. A buyer might then submit an offer for $204,000, but ask you to cover the $4,000 in closing costs. Some sellers will hold firm at the $204,000 offer and refuse to pay the closing costs because they want this higher price the buyer offered. However, the net is almost identical between a $200,000 offer with no closing costs and $204,000 with $4,000 in seller-paid closing costs. Do the math, keep your ego in check, and put yourself in the buyer’s shoes.