Here are some helpful tips for Buyers when negotiating a sales offer on a home:
- Find out the number of days the house has been “on the market” (also referred to as DOM: Days on Market) as well as the pricing history of the home. In Texas, only members of the MLS will have access to this data…it is not publicly available.
You cannot use Trulia or Zillow or public tax information to find this information because Texas is a “non-disclose” state on real estate sales figures. Tax records are not accurate sources of real estate sales figure either…the appraised value of a home for tax purposes is usually not related to the actual value or price of the home.
- Ask the Seller’s agent why the home owner is selling the home. That agent does not have to answer the questions (due to client confidentiality) but typically will. This helps you understand the Seller’s motivation behind the sale.
- Make sure your Realtor does a Buyer’s CMA (comparative market analysis) to determine the current, probable value of the home. This will prevent you from over-paying for the home and will also prevent you from wasting your time. For example, lender appraisals these days in our area tend to the conservative side. If a Seller is demanding a price that is $50,000 over the current market value of the home, the lender will not loan the money to you to buy it, even if you are willing to pay it. You will either have to come up with the cash to pay the difference, or walk-away from the deal. Better to know earlier rather than later.
- Do not belittle the Seller or the property to the Seller who has strong emotional ties to the home. As much as possible, minimize emotional responses on both sides.
- Always make offers or changes to offers in terms in writing…Texas requires written contracts in regards to real estate.
- If you view a home when a Seller is present, be as friendly and positive as possible. Sellers like to sell to people they like.
- Do not start mentally decorating the house or arranging furniture in too much detail until you have a deal in writing…be ready to walk away. This is the biggest financial investment you may ever make…stay as rational as possible.
- Don’t get hung up on a few hundred or even thousands of dollars and lose a deal. You don’t want to lose a good deal on a $500,000 home over a $300 survey (for example).