These days, homebuyers have the upper hand in real estate transactions. But don't expect sellers to accept just any offer. When negotiating a home purchase, you still need to do your homework and determine a fair market value for a property. And if you're savvy, you may be able to get some extras--such as a home warranty or cash for closing costs--included in the deal.
Here's some expert advice on how you can haggle like a pro.
Start by doing some market research. That will give you the background you need to kick off your negotiations.
"Given that we're in a buyer's market, buyers don't typically pay the asking price," says Bryant Roman, a real estate attorney in Brooklyn, New York. But that doesn't mean you can just go in and offer 10% to 15% below the asking price.
"In a buyer's market it may be tempting to come in with a very low first offer," he says. "While some sellers may respond, keep in mind that you do run the risk of offending the homeowner and having him refuse to even give you a counter offer."
Instead, Roman advises buyers to do a search of comparable sales--or "comps"--and find out what similar properties sold for in that neighborhood.
A buyer may also want to look at what's called the list-to-sales ratio. This figure tells you at what price a property was initially listed and the price at which it ultimately sold. A real estate agent can help you do this.