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Buying A New Home? 4 Things You Can Negotiate Besides Price

As we all know the real estate market is a seller's market, with no indication of a slowdown.

Anyone in the market to buy a new home has witnessed this firsthand. Home sellers may have 10 competing bids by the close of the first day it's on the market. This means that price is harder to negotiate for buyers, as the seller can just go to the next in line if your offer isn't high enough. 

Additionally, sellers are in a position where they can ask for more commitment upfront. There are more full cash buys now. If the transaction isn't in cash, more sellers are now asking buyers to waive the mortgage contingency in the contract.

Although buyers may not have much wiggle room in terms of the upfront financials, there are ways they can make up for some of this during the negotiation process.

Below is a list of four things you can negotiate besides price during the home purchase process.

  1. Existing Decor. If you love the look of a home—the furniture, appliances, light fixtures, etc.—you can negotiate with the seller to buy those items with the home. This may also benefit the seller as sometimes their old furniture isn't a fit for their new place, so they may be open to leaving it for you.
  2. Home Cleaning. Anyone who has bought a new home knows that getting it ready to live in is a lot of work, and the cost can add up. Most contracts include basic conditions that must be met around home cleaning. But sellers can ask for additional services such as a deep clean of a high traffic carpeted area.
  3. Repairs. If your inspection report uncovers items that need repairs you can negotiate to have those repairs made by the sellers before you buy the home. Remember to be reasonable here. The etiquette when buying a home is to stick with non-cosmetic improvements.
  4. Closing Timeline. Sellers are often looking for the fastest closing timeline possible, but remember you can negotiate the timeline to better match your schedule. Or, maybe the timing doesn't matter to you, but the seller wants to stay in their home for an extra month. If you give them extra time for the closing, they may give you something in return.

No matter the market conditions, the key in the negotiation process is to not focus solely on 'winning'. Try to be fair, reasonable and keep everyone happy. Home buying is a human transaction and trust needs to be established between the buyer and seller because this is such a significant and important transaction.

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