|Can I negotiate that? Common
questions asked by buyers|
Julie Garton-Good, GRI, DREI
A recent survey shows that Americans sell a home
approximately every 11 to 12 years. That means they go through the home-buying
process only three or four times during their lifetime. So it's not surprising
to hear this common refrain after a sale: "I didn't know I could negotiate
What is the primary reason buyers don't understand
that various items of the purchase can be negotiated? Probably local custom.
Often buyers and sellers pay closing costs and other costs associated with the
sale based on "how it's always been done" in an area. For example,
some parts of the country have sellers paying for standard title insurance while
in other parts of the same state, the custom might be for buyers to pay it.
Custom started the pattern; so absent any question or complaint, it continues.
Preprinted forms have also added to the custom of who pays
what. The standard form might allow a buyer to choose who provides a service and
who pays for it. Both customs and forms have gridlocked consumers' minds,
hampering their creativity in negotiating services and fees.
What can a buyer negotiate in a real estate
purchase? Almost everything! This could include not only costs with sellers,
like discount points and other loan fees, but interest rates and origination
fees with lenders.
What if a preprinted purchase agreement you're using already
states who will pay a certain cost, but you want to change it? Mark it out, add
the change and initial it. (And, of course, the other party to the transaction
would have to do the same before it would be binding.)
When it comes to negotiating costs, fees and other points of
the purchase, the sky is truly the limit. Whether it's your third or 13th home
purchase, loosen the shackles and get creative. Who knows how much money you
might save in the process.