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Three Negotiating Mistakes Sellers Make

When you list your home for sale, you believe you’ve priced it right, staged it beautifully, and timed the market correctly for a quick sale. But that doesn’t mean buyers will want to pay you the full price. 

Homebuyers face many challenges, including rising home prices, large down payment requirements, unprecedented college debt and competition from other buyers. There’s also the fear of making a mistake, so they discount improvements you’ve made; they demand you fix every little thing, and they may deliver terms that you weren’t counting on – like needing to sell their home before they buy yours. 

Whether you planned to or not, you’re going to have to negotiate something. Negotiating doesn’t mean you win and the buyer loses, or you lose and the buyer wins. It’s simply a way to give and take so that you both get what you want. Think of it as a way for both of you to win. Here are three negotiating mistakes to avoid and what you can do to close the deal instead. 

Demanding top dollar for an aging property. An older home that hasn’t been updated or maintained to perfection can’t compete with refreshed or newer homes. This buyer will give you a low offer because your price doesn’t match the features they think the home should have.  

When you’ve lived in a home for some years, you miss the dings and scuffs that make a home look worn out. You don’t see the age of your finishes and fixtures the way buyers see them. Even if it’s not torn or broken, buyers may see certain things as needing to be replaced like old countertops or floors.  

Be open to compromise. Try to see your home the way the buyer sees it. Make a counter offer that may include updated countertops of their choice in a limited price range. 

Ending communication over a low offer. Don’t take a low offer personally – it’s a negotiating tactic. The buyer isn’t really expecting you cut the price of your home in half, but they are using a low price to tell you something. Your job is to find out what that something is. 

No offers or extremely low offers tell you that your home is overpriced compared to other similar homes. The market could be slowing down, giving buyers more confidence. The buyer could be using alternative comparables that don’t match the ones you used when you priced your home for sale. They could be trying to buy above their price range, or they may be investors who use a low-ball formula to acquire properties.  

Find out why they want to make such a low offer before responding. You know it’s going to be price or condition, or both. 

All or nothing attitude. Negotiations keep the dialog fluid and the buyer interested. Be flexible on the points that count most with the buyer, like move-in dates, and the buyer is more likely to be flexible with you on repairs or other negotiations. 

Refusing to do any repairs or negotiate on price make you look more than inflexible. It makes you look impossible to deal with because you’ve made it about being right and compromise makes you look weak and wrong. If you send back a contract with no changes addressing the buyer’s concerns, the buyer will likely walk away. 

You want to keep the dialog open and a possible deal alive. Remember, the buyer chose your home, and it could be your best opportunity to sell. Be flexible on the points that count most with the buyer like closing costs. Throw in the washer and dryer, and the buyer could be more flexible when it comes to repairs and other concerns.  

Remember, you want to sell your home and your buyer wants to buy it. Maximize your offers with good negotiating techniques and you can move on with your life. And when you buy your next home, you’ll be more experienced and a better negotiator knowing what the seller’s side is like.