When your realtor tells you the price of the home, it should be prefaced with, “This is the asking price; that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to pay that price.” Buying a home usually involves quite a bit of negotiation—and it should. What the seller thinks is a fair price for their home isn’t always actually the right price for that house. If you walk into a home that is obviously overpriced, here are a few of the ways you can talk the seller down from their price to a price you can actually afford.
Have the home inspected. Why will this help you? Because the inspector’s job is to find the cracks in the foundation, the water damage, the mold, and the damage. These sorts of issues can help you negotiate a better price, since they are issues you will likely have to pay to deal with once you’ve purchased the home. The more severe the issue is, the more you can ask off of the price. Alternatively, these are issues that you can ask the seller to deal with before you move in.
Hire a good real estate agent. A great agent will be able to tell you instantly whether a home is overpriced, especially compared to the other homes in the neighborhood. If a seller is trying to unload a home at a price that is outlandish compared to what other homes in the area have sold for, it won’t be that difficult for a great agent to get the seller to agree to a lower price.
Try not to fall in love. Your emotions are going to play a big role in choosing a home—that’s a given. You have to be critical enough to see the house’s flaws and use them to your advantage. If you’re blinded by the large backyard or the beautiful paint color, you might be so hasty that you ignore the water damage in the basement. Take your time and be critical of the house.
Research the neighborhood. If you suspect that the seller is trying to get an extra $100,000 out of you, it’s time to take a moment and look at other houses that are about the same size and age in the neighborhood. Especially if your potential home is part of a development, there are likely to be other houses in the area that have the same floorplan and are about the same age. Find out what they sell for to know whether or not you’re getting a good deal.