My last post was all about how homesellers can turn off/turn away potential buyers. Well, that street runs two ways! Buyers, you can also do some things that turn off a seller and make that seller less willing to work with you. Here are 3 things to keep in mind when you’re looking for a house and when you find “the one”:
1. Extreme lowball offers. Many (not all!) markets are still what we consider “buyers markets” these days–where available inventory is greater than the number of buyers actively looking to purchase a home. This gives buyers a bit of an upper hand in negotiations, but let’s be reasonable and realistic here. Buyers, you should consult your agent to find out what similar homes in the neighborhood have sold for recently. While most sellers will likely be reasonable in considering a price lower than what they’re asking, they are probably not going to give away their home (and largest asset) for way less than current market value in the area. And what’s worse–by making a lowball offer just to “see what they say”, you run a very big risk of turning them off so much that not only will they refuse your offer, they may refuse to counter and/or decide not to work with you at all! So, you waste their time, your time, both realtors’ time, and in the end, everyone loses! So make your offer based on the realities of the market in your area and in the neighborhood you’re interested in. Forget the fantasy of trying to score the “deal of a lifetime”–if you want the house, then be reasonable!
2. Mortgage “issues”. Realtors are seeing this happen too often. You find the house, you make an offer, negotiate the terms, get your offer accepted. Yea, you think the hard part’s over! It’s just beginning! Now it’s time for you, the buyer, to put up or shut up–you have to apply and be approved for the mortgage loan you need to complete the transaction. Things have changed a lot in the mortgage industry in the last few years! Many buyers with jobs, good credit, and cash on hand are finding it difficult to obtain financing. And if you have challenges with any of those things, it’s even more difficult, if not impossible! So, buyers, what can you do? Start the mortgage approval process before you ever go out looking for a house. Get pre-approved for a loan and have that pre-approval ready to submit with your offer to purchase the home you want. Know how much home you qualify for and stay in that price range. Keep your financial affairs in order while all this is going on–don’t buy anything on credit, don’t open new credit cards, don’t fall behind in bill payments, and don’t change jobs until after you close on your new home! Seller, be sure you ask for proof that your potential buyer can complete the transaction–get a copy of that pre-approval!
3. Trash-talking the seller’s home. If you, the buyer, are trashing the seller’s home as a reason to offer less, you’re running the very big risk of making the seller mad and giving him reasons not to sell to you! Plus, if you think it’s that bad, then why do you want to buy it in the first place?? If there are legitimate problems with the house that make you consider offering a much lower price than what the seller is asking, then ask your agent to communicate your concerns in a professional and respectful way. Chances are, the seller is aware of those issues already, and being respectful will keep communications open. Remember, a seller has emotional ties to his home–many take your negative comments as a personal commentary on them, and may not be willing to work with someone they perceive as attacking them personally.
At the end of the day, everyone has the same goal–to sell or buy the house in question. By putting yourself in the other party’s shoes, you can facilitate the transaction, communicate your position effectively and respectfully, and everyone ends up getting most of what they want! Sellers sell, buyers buy, everyone wins!
Success to you!