When you set out to buy a house, there is an important rule to keep in mind: everything is negotiable. At least that is the case with most sellers. Not only can you negotiate on price, but you can also ask for things like new paint, flooring, appliances, and more. If a seller seems completely unwilling to cooperate, you should consider them the exception, and think about finding another home. When you enter into negotiations to buy a home, it is important to think about negotiating in the following areas to make sure you get the best deal.
Home/Yard Decor: When you look at a house, pay attention to items in the house and out in the yard. Items such as potted plants, curtains, blinds, and yard equipment are all fair game. Buyers often even ask sellers to throw in a piano, a home theater, or a boat -- anything they may see in or around the house. You may not get everything you ask for, but if you make a play for it, the seller might agree.
Closing Time-frame: In general, sellers prefer buyers who will want to close quickly. However, if you need a little wiggle room until your mortgage broker approves your financing, extra time is something for which you could negotiate.
Post-close Occupancy: When a home sells, sellers sometimes work a post-close occupancy agreement into the deal. It allows them to stay on for a short amount of time after the deal closes. It is possible to use the occupancy period as a bargaining chip. Many sellers need a longer post-close occupancy allowance because they are having trouble getting their new home ready to move into. If you are willing to give the seller as much time as they want in the house after the sale, this could give you leverage in lowering the sale price of the home.
Home Warranty: Home inspections and appraisals are intended to protect both the buyer and the seller. However, problems might still slip through, and you may not discover them until you are living in the home. Consider asking the seller to provide a one-year home warranty. A home warranty is one of the most negotiated items in any home deal.
Security System: When people sell their homes, they've usually had them for a few years. While they are likely to put in new appliances to make a better impression on potential buyers, older security systems are often overlooked. Outdated security systems could prove to be a future liability. It's a good idea to request an upgrade to the security system as part of the deal. If the house already has a modern security system in place, negotiate to make sure it stays in place.
Deep Cleaning Services: Don’t assume that the seller will provide a thorough cleaning before they hand it over. At best, you might expect a surface cleaning if you're lucky. It is important to negotiate a deep cleaning agreement before you agree to buy.
You may not win on every item that you ask for, but most sellers will give serious consideration to reasonable requests. Once you secure a seller's promise on an item, make sure it is added to the contract. A good real estate agent will help you with these negotiations and ensure follow through prior to close.