You’ve found the perfect home for you in the Vail Valley and are now thinking about how to make an offer. A lot of buyers know that they can negotiate things in their offer but often they focus on the price. However, there are a lot more things than just price that you can negotiate and include in your offer.
Negotiations are something that I always recommend to my buyers, and even more so in the current market. A lot of homes are selling over asking price and so it is unlikely that this will be a big negotiating point for you as a buyer. This is why it’s important to know what other things you can negotiate in an offer that can help you get everything you want and need. The negotiations are a great way to make your offer stand out from the rest, especially if you can tailor them to suit the seller’s needs. So here are some of the most common and important things you can negotiate in an offer.
Closing costs are something a lot of buyers tend to forget about and it can catch them off guard. The costs cover the lender and broker fees, and property taxes, title transfer tax and homeowners insurance. But closing costs are absolutely one of the things you can successfully negotiate. It’s hard to say exactly how much closing costs will be, but you can typically expect between 2% and 5% of the purchase price. If the seller is in a rush and desperate to move out of the home, you can ask them to pick up some or all of the closing costs. Whether they agree to this or not will usually depend on how motivated they are to sell the home. Negotiating on the closing costs won’t bring down the price of the home but it leaves you with extra cash to spend on the home in other ways.
On the flip side, you could offer to pay the closing costs for the seller. This could make your offer more attractive than other buyers’. Make sure that you have the funds available to cover these costs as well as your down payment and potential appraisal gap. Your real estate agent can help you determine what an appropriate negotiation strategy would be regarding the closing costs.
The closing timeline is another important piece that you can often negotiate on. This requires you to have prior knowledge of what the seller’s ideal timeline looks like. Your buyer’s agent should hopefully be discussing this with the seller’s real estate agent to get this information. You can then tailor your offer to meet the seller’s needs. In the current market this could make the difference on your offer being accepted over somebody else’s.
You also need to be very aware of what your own current situation is regarding a closing timeline. If a seller needs extra time to stay in the home while they buy their own new home, and you have the flexibility to stay where you are and not rush, then you can accommodate the seller that way. On the opposite end of the spectrum, if the seller needs to move very quickly you can negotiate that and help them by speeding up the process. Flexibility on the buyer’s end can really help in making your offer more attractive to a seller. Pay attention to their needs and try to cater to them as much as possible. In the current market, these are the things that can set your offer apart and win you a home.
In this very competitive market, it can be tempting to forgo a home inspection just to speed up the process. I don’t recommend this as it can be very risky. You can be blindsided by unexpected repairs very quickly. A home inspection is very important so a buyer knows what they’re getting into. You can then decide to negotiate on repairs if you choose. Sometimes a seller doesn’t want to reduce the price of the home, but would rather pay to fix the problem instead. After the home inspection, discuss the issues with your real estate agent as they can help you prioritize what’s a really big problem and what is considered a minor issue. Then you can decide which repairs you may want to negotiate in your offer.
A lot of the homes sold and bought in the Vail Valley and Cordillera area are second homes. As a result, a lot of the homes are sold fully or partially furnished. A seller has no need for this extra furniture when they are downsizing and would rather leave it for the new owner. If you are looking at a home that has furniture included there will usually be a very detailed list of exactly what comes with the house and which items the seller will be taking with them.
But it is possible to negotiate for items. Even if a house is listed as not furnished, you can ask for furniture, decor items or even certain appliances to be included anyway. It is possible that a seller will accept to speed up the process. But be aware that they could also refuse, depending on what you ask for. Remember that some homes are staged as well so the furniture you see there is actually not the seller’s property to sell. If you walk through a home and absolutely love certain items, mention it to your real estate agent and they can be sure to include that when negotiating your offer.
On the other hand, if there are certain items the seller plans to leave behind that you absolutely do not want, you can ask for this as well. The removal of big appliances or furniture can cost you money, so if you already know you don’t want it, ask for it to be removed before you close.
The final item that you can negotiate in an offer is the home warranty on the home. A homeowner’s warranty covers the repair of certain key parts of the home such as heating and air, plumbing, electric or appliances. Your home inspection should give you a general idea of the state of these things and this will help you determine how important your home warranty is. It is not uncommon to ask the seller to cover the first year or two while the buyer agrees to pay any deductibles on any claims. If you are trying to make your offer more attractive in a competitive market, you can also state that you will pay the home warranty instead of asking the seller for it. This may help you stand out and give you the edge you need for the seller to accept your offer over somebody else’s.
How Can I Help?
I hope this blog on what to negotiate in an offer will help you during your home buying experience. Please reach out to me if you need help or want more information! I want to provide my clients with interesting and up-to-date information so they can make informed decisions. If you think that my expertise and positive attitude might be of service to you don’t hesitate to reach out and contact me.
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Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Specialist
Coldwell Banker Distinctive Properties