How to Negotiate Your Home Purchase


No matter how low of an offer you put in for a home, it almost never fails that at some point you get buyer's remorse wondering if you could have purchased it for even less. Some realtors might tell you that the fair market value is what you did pay, but we all know that some times buyers can, and do, over pay. Often that's because they are thinking with their emotions rather than with their head. On the other hand, did you offer too little that you might lose the deal?

Just ask Donita Nurse how she feels about home negotiations and you'll get an ear full of her experiences. When the 29-year-old was ready to move out of her rental in the historic Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago into a place of her own, she didn't want to leave the area, which is rich in African-American history and a short commute to her downtown job at the East Bank Club.

She also wanted to purchase a short sale with a minimum of three bedrooms and with about $100,000 of equity above the purchase price. Her reasons were logical: This single woman with no kids wanted a place she could grow into, and that she would not likely lose money on, even if it went down in value.

And why the short sale (other than for a great value)? When owners are selling their homes without outside pressures, like from banks, Donita says that she has found that sellers are too attached and unwilling to negotiate a fair price. She prefers to target short sales that have been on the market awhile.

"At that point they have to sell it or they'll go into foreclosure," she says. "It has been on the market long enough for the owners to accept that."

So Donita did her research to find a great value on short sales. (She felt that homes already in foreclosure would be a bigger hassle with the banks). She studied the sale prices for comparable homes and over a two-year period Donita found her dream home -- three times. She made an offer each time, only to run into problems on all three. But a turn of events just may make the third time the charm.

Here are seven tips for purchasing a home at your price: