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Negotiating a Home Sale

(A continuation of How to Sell a House)

By - 2006

Our look at negotiating a home sale continues with a checklist you can use, and a few thoughts about purchase agreements and counter-offers. Following this page we get into the closing process, where sometimes the negotiations continue.

Basic Negotiating Checklist

1. Gather general information about the buyer, his situation, and his ability to get a loan and complete the sale.

2. Discover the motivations, needs, and desires of the buyer.

3. Find any deadlines, like a need to move before the school year, or job transfer date.

4. Prepare. Plan how to use the information you gathered.

5. Set negotiating goals for yourself.

6. Start negotiations on an optimistic note.

7. Satisfy the buyer's needs as much as you can.

9. Satisfy your needs (hopefully meeting or surpassing your goals).

10. Clarify the understanding.

11. Make it legally binding: put it in the offer and have both of you sign it.

The Purchase Agreement

It is common to counter-offer when a buyer brings you an offer. A counter-offer actually is just a new offer. The original offer is void the moment you say no to it with your counter.

This is an important point to keep in mind when negotiating a home sale. If the original offer actually has everything you want in it, you risk losing a good deal when you counter it. The buyer can say no, and perhaps in the day that has passed he has found a more interesting home. So, as obvious as it sounds, I have to suggest: Say yes if you get the offer you want.

More often the offers and counter offers go back and forth a few times for good reasons. You may want to have an attorney review the final agreement, especially if you are selling on your own. For a detailed list of what should be in the agreement, see the "Purchase Agreement" part of the home-selling checklist found later in the book.

The book continues here: Real Estate Closing - The basics of the process and what you'll need.

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