The real Deal / How to lose the house you want in 8 easy steps
Buyers in this market can be a difficult lot. No matter how much those in my business try to convince them otherwise, sometimes they just cannot resist low-balling a house that they really like, and doing other things that we advise against.
What follows is a true tale of how some first-time buyers recently conducted themselves in a real estate negotiation. If you are willing to lose a house you want, just follow these eight easy steps.
1. Submit an offer at 77 percent of asking for a well-priced house that's been on the market for only seven days. Make sure to do this verbally so that the seller knows absolutely nothing about you.
2. After having this offer rejected, agonize for three more days before submitting a new offer -- this time at 84 percent of asking price.
3. After having this offer rejected, wait another few days. Then, compose a long email to your buyer agent detailing why the house is not worth a penny more than the 84 percent of list price that you just offered. Be as critical of the property as possible, and be sure to include a price-per-square-foot comparison versus a recently-sold house in the neighborhood that you've never seen.
Ask your agent to forward this email to the listing agent so that the sellers can better understand where you're coming from.
4. Wait another few days so that the sellers think they are finally rid of you. Then, submit the offer you should have brought in the first place, at 91 percent of asking. Be sure to direct your buyer agent to mention how reluctant you are to pay this much, and how fortunate the sellers are to have a buyer as qualified as yourself interested in their home.
5. Counter in $10,000 increments in response to seller counters of $25,000. Whine a lot so the seller understands you are doing this against your will.
6. Dig in your heels when you are $25,000 apart in the negotiations. Ask for a detailed utility cost history that makes the seller wonder if you can actually afford the monthly payments once you own the house.
7. Above all, do not follow any advice that your agent may give you. After all, you have an MBA or a law degree, or both, and you certainly know more about real estate than he or she does.
8. Bottom line, behave in a way that makes the process so unpleasant for the sellers that if another offer comes in, they will prefer it to anything you may come back with.
The moral of this story is never to lowball a house that you love. Decide how much you're willing to pay for the house and then offer that amount, in writing. Do so earnestly and in good faith. Making the seller like you is an important part of the negotiating process.
Evi Coghlan is a licensed real estate agent with Westport/Riverside office of Coldwell Banker and a former marketing consultant who advised Fortune 100 companies. To contact her, call 203-247-6691, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.evicoghlan.com.