6 White Lies to Help You Buy a House

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Buying a house is a negotiation. And as with any negotiation, when buyers are telling their story about why they want to buy this particular house and no other, their hearts may be pure, but their words may not have to be.

That is not to say that outright lying about your situation is either smart or legal. Remember that above all else. But there are some things you can say that may tip a seller’s decision in your favor.

Real-estate specialists at realtor.com have come up with a list of 6 things you might say (and what they really mean) to give yourself a better negotiating position for that house. These are the 6 little white lies that could make the difference between getting the house you want and having to keep shopping.

White Lie Number 1

What you say: “I’d really like to move in by [fill in the blank] date.”
What you mean: “I have to be out of my current house or apartment by [fill in the blank] date.”
Telling a seller that you have to be out of your current home gives the seller a negotiating edge. If a seller knows that you’re desperate to move, then there’s little reason to move on the price.

White Lie Number 2

What you say: We’ve made every effort to get our finances in order.”
What you mean: “Man, we hope we can afford this house.”
Most financing issues can be dealt with in the financial contingencies part of the contract. Keep quiet.

White Lie Number 3

What you say: “We’re really excited about this house.”
What you mean: “We must have this house. We’ll do anything to get it.”
That “anything” dilutes negotiating power and is likely to encourage sellers to stick to their price.

White Lie Number 4

What you say: “We’re not sure yet what our top offer will be.”
What you mean: “The most we can possibly pay is $[fill in the blank].”
As in poker, tipping your hand too early is a losing strategy. No matter how much you want the house, keep quiet about how much you are willing to pay.

White Lie Number 5

What you say: “We’re guessing there are other houses that also offer what we want.”
What you mean: “This is the only house on the market that offers what we really want.”
Because the house you want is priced in relation to similar houses, don’t reveal that it has the pool you always wanted or is in the school district you want or any other feature on your must-have list.

White Lie Number 6

What you say: “We have a few more questions.”
What you mean: “We’re getting cold feet.”
Never, ever let them see you sweat. If you do have questions about things like the cost of maintaining that beautiful yard or how safe the neighborhood is, do some research on your own, starting with your agent or some friend you trust.

The realtor.com website has more detail on these little white lies and also has a short video on the three things you should never say when buying a home.

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