6 Mistakes That Can Kill Your Home Sale

Print Email

When selling your home, you want to get the best possible price, and that always involves paying attention to a million details. A good agent knows most of those details and can help you navigate them.

There is, however, one element that you should think about well in advance of when it occurs in the sales process: negotiating the final price.

While selling and buying a house is a bit different from bargaining for a souvenir in Casablanca, there will almost certainly be some negotiation over the final price, even in a seller’s market like the one we have today.

The pros at Realtor.com have put together a list of six negotiating tactics that can work to your benefit but that if misapplied could cause you to lose the sale. Listen up.

Starting a bidding war. From a seller’s point of view, the best of all possible worlds. Still, it’s easy to goof this up by not explaining clearly upfront how you will handle multiple offers, by setting an offer deadline too far in the future or by asking all potential buyers to make a last and final bid.

Haggling over repairs. How will you handle a list of repairs requested by the buyer after a home inspection? You most likely already know some of the home’s flaws, so be prepared for the buyer to ask for those — and probably others — to be fixed. Playing hardball here can cause the buyer to walk.

Threatening to put your home back on the market. The temptation to take your ball and go home is strong, especially if the buyer appears to be in the better position to win the game. The problem is that homes that are returned to the market after a cancelled sale are often viewed as flawed in some way.

Being stubborn on a closing date. There are any number of reasons that a seller could want to delay moving out. Remember, the buyers have their own schedule, and if you want to wait to move until the kids finish school or you close on your next home, you might have to move twice instead of once.

Getting greedy about throw-ins. We’ve written about this before. If you want to keep an item, either replace it before you show the house or make it perfectly clear from the beginning that it is not available as a sweetener for the buyer.

Refusing to pay closing costs. If you have accepted an offer of say $5,000 over your asking price and the buyer now wants you to pay closing costs consider this: the $5,000 premium was offered with the expectation that you would pay the same amount in closing costs. If you refuse, the buyer may walk. Is that really what you want to happen after everything that has gone on so far?

For examples and more details, visit the Realtor.com website.