Updated: Sunday, February 18, 2018
Tips For Negotiating With Sellers
If you dread the negotiating process when buying a home, never fear. Your real estate agent is an experienced negotiator who helps keep the bargaining from becoming emotional and veering off track.
Your agent must know your desires by heart and have quick access to you if a negotiation point needs to be made. Its important to stick to the strategy you and your agent have agreed upon -- showing the seller how strong your offer is.
First, get preapproved for a mortgage loan. That means your mortgage lender has reviewed your credit history and assets, checked employment and income, examined your debt-to-income ratios, and has preapproved you for a certain amount, terms and interest rate so you know exactly how much you can spend.
Being preapproved shows sellers that you are prepared and able to buy. Before you submit an offer, ask your agent to find out more what the seller wants as far as terms. The more your offer matches up with the sellers requests, such as a closing date, the more likely your offer will be accepted.
Find out when the house will be vacated, if any repairs or improvements are planned, and if the seller has any pressure points such as a >Your agent must also find out if other offers are on the table. Your position is stronger if there are no other offers. The seller may be less likely to bend on price concessions or repairs if there are other offers.
Have your agent pull up the most recent CMA comparable homes recently sold or on the market within a reasonable radius of the home, so you can sculpt your offer price. Be sure that you are comparing apples to apples in terms of updates, size of the home, amenities, location, schools districts, etc.
Once these steps are made, you are ready to write an offer.
Making the offer
Make yourself think like the seller. It helps you anticipate what the seller will accept in price, terms, and other conditions. By considering the sellers position, you will likely create an offer that is either accepted or strongly considered.
Your offer should be clear on the terms, closing dates, repair requests or other conditions the seller needs to meet and it should be accompanied by a letter from your lender that you are preapproved to buy the sellers home. Include a cover letter summarizing your strengths as a buyer in terms of creditworthiness, flexibility in closing, and the strength of the offer.
Dont insult the seller with an offer thats too low or requires too many concessions. The seller may be nostalgic about his or her life in the house and may not like the idea that you want to remodel.
The only thing a seller cant argue with is a strong set of comparables that show the home is overpriced or out of date. These are homes that have sold that are nearby within two blocks and similar in age, size and features. If you can show that a similar home has sold within the last two months for less than the seller is asking, thats good.
Be sure all conditions, repairs, etc. are agreed to in writing. Some sellers may feel that a handshake covers a promise, but its essential to be clear on paper what is expected and when. A sellers promise to paint should be included as an addendum to the contract and include all details, such as primer, exact color and type of paint, how many coats, and when the work will be finished for inspection.
Negotiating after inspections
The offer is negotiated and accepted, the earnest money is at the escrow agents office. Now the inspections occur, and this is where the contract negotiations can break down.
No home is perfect, not even brand-new construction. During the inspection process, the inspector is usually required to tell you about any condition of appliances, heating and cooling systems, roofs, electrical and plumbing systems, etc, and if your future home is up to current city codes.
Sellers are usually not required to bring a house completely up to current local building codes. Negotiate a repair only when a system is unsafe or a major repair is needed to make the system operate effectively.
As long as the seller has a reasonable explanation of what your position is and why, and communication remains open, the seller should have as much desire to make the contract work as you do.
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Design Tips for Upgrading Your Sunroom
The bones of your sunroom are all there - windows, floors, ceiling and maybe even some >
Big Changes for Big Effects
Take a good look at your space. What do you see? The "bones" of your space set the tone for everything that goes in it: this includes flooring, wall color or wall finish, ceiling, and other architectural elements that give your room its distinctive atmosphere. Tile and stained concrete are both tempting options for sunroom floors since they lend a breezy, sophisticated atmosphere to a sunshiny space.
Overhaul Your Floor with Tile
If youre looking to make a big impact with your floor, tile is a fantastic choicemdash;its sophisticated, you can do it yourself with a bit of practice and know-how, and your options are endless. Opt for a cozy, rustic brick feel, or perhaps Moroccan elegance with colorful tiles boasting a cool, casual feel. This Old House offers step-by-step instructions to lay your own tile floor. Keep in mind that when youre laying your own tile, the simpler the pattern, the better.
Treat Your Walls
For a Tuscan feel, go with a light Tuscan plaster wall treatment, and offset the coziness of your wall color with breezy, cream-colored sheer curtains or other light window treatments. Coupled with sophisticated furniture, youll love your understated Italian-inspired getaway, but make sure you dont overdo the accessories and clutter up the look.
Create an Atmosphere with Accessories Alone
If you live in an apartment or a rental home that doesnt lend itself to major overhauls, you still have plenty of options for updating your sunrooms look. ForRent.com offers countless ideas for designing your rented space. Something as simple as new patio cushions, candlesticks, brightly-colored pillows, or wall art can make your space look like something out of a design magazine. The best part about this kind of design: Its easy to overhaul your look without repainting Just view your space as a blank canvas, and fill it with colors and textures representing the >
Photo by Wickerfurniture via Flickr
Patio Cushions and Curtains
If youre handy with a needle and thread, sew your own patio cushions and curtains without paying the exorbitant prices that custom design firms charge. Check out SewMamaSew for step-by-step instructions to sew your own patio cushions.
Paint is your friend here. The hardest part about this step is harnessing your creativity, so choose a palette and run with it. Try picking up some old candlesticks from an antique store or flea market, then update them with high-gloss paint. Going for a beachy feel? Print a few sepia-toned beach shots you took on your last vacation, then frame them in simple wooden frames youve painted to match your >
Repurpose an old wood pallet into a coffee table that adds rustic >
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Photo by Wickerfurniture via Flickr
Nine Must-Haves For Your New Home, Valentines Day Edition
Sure, the right number of bedrooms is important. And, of course, you wouldnt even consider a house in the wrong school district. But what are the other things that really matter when buying a home? You know, the things that make your life easier - or at least a little less chaotic - on a daily basis and that support your life>
Whats true of >
The right location
If youve never had to sit in traffic for three hours a day, you probably dont know exactly how much it completely sucks. It may be worth it to you because a long commute is the only way youll be able to afford a home, but have a serious talk with yourself first.
The right overall layout
Sure, walls can be moved and floorplans reimagined, if thats what youre into. But some things you might not be able to change, perhaps because you lack budget or spacemdash;or both. If the idea of being on a different floor than your children stresses you out and you fear youll never be able to >
Nothing kills the mood like having to squeeze your knees together while your honey is in the only or only functioning bathroom. If youve ever watched House Hunters and seen a couple buy an old home with one bathroom, which they justified because the place was "just so charming," let us set the record straight: Theres nothing charming about peeing your pants.
So the house youre considering has an updated master bathroom, and what it lacks in space it makes up for in >
A good family gathering space
Whether or not you have kids or ever plan to, a good family room or living room is key to long-term enjoyment of a home. The amount of square footage is obviously important, but also pay attention to the key features of the room. Otherwise, youll end up with a space you hate being in because the west-facing windows make it too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter and the TV niche is shoved into the corner, making it hard to see unless youre sitting directly across from it. Or perhaps thats just us.
Back to House Hunters for a moment. Who else cringes every time someone buys a house with a laundry room in a creaky old basement? Just the thought of having to carry laundry baskets down two flights of stairs is enough for us to say a hard "No" to that. Many basement-free homes have laundry rooms on the first floor, when all the bedrooms are upstairs. This may be an acceptable feature for most peoplemdash;and it may be all youve known to this pointmdash;but trust us: Once youve enjoyed the convenience of an upstairs laundry room, youll never want anything else.
A sufficient garage
Burning your butt on a hot car seat in the summer and having to run the engine for 10 minutes before you get into a freezing cold car in the winter might anger you every single time you do it.
The right size backyard
Taking the kids to the park instead of letting them loose in a backyard you dont have. Getting out of bed to walk the dog in the middle of the nightmdash;and in the rainmdash;because, again, no backyard. Not having a backyard at all, or a tiny patch of grass that doesnt give you space to move, might not be the kind of compromise you want to make. On the flip side, a large back yard that requires time and effort to maintain may take away from family time and create stress or anxiety.
A kitchen you can work with
Yes, you can replace a dishwasher or repaint your cabinets. Heck, you can rip the whole thing out and start over if you want, but most people arent looking to drop that kind of money on a brand-new kitchen. Is the kitchen workable as is? Are there small tweaks you can make that would create a space you want to cook in? Being honest with yourself about what you need, what you can handle, and what is realistic can help you make a good choice instead of one you may soon regret.
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