How to Buy a Home

Improving an Offer Without Raising the Price

If you're interested in learning how to buy a home, how to negotiate a real estate offer - without necessarily raising the price - read on. Is it possible to improve an offer without raising the price? Maybe. It depends.

If a seller is motivated solely by price (most often the case, but not always), there's not much a buyer can do. If you really must have that particular property, you may have to succumb to the seller's monetary demands to get it. However, while negotiating an offer, there may be other options available to make an offer more attractive to a seller. If you're properly prepared, you could ...

Remove Conditions

In this tutorial on how to buy a home, you must know that next to raising your offer price, removing conditions is arguably the most effective way to negotiate an offer successfully, especially when competing in a multiple offer situation.

If you have a substantial down payment, say 20% or more of the expected purchase price, and you have a pre-approved mortgage, a condition on arranging a mortgage may be unnecessary. And I don't mean a simple verbal promise from a lender that they'll lend you the funds. I mean a duly authorized written pre-approval letter or certificate with all terms of approval clearly spelled out, and supported by a current credit report and confirmations of down payment and employment income(s). Seeking such a document should be the first thing you do when beginning the process to buy a home.

If the home is nearly new or has been extensively and professionally renovated and updated, or is a condominium apartment, a home inspection may not be necessary. I do, however, recommend them, if not to detect latent or even patent defects, at least to inform yourself as to what you're actually buying.

They're a great opportunity to learn from a professional how to properly maintain a home. If you want to keep your investment in good condition (and it is an investment), there are significant responsibilities that should be thoroughly understood. Don't let it deteriorate, or else you'll pay a steep price when you want to sell it down the road.

If you want the comfort provided by a home inspection, but also want your offer to be more appealing to a seller by avoiding a home inspection condition, have one performed prior to making the offer. You'll obviously have to pay the inspector's fee up front, but it will help improve your offer. And if you're competing against another buyer and you lose the bid, you must accept the loss of the inspection fee as an additional expense to buy a house.

Nevertheless, the most common condition objection from sellers in an average marketplace is the one pertaining to the ...

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Sale of Buyer's Property

If you elect to search for, find and offer on your next home prior to listing your old one, it's common to include a condition on the sale of your old place.

Virtually all sellers find such conditions unattractive, since they consider them not a real sale, but more like an option to purchase. They believe, and rightly so, that if your home fails to sell, the seller must start all over again. Once a seller accepts such a condition, other prospective buyers may be discouraged from even viewing it. Buyers will often be reluctant to invest their time, effort and emotion into successfully negotiating an offer, only to lose it to buyer number one who decide to exercise their option to waive (remove) their condition(s) and firm up.

Click how to buy a home when you already own a home, to learn how to handle such a scenario.

Are You a Gambler?

If you can afford to potentially own two homes simultaneously, or if you believe you'll sell your present home in time to close on a new one, to make an offer more attractive or to encourage the seller to even consider it, you may think about not including a sale condition.

How to Buy a Home Without this Challenge?

Sell your old place first. The same is true for any other lesser conditions. For example, if you want your lawyer to review the offer, don't add it as a condition. Just have them review it prior to execution and submission.

If you can give the seller their desired closing date, do so. Don't ask for chattels that aren't included on the listing. Since it forms part of your down payment, offer a large deposit because it won't really cost you anything. It may, though, give the seller a sense of security that you're a serious buyer who will fulfill their promise to complete the transaction as contractually agreed.

And if possible, eliminate any seller requirements like having to provide a survey or do any repairs to the building.

How to buy a home and make an offer more attractive to a seller? Look at your offer from the seller's perspective. Would you accept your offer if you were the seller? Be objective.

So, how to buy a home successfully?

Be smart. Be fair. Be adaptable. Be prepared.

For more helpful information on buying and selling homes, visit the CREA and follow their Road Map.

If you're interested in a more definitive guide on how to buy a home (including maybe even changing your life), whether privately or with the guidance of a qualified realty agent, check out my book The Happy Agent. It's chock full of tips and techniques developed during my successful 4 decade realty career. Learn how to search the market, evaluate property and negotiate an offer to purchase a home, including city, suburban and rural.

A small investment of your time and a pittance of your money could conceivably save you thousands of dollars and a ton of heartache, and help you trade in real estate like a pro. Remember - knowledge is power.

Available virtually everywhere print and e-books are sold.

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