How to negotiate your home’s sale price

Negotiating on a home’s price isn’t the same as haggling over art at a garage sale. The asking price is just the start. Here’s some info to help you understand what is negotiable, and when’s the right time to negotiate.

Motivated seller

While sellers appear to have the advantage in homebuying negotiations, a seller who needs to move on an expedited schedule may be more open to them than you would think. Always make sure to ask the agent why they are selling. The more you know about the seller’s situation, the more value you may offer to them in your negotiations.

Purchase price

If many people are looking at the home, it may be standard practice to offer above the asking price. However, if there are no other offers on the home, and the home has been on the market for a while, you may go lower. It’s important to keep the market value of the home in mind when you do this. Also, be nice. Include a personal note to the seller with your offer, letting them know how much the home means to you.


If the home has some flaws you are willing to live with, pointing them out could either get you a discount on the purchase price, or the seller may complete the repairs before you take residency.

Closing costs

Depending on the repairs needed, and how fast you want to move in, you could ask the seller to pay some or all of the closing costs instead of making the repairs. This will save you that out-of-pocket cost and decrease the amount you need to finance, lowering your monthly payments.

Home warranty

Ask for a home warranty. The seller will pay the premium at closing and you will be responsible for the deductible if there are any claims made.

Closing dates

The closing date can be a delicate balance. It can be a challenge to be sure your move-in date coincides with the end of your current living arrangement and is also convenient to the moving plans of the seller. However, you can make it work in your favor. If the seller needs more time they may be willing to pay your rent in the meantime, or at least lower the sales price or pay other costs.

Household items

What are the chances that those custom window coverings will really fit the seller’s windows in their new place? Ask what household items come with the house or if the seller is willing to pass them over to you. It might save you the cost of buying them yourself.

Get points

If repairs are needed or the home appraisal came in lower than expected, you can ask the seller to pay points on your mortgage as a tax-deductible expense. This lowers your interest rate.

What not to do

In the house price negotiation process, the seller may ask you for some concessions in return. If they ask you to waive the appraisal or inspection, don’t do it.  Those practices are in place to expose any issues with the home prior to sale. If anything, you can negotiate a shorter contingency period. A shorter period may put you under pressure to get them done, but at least you’re covered.

Your agent should serve as your negotiator, but as the investor and likely long-term resident of the home, you need to live with this deal long after the agent has moved on to other clients. Don’t hesitate to ask for what is fair.

The above information is for educational purposes only. All information, loan programs and interest rates are subject to change without notice. All loans subject to underwriter approval. Terms and conditions apply.