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How to get the best deal on a home or condo

With a low inventory of properties for sale, buyers often get frustrated trying to get what they consider a “deal”. To add to their frustration, some homes and condos end up selling for more than the asking price.
Many buyers start their quest for a “deal” by making offers well below the asking price. This tactic is normally a waste of time, particularly in a low inventory period. Instead of blindly throwing out lowball offers, try changing tactics: think like a seller.
What type of buyer does a seller want?
Sellers want a solid buyer. They don’t want to accept a sales contract, take their property off the market, make other living arrangements, and then have the deal fall apart. This is why a cash buyer will be favored over one getting financing.
The next strongest buyer would be one getting a conventional mortgage, with 20-percent or more down. The least desired buyer is the one putting no money down, getting 96.5 to 100-percent financing, plus wanting the seller to pay their closing costs and any needed down payment.
A seller may accept a lower price from a solid buyer. You should present yourself as the strongest buyer that you can.
Accommodate a Seller’s needs.
Find out what terms the seller would prefer. Some sellers want a quick closing, while others may want more time before they close. Things like a job relocation, allowing children to finish the school year, or having a contract on another property will influence what a seller would prefer. Meeting the seller’s needs, may encourage a seller to accept a lower price.
Watch for properties with reduced prices.
Many sellers initially price their property too high. As time goes on, they begin reducing their price. Even if a seller has not reduced their price, if their property has been on the market for more than 60 days, they may be more willing to accept an offer below their asking price.
Look for “ugly” homes.
Some sellers lack the money to make their property more desirable. When viewing the property, look for things like an aged roof, old air conditioning system, and other deferred maintenance items. The sellers are aware of these things and may accept a lower offer because of it.
Other properties might be well maintained, but are painted strange colors or decorated in unappealing ways. Many buyers can’t see beyond that, so the property sits on the market. If you are smart, this might be an opportunity to get a reduced price.
Back up your offer with documentation.
Don’t just pull a figure out of the air. Have your Realtor® prepare a Comparative Market Analysis for the property, along with a list of reasons, which justify your offer. If you are deducting the cost of a needed new roof, or other items, keep these deductions realistic. Then, include this with your offer, so that the seller understands why you are offering the price that you are.
Jim Weix is Broker/Owner of The Real Estate Company, Inc., with offices in Stuart and Port Saint Lucie. Jim can be reached at 772-288-1900 or