The days of Bob Barker may be over, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be concerned about getting the right price - when buying a home, of course. Some houses sit on the market "forever," because the seller makes irrational demands of the market. Maybe they have a sentimental side and they're holding out for a really high offer. Maybe they aren't all that serious about selling and they want to watch buyers squirm. Here's how to turn an unorthodox seller's game on its ear and get the house you want.
Find An Overpriced Home
To start out, you might want to hire a real estate agent. If you have friends or family in the business, this should be a slam dunk if you don't mind working with them. If you don't mix business and pleasure, then ask them for a referral or use a company like Agent Harvest to find a realtor.
Once you've got your agent, it's time to start scouting for overpriced homes. Ironically, sellers who've priced their home at an unrealistic price are actually motivated to sell. They sometimes are just stubborn about what they will sell it for.
But, in most cases, they're open to reason. You just have to catch them at the right time and under the right circumstances. For example, if you see a house that's been on the market for 9 months (or, at least 6 months), it's a sign that the seller's price is too high.
You can do a comp on all the homes in the neighborhood. Now, it might just be that there's something wrong with the home itself and that's why it hasn't sold. Assuming that's not the case, what you'll probably find is that the home is well out of the range of other homes in the area. Now it's time to knock on the seller's door and press the flesh (shake hands).
Give The Seller The 411 On The Market
Maybe the seller isn't very knowledgable about the market he's in, isn't listening to his real estate agent for whatever reason, and is really hanging onto a memory long forgotten by, or unknown to, others. It's time to educate the seller.
Don't come in guns-a-blazin' though. Make friends with the seller. Admire the house. Take a tour. Ask about the renovations that he or she did. Maybe there's a new garage that he just put up a few years ago. He's very proud of it. Compliment him on how good a job he did.
When it comes to asking about the price, he may be gun-shy or he may be a bulldog. He may say something like "this is my price, and I'm not willing to negotiate, so if that's your plan, there's the door."
If he's the aggressive type, it's time to diffuse his attitude and bring that bridge of trust down so you can cross it. Build more rapport, ask about his family, and comment about the types of things you see in the house. Try to find an area of common interest or values that you both share.
When the issue of price comes up again, ask how he came up with it. You might be surprised by his answer. Regardless of what he says, tell him you really appreciate his hospitality, that you love the house, but that the comps for the neighborhood are much lower and you'd like to put in an offer that's closer to what other peoples' homes are worth.
Never tell the seller his house isn't worth what he's asking. He might think it is, it alienates him, and it puts your sincerity about your interest in the home in question.
Show Up With Cash
One of the best ways to show you mean business is to show up with cash. A sizable down payment, more than 20 percent, is very hard for any seller to turn down.