In a sellers market, having a real estate agent capable of helping you leverage a lower offer will pay you BIG dividends. Here are a few ways a buyer's agent can help you get more house for less money -- even in a seller's market! A seller comes to the market confident in their pricing. Their agent's job is to help them find the right price and to help them sell their house. As a home buyer, your agent's job is to shake that confidence just a bit to make the playing field a little more advantageous to YOU. Your agent should also protect your interests and use the information they have to get you the best deal. Here's how:
- Take photos of flaws - If you take the photos and show them to the seller, chances are great they will be insulted and you will lose the house. If you send those photos to your agent, however, they can carefully present the flaws in a way that results in a lower price -- rather than an attack on the condition of the seller's home. Good agents can deliver such information in a palatable way. It's what they do.
- Present a list of similar houses that recently sold for less locally and those currently listed for less money. Your agent may also collect a list of similarly priced houses that have languished on the market for months. If you don't get this house, the agent will have a list of similar houses for less money ready for you to view!
- Make sure you have an appraisal contingency in your contract. This means that if the appraisal comes in lower than the sales price, you can use the appraisal to request a lower price from the seller and (with a properly written contract) you can extract yourself from an over-priced house and go look for one that is at or below market value.
- Be pre-approved. This is something your agent will advise you to do. By having your financing in place, you will appear more like a "cash buyer" and you will represent fewer headaches for the seller and will be a more attractive buyer.
- Structure your offer so it will appeal to the seller's situation. Closing as quickly as possible will stop the seller's mortgage payments, which will be attractive. If the seller hasn't secured their new home yet, writing a contract that will let the seller close immediately, but lease or rent the house for a few months to locate their own house, will be attractive. (This, of course, only works if you, as the buyer, have that flexibility.) Your buyer's agent will help you to determine the seller's situation and can make suggestions to attract that seller to your offer -- sometimes an offer that's lower than another buyer's, but more amicable to their personal situation.