When it comes time to sell your home, the market will play a big part in whether or not you make a profit, but negotiating with the buyer will figure into the outcome, as well. Do some "home" work beforehand, so you're familiar with the market in your area. And during negotiations, keep your emotions in check. Your goal is to get a fair price for your home, not win a battle of wills.
Research the real estate market in your area. Knowing what similar homes in your area are selling for will either reinforce the price you've already set for your home or indicate that you'll need to be open to lower offers.
Decide on a price range instead of one fixed price. This will give you a flexible mind-set that will allow you to accept a lower price without feeling like you're losing money.
Determine what items will be included with the sale of the home. Things like appliances, light fixtures and curtains or window blinds can be used as bargaining chips to hold fast to a higher price or come down a bit to meet a lower price.
Choose aspects that are priority for you before negotiating. For instance, decide on an absolute lowest acceptable price and which concessions the buyer will have to make for that price. Know how flexible you can be on the closing date and whether or not you will need to rent the house from the buyers or if you will allow them to move in prior to closing if they ask to do so.
Learn what closing costs you'll be responsible for and which items can be negotiated for either you or the seller to pay. The costs you pay will reduce the amount of cash you'll get at closing.
Request to see a preapproval letter from a mortgage lender to show that the potential buyer has the means to buy your house.
Take your time in submitting a counter-offer if the buyer's initial offer is too low. Review the items in the offer to decide what you'll accept and what needs to be addressed in the counter-offer.
Structure your counter-offer based on what the local market is doing. This is where the pre-negotiation research you did will come in handy, as you can provide information that supports your position to the prospective buyer along with the counter-offer.
List all items from the offer on your counter-offer to demonstrate that you are agreeing to some of them.
Call a halt to further negotiations if it's obvious that the prospective buyer isn't willing to at pay at least your lower-end price with the concessions you've deemed necessary. Attempting to negotiate past a stalemate is a waste of time for both of you.
Sign an earnest money agreement and collect the deposit that was agreed upon during negotiation once you and the buyer reach an agreement on the sales price and elements of the sale.
Your pre-negotiation research can include getting a home inspection or appraisal. The buyer won't be able to use the appraisal when getting a mortgage, but it will give you an unbiased look at your home. Don't hesitate to adjust the amount of closing costs the buyer initially requests you to pay. Negotiations are for finding common ground, a sales price, concessions and elements that you and the buyer can agree on. You may end up paying some or all of those closing costs in the end, but you don't have to agree to them up-front if you don't feel the other items of the sale justify it.
- Polka Dot RF/Polka Dot/Getty Images