How to buy a house: 5 tips to get the best deal

Jennifer Y. Ross
Published on February 4, 2019

How to buy a house: 5 tips to get the best deal

So, you’ve heard that home prices are falling, the inventory of available homes is beginning to grow and, if you look closely, you’ll see a crack beginning to form in that once-fiery sellers’ market.

Whereas in the recent past, homebuyers were a dime a dozen, you may just be on the precipice of being an in-demand commodity and, with that status, comes power.

It’s already begun in the new-home market, with builders and developers offering buyers (and their real estate agents) attractive incentives. The resale market is expected to catch up, so let’s get you prepared to get the best deal possible when you buy a house.

1. Why are they selling?

There are a number of reasons people sell their homes and a seller’s reason, or motivation as it’s known in the real estate industry, is powerful information in the hands of the buyer.

It’s not easy to learn a seller’s motivation, but it’s not impossible either. The key is to be face-to-face with the seller, a situation often discouraged by real estate agents.

If you or your agent can arrange a meeting, however, (perhaps during a tour of the home), strike up a conversation. “How long have you lived here?” can lead to an opening for the “and why are you moving, if you don’t mind my asking?”

If you can’t meet with the owner in person, try asking the neighbors. Take a weekend walk through the neighborhood, stopping to chat with folks working on their cars, in their yards or playing with their kids.

Let them know you’re thinking of buying the neighbor’s home and ask if they’d mind answering some questions about the neighborhood. During the conversation, ask if they know why their neighbor is selling. You’d be surprised how much neighbors know about one another.

If the homeowner is selling because of a divorce or job relocation they may be in a bit of a hurry to sell. This is information we can use in structuring your offer (offering a quick close, for instance) to soften the blow of a lower price.

2. How long has the home been on the market?

This is information that we can get for you from our MLS. Why is this information important?

Recently listed homes are still in their “honeymoon” phase with buyers and agents. There is a lot of activity surrounding a new-to-the market home so the seller has very little motivation to accept a low offer.

As the home sits on the market with few offers, the seller may become more desperate to sell and, thus, more likely to entertain a lower sales price.

We can also let you know the average number of days homes in the neighborhood remain on the market. If the home you have your eye on has been listed for longer than that, you may be dealing with a very motivated seller, putting you in a strong negotiating position.

3. Study the pricing history

We’re happy to look up the pricing history of homes you’re interested in. From the time the home is first listed, the MLS will show us how many price changes have occurred, whether they were price hikes or reductions.

A seller who has reduced the home’s price more than once is a seller who needs to get the home sold.

4. Soften the blow of a low-ball offer

Ask for everything in the offer to purchase. That’s right, EVERYTHING. Even if you don’t want their furniture and appliances, ask for them.

Ask for the drapes, the barbecue, everything you can think of to put the sellers in overload. You want to divert their attention away from the low price you are offering and toward all their “stuff.”

Once the bartering begins all of their focus will be on trying to hang on to their backyard furniture, not that you’ve offered several thousand dollars less for the home than what they are asking.

Compromise with them; you didn’t really want all those items anyway. Keep your eye on what it is that you really want: your price.

No, it doesn’t always work, but in the end, you might get that price and maybe even a few appliances as well.

One more tip about what to include in the purchase offer: make sure you don’t give the sellers too much time to think about it. A 24-hour acceptance request is quite common and a strategic move in your position as a bargain hunter.

5. Get help with your closing costs

Getting the best deal on a home doesn’t always mean getting the home for a discounted price. If the seller won’t budge on price and you truly want the home, we’ll find ways for you to save money in other parts of the transaction.

One of the easiest is to negotiate closing costs by asking the seller to pay them. Sure, some will balk at this. Others might raise the sales price of the home to absorb the costs.

The danger in the latter scenario is that the new price may exceed market value and not meet the bank’s appraisal amount.

Put yourself in the seller’s shoes. The sale of a home is often an emotional event. The right real estate agent in your corner will be able to negotiate on your behalf while appealing to the sellers’ emotions.

Follow along on Social Media:

facebook.com/JenniferYRossRealtor

#FromNYCtoWestchesterLiving Facebook Group

instagram.com/TheWestchesterLivingTeam


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Introduction to Jennifer Y. Ross & The Westchester Living Team at COMPASS

Jennifer comes from Platinum Drive to Compass as an experienced agent. She epitomized Platinum Drive Realty’s motto “I grew up here. I live here. I sell homes here” and she is known for providing each of her clients with an exceptional experience guided by her expert local knowledge. She works tirelessly to ensure each of her clients has a professional, enjoyable and successful Westchester community & home buying search or selling experience. She often remains very friendly with her clients and welcomes the opportunity to be an ongoing resource as they settle into Westchester Living. Every step she takes will embody her core principals; integrity can never be compromised, clients’ interests always come first and character, commitment, and passion truly matter. For her buyer clients, Jennifer looks forward to the opportunity of being “Your NYC to Westchester” guide and real estate broker. For her seller clients, Jennifer is proficient at implementing an aggressive marketing strategy in order to obtain the best price possible in a highly efficient and seamless manner. Jennifer thoroughly enjoys assisting buyer clients in navigating the landscape of the Westchester residential real estate market. She is skilled at enabling clients to define where they see opportunity & facilitating the process from initial search through closing. Jennifer was awarded the Platinum Drive Star Award for Outstanding Performance in Sales & Client Services in 2014 & Platinum Drive Realty’s Superstar Award for Excellence in Sales and Client Services 2015 & 2016 for her outstanding performance in sales and client service. In addition to her passion for local real estate, Jennifer has a firsthand understanding of home renovation and new construction. Upon moving from NYC to Scarsdale, she and her husband performed an extensive renovation on their first home. After completion, they moved onto their second project in Larchmont, a full house renovation and expansion. More recently she is active with local developers who specialize in new home construction, home expansions and renovations. Jennifer has the ability to understand a home’s full potential and can help clients find or create their dream home. Jennifer was the Manager of Platinum Drive Realty’s Larchmont Office. Jennifer was raised in Scarsdale. After graduating from Scarsdale High School, Jennifer received a BA in Child Study & Sociology from Tufts University and an MA in Language & Literacy from New York University. Jennifer currently lives in Larchmont with her husband, Michael, and their three sons, Braden, Devon & Zane. She specializes in communities in Southern Westchester with a concentrated focus on the Sound Shore Communities of Larchmont, Mamaroneck, Rye Neck, Rye, New Rochelle as well as her hometown of Scarsdale. Prior to real estate, Jennifer was a teacher in the Mamaroneck Public Schools. Jennifer has a deep understanding of the local school systems and the needs of young families.

Professional Associations & Accreditation

Jennifer is a Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker & has her Accredited Buyer Representative designation (ABR) and her Seller Representative Specialist designation (SRS).  Jennifer is a member of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors & the National Association of Realtors. Jennifer’s

Website: westchesterliving.house

Jennifer Facebook Page:  facebook.com/JenniferYRossRealtor

Jennifer’s #FromNYCtoWestchesterLiving Facebook Group

Jennifer’s Instagram: instagram.com/TheWestchesterLivingTeam

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