Monday, March 30, 2009

The 7 Biggest Home Price Negotiation Blunders

Posted By Michael Collins

With the national real estate market in a deep slump—and homeowners scrambling to unload properties—consumers are in a great position to save some cash by bidding down asking prices. "It's a feeding frenzy," says Glenn Kelman, the CEO of online brokerage firm Redfin. But in the often-complex process of buying a home, negotiations can be tricky, and people considering doing so should make sure they understand what they are getting into. U.S. News spoke with five negotiation experts and came up with a list of the seven biggest mistakes you can make in negotiating to buy a house.

1. Not understanding the seller. In a home price negotiation, it's essential to look at the deal from the opposite side of the table. "You want to make best use of the seller's fears," says Ed Brodow, a negotiation expert and the author of Negotiation Boot Camp. "So the question is: What are the pressures on the seller of this house?" Sellers today could be facing any number of anxieties. Perhaps the local housing market is even weaker than the sluggish national one. Maybe the seller has landed a job in another city and already bought a home there. He or she could even be facing bankruptcy. Any information you can obtain about the local real estate market or the seller will strengthen your negotiating position. When Steven Cohen, president of the Negotiation Skills Co., first visited a home that was for sale in 1981, he noticed that the property had no furniture or heat. "That gave us a little bit of a sense of the degree to which the people wanted out and gave us a heck of a lot more bargaining power," Cohen says. "We offered tons less than what they were asking." The sellers eventually accepted the offer.

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