Any real estate agent can buy and sell residential property but some prefer to work with buyers and some with sellers. Knowing both sides of the transaction can be helpful and beneficial for buyers and sellers but I do prefer working with buyers over sellers. Working with buyers means you get to see the anticipation, joy and satisfaction of finding a home they love, handing them the keys and letting them step to the door of their new home. It's even better when I can save them thousands of dollars.
Trey and Diane had been looking for a home for some time and have done their financial homework by speaking with a lender first to find out how much home they can afford. We got a rough estimate of about $400,000 which opened up a wealth of inventory around the Portland Metro area. They preferred to be just outside downtown and so we settled on the Beaverton area. There are several homes between about $280,000 and $450,000, many of them brand-new. Just because you're buying a brand-new home doesn't necessarily mean you can't negotiate with the builder or the listing agent either. They may have their own set prices for homes but you can still negotiate. However, Trey and Diane did not opt for a brand-new home but a home about 10 years old with a larger backyard than many of the newer properties in developing subdivisions.
The home was priced at $405,000. The home and also been on the market for about 30 days. Now, while Portland is a hot market, homes that of been on the market more than about 30 days are somewhat negotiable. Many home sellers do not like to negotiate the first couple of weeks because they feel they could get full price at this point.
Being a buyers agent means that we hold a lot of the cards, especially on an older listing. The listing agent and the homeowners don't know our financial situation and we can use this leverage to our advantage. Trey and Diane knew that they were maxed out at about $400,000 but the home had been listed for over a month. We came in with an offer of $380,000. Now, this is quite low at $25,000 off the list price so we knew that the listing agent would come back with a counter offer. That they did. They came back with a counter offer of $400,000. Remember, the listing agent and the sellers don't know where Trey and Diane are financially and they don't know how much they've been approved for. One other little tidbit of information that the listing agent or sellers don't need to know is how much they love this home. They were a little nervous at first putting down such a low price offer but by playing the field a little bit, the seller won't know how much the buyers really can't afford and how much they would be willing to pay.
It's at this point that is the crucial negotiating tactics between a buyer and a seller. I contacted the listing agent and tried to get some information about the listing. I inquired why the owners are selling, if there is anything wrong with the house, how motivated they are, if they've received any other offers (which they hadn't) I even asked how low their willing to go on the price. An amateur listing agent will actually tell me whereas a seasoned and skilled listing agent might play the field back a little bit. I mentioned to the listing agent that the couple had been looking at several homes in the area and may be interested of putting an offer down on another home. The listing agent doesn't know whether or not this is the truth and of course, we don't want to lie, but it is true that they have been looking at several homes.
Armed with a little bit more information from the listing agent about the homeowner we were able to send back an offer for $390,000. It's at this point that we leave the cards on the table and don't say a word. From here, the listing agent and the seller might be nervous about counter offering at this point Because We Can Simply Walk Away Should We Reject the Counter Offer. If we choose, we can also re-offer on the property at another time. But good news for us, the sellers came back with a counteroffer of $395,000. This was $5000 under their budget, which they accepted. This little negotiating tactics saved them $10,000.
The longer the home is on the market the more negotiating leverage the buyer may have. It doesn't mean that the seller will give away the property for a rock-bottom price but it does mean that you have a little bit more to play with. However, doing all these negotiating tactics does take the skill and the nuance of a qualified buyers agent. Feel free to contact our office at any time for tips on negotiating strategies or to place an offer on any home you find in the Portland area.