Three Negotiating Mistakes Sellers Make

Sellers and buyers may be discussing the same house, but rarely see the house the same. When a seller lists a house, he or she may think it’s priced just right to sell, they’ve staged it just right to sell and that they have timed the market just right for a quick sale.

Before a buyer even sees a house, they have decided they are not going to or will not offer the list price. They may have different tastes or a different style than the seller and may be turned off by how a house is staged. And no matter what improvements a seller has made, a buyer will most likely find something that would need fixing before any talk of a purchase. And let’s not forget that a buyer may have terms and conditions of their own that you may not have thought of such as having to sell their home before being about to buy a home.

Just because you as a seller think everything about your home is just right for a sale, you will mostly likely have to do some negotiating. The first thing to remember is that it’s not a war, it’s not us against them, a good negotiation is simply a way of making small concessions on both sides so both the buyer and seller come to a mutual agreement that is agreeable on both sides.

And if you think about it, at least there is an offer on the house, so as a seller, you’ve done something right. So don’t blow it with these three negotiating mistakes.

Overpricing aging property.  The housing market is in better shape today than it was during the recession, but that doesn’t mean houses in any condition will see in a snap. Older houses have lots of character, but if it hasn’t been updated or maintained, it can’t really complete with the newer more refreshed homes on the market.

A general designer rule is to update a home every 10 years. Just like the Avacado greans of the 70s and jewel tones of the 90s have gone out of style, so will the bright colors and marble white kitchens in style today.

Also, living in a house for years, a seller may not see the aging of the home, bringing a real estate agent with a fresh eye can help point out even the smallest of changes that will help sell a home.

Getting mad over a low offer.  Don’t take offers personally, buyers make really low offers as a negotiating tactic. A buyer really wouldn’t make an offer if they were not interested in the home to begin with.

It’s a good idea to have your agent ask the buyer’s agent if there is a reason behind the low offer before responding. It may be a simple as work the buyer feels should be done on the home before they buy it or they have wrong information about comparable houses. It is a great starting point for a negotiation.

If a buyer sees that similar houses are selling for far before what you are asking, they may present an offer closer to the average price of similar offers.

It’s all or nothing! If you’re not willing to keep the dialogue going with a buyer through negotiating, the sale is pretty much dead. It’s good to ask questions before declining an offer. Knowing what the buyer wants and if their wants are something you can manage or deal with will help make a deal that is good for both the seller and the buyer.

It is possible that a seller gets more than one offer on a house, but that’s rare in a soft market. A buyer can simply walk away and look for another house. Flexibility in the negotiation process is very important and means the difference in a sale or another week on the market.


Barbara Puorro
Barbara Puorro