100 Real Estate and Relocation Tips in 100 Days (Day 96)

As is isn'tAs a matter of fact, everything is negotiable.  Contract dates, kitchen appliances, loan type, seller concessions, of course price, and condition.  Just because a seller says “as is” does not mean you have to buy the property “as is”.  While some sellers are adamant about not making any repairs, most use the phrase “as is” in an attempt to pre-empt a buyer making repair requests.  But sometimes there is no choice.  As an example, if the furnace is leaking carbon monoxide, the local utility provider will “red tag” the furnace.  The seller has no choice but to come to a repair or replacement agreement with the prospective buyer, or not sell the house. As a buyer, you should obtain a through and well documented property inspection from a certified provider.  NEVER accept “as is” as a reason not to obtain an inspection, because that inspection may reveal problems that you are better off not buying. If a seller is completely unreasonable about repairing health and safety hazards, move on to the next house.

As I said earlier, everything is negotiable.  But there is usually a cost to whatever gain you are trying to achieve.  As an example, if you wish to offer a price well below the owner’s asking price, you might consider increasing the earnest money well above what the seller is requesting.  You might offset a lower price with a quick closing, assuming your lender can accommodate such a quick closing.  If you really want the seller’s excluded from sale way cool $3,000 refrigerator, offer full price, if the seller will throw in the fridge.  If you want a $5,ooo seller concession to pay your closing costs, you may have to pay more than asking.  Of course, so much of the pricing/value determination is dictated by the appraisal process today, that both buyer and seller must agree to a price than can meet the appraisers value determination.

As a buyer, the negotiation process for a house starts with the property circular provided by the local MLS, plus any information provided by the listing agent in the house.  You, with your Realtor’s guidance, can many times gain an advantage with the information that is or is not provided. And always remember, when you look at a house, really look at it, and the way the owners live and care for the house.

Of course, so much depends on the market conditions for the immediate area and price range.  If there are 100 buyers for the (3) $300,000 houses available for sale today; then the seller may get more than asking price, in “as is” condition, and they will keep their refrigerator.  The real lesson to be learned here is that houses are not commodities, the market is local by area and price, and is in a constant state of change.  As a buyer, you must be very current in your understanding, and knowledgeable regarding the process of house buying.