House Buying Negotiation Tool: Tip-of-the-Day #238


My boyfriend and I recently found a house in Marin County that we like well enough to bid on. We've been casually looking for years but something would always break the deal (price, location, foundation, etc.). So now we've found an interesting property in Sausalito - a place we both grew up - and it has terrific views, parking, lots of natural light and the price is right(ish). That said, it needs some serious work (nothing's been done to the property in 28 years).

The price has already dropped once because of the fixes the property requires, but now we're going in with an even lower number. Hard to know if the seller will accept the offer or not, but in speaking with my boyfriend's mother (a smart woman) she advised us to find something else about the property to use as leverage to keep the price down. In this case, there is an enormous Blue Gum Eucalyptus that is leaning heavily toward the home and, if left unattended, will eventually come down on the roof!

Our leverage is asking the current owner to remove the tree before we seal the deal. The current owner likely does not want to remove the tree and would rather give us the lower asking price instead. If however, he calls our bluff and does remove the tree, it's a win for us regardless because removal of a tree of this size can cost $10K or more!

If you don't have a tree to use as leverage, you can use something of equal significance: removal of an old (unwanted) hot tub, or a new roof, or, new siding. Choose something that is necessary to the integrity of the property and you may just find yourself with the wished for item or a lower price on the property.

It's said to be a buyer's market at the moment - but that really depends on where you live, what the inventory is like and how many foreclosed homes are in your area. Do your research and make it work *for* you!