Should A Buyer Price Future Changes Into Offer?

Real Estate Agent with Bucci Realty, Inc. BK3064647

I showed a house recently where the prospective buyers liked the "blank slate it offers."  The blank slate referred to this property's very neutral decor (a lot of white spaces).

The prospective buyers started adding up the costs to make the house like they want (make it their house, I suppose).  Experience has shown me that that many times buyers like to talk through the process of future changes.

This particular house is less than fifteen years old so it is not a 1960s structure in need of a half century update.

Their ideas for "desired" change did include some very nice sounding options.  I think the dollar amount kicked around was close to $40,000.  [I cautioned about over improvements an dthe subsequent difficulty selling.]

It is always nice when a prospective buyer talks enthusiastically about becoming an owner and "making a house their own."   In this case the discussion turned to subtracting the cost of these changes from the listing price.


The mathematics of a home purchase does not mean take the listing price and then start deducting the elective changes you want to make in the future.

When a home is listed at a price that is reflective of the market, the competition, and its current condition, there may be some room to negotiate the final purchase price.


This is not to say that repair issues that impact function or performance should not be addressed in the offer price or concessions requested (such as a flooring allowance).

Still, the mathematics of a home purchase offer are based things such as: the comps (recent sales, other similar properties on the market), motivation, time line and factors such as ability to purchase/finance options.

Of course, in the end, buyers can make any offer they desire.  


But, in a seller's market with limited choices available, serious buyers rarely succeed when trying the low ball route!

Now I wonder if a car dealership would accept an offer on a slightly used car based on the updates I want to do... paint job, some new tires and struts, maybe an engine tune up...

Have a question about buying a home in Florida?   Call or text me at 321-693-3850.



Posted by

Gary L. Waters, is a Florida licensed real estate broker associate with Bucci Realty, Inc. in Melbourne, Florida.  

 Call or text me directly at 321-693-3850.




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Dörte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Gary,

A fair price takes into account current condition & market. Future updates are immaterial. That is why the lower-priced home with the orange shag carpet may be a better deal than the beautifully appointed one down the street with the pink carpet, mirrors & crystal everywhere. Great condition, priced at top of market, which is fair, but not your cup of tea. Your decor may not appeal to the next person either.

Aug 18, 2017 08:02 PM #7
Stavrula "Sam" Crafa, RNC,GRI, CDPE, PSA
Future Home Realty - Seminole, FL
Providing the integrity and service you deserve.

Gary L. Waters, Broker Owner, Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC  It's so funny (sometimes) how clueless some buyers and sellers are and they try to act like they know exactly how the process works. I could say more but I'm saving it for a blog coming soon 

Aug 18, 2017 09:15 PM #8
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

Well, I popped over to say HI and VOILA! You have a featured post right on top!

Great question and as you mentioned, that $40K is not something that they should factor in - especially in a strong seller's market!

And good luck with that auto negotiation, Gary!  LOL

Aug 18, 2017 10:06 PM #9
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Cost of future improvements is absolutely something to consider when buying but certainly not the sellers' responsibility!
Congratulations on a well deserved feature!

Aug 19, 2017 04:38 AM #10
Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County

Jeff Dowler -  Thanks! Very true... buyers do like to pad their estimated costs!

Anna Banana Kruchten, CRS - Imagination... like that!

Lyn Sims - Some buyers refuse to believe it is ever a sellers market!

Steffy Hristova - True.  But buyers in a new model would expect upgrades and changes to be a charge to them not a buyer discount.

Kathy Streib - Thanks....  looking forward to your Sunday picks!


Aug 19, 2017 04:45 AM #11
Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County

Anthony Vosilla -  That is true.
Dörte Engel - shag reminds me of my youth!
Stavrula "Sam" Crafa, RNC,GRI, CDPE, PSA  - You nailed that right.  Looking forward to your blog post!
Debe Maxwell, CRS - - Thanks.  Feature surprised me!

Aug 19, 2017 04:47 AM #12
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

Market pricing takes into account condition. I've had buyers try to reduce the price to capture their desired changes; that strategy simply doesn't work.

Aug 19, 2017 05:50 AM #13
Tim Maitski
Atlanta Communities Real Estate Brokerage - Atlanta, GA
Truth, Excellence and a Good Deal

Financially,  it's best to find a home that has most of the upgrades you want already done.  The ROI for most upgrades is usually around 50%, if you're lucky.  So if they for $40,000 of upgrades, they should only deduct $20,000.  

Aug 19, 2017 06:12 AM #14
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

A sellers future ends with escrow closing. The buyers future then begins

Aug 19, 2017 06:45 AM #15
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA

Hi, Gary,


Sound advice. I have had the same sort of discussions with agents and clients in the past. If there is something wrong with the house, feel free to take that into account structuring an offer. If you want to change something about the house to suit your tastes or desires, that is not on the seller but is on the buyer.

Aug 19, 2017 08:06 AM #16
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

The buyer has to think about the above and beyond but the color scheme is not going to make the seller sympathetic like showing the estimates for the much needed new roof shingles or replacement of the lost their seal cloudy picture windows or leaking hot water boiler. Better the buyer than the seller and it can help make the price tag get nibbled on and lowered. Timberrrrrrr.

Aug 19, 2017 09:12 AM #17
Sellstate Partners Realty - Cooper City, FL
Selling Broward County Homes with Passion!

Buyers like these need to know that in a robust sellers market, such an attitude assures little or no success in purchasing a home. Good post!

Aug 19, 2017 09:32 AM #18
Ernest Villafranca
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate - Oakland, CA
3923 Grand Ave. Oakland CA, 510-418-9443

The buyer said, "These old windows need to be updated." And I said, "That may be but they're working now. None of them is broken. They open and close properly."

Buyer said, "This is the original heating furnace. A new one will work better." And I said, "The heater is heating the house good enough. Did you notice that it's warm inside?"

The buyer said, "The roof looks old and a new one would be better. That's going to cost a lot of money." And I said, "There were no stains on the ceiling. Seller said the roof was OK on the TDS. Do you want to do a roof inspection?" Buyer, "No, I can tell it's on its last leg."

Finally, the buyer said, "This house needs a lot of work. It's going to cost too much."

We cancelled escrow, and someone else got the house.

Aug 19, 2017 05:19 PM #19
Laura Filip
Laura Filip Broker , Opening doors for All Seasons of Life - Whitesboro, TX
What can we do for you today?

Great post thank you for sharing your thoughts. The market is moving quickly and buyers need to be prepared to purchase with pre approval letter in hand. If you are unsure of a property move on until you find one you are comfortable with. 

Aug 19, 2017 07:41 PM #20
Mike Cooper, GRI
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro

Gary, I see buyers do that all the time. It's like the have a running calculator in their head that is deducting the expenses of upgrades, changes and improvements. They don't realize that many houses are listed at their current market value and a seller is not willing to fund their renovations, but they will try anyway.

Aug 20, 2017 08:05 AM #21
Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Realty Center - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

You always know how to title your posts to maximize clicks...great job!

Aug 21, 2017 06:50 AM #22
John Wiley
Right Move Real Estate Group- EXP Realty - Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

I often encounter sellers who have upgraded to the max and want all that money back from the sale.

They have a difficult time with the reality of the real estate market.

Thanks for sharing a good post.

Aug 21, 2017 06:09 PM #23
Lou Ludwig
Ludwig & Associates - Boca Raton, FL
Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC


The price of the home is based on market value . . . .  When the buyers wants to makes change  to the home not based on the  inspection. It become the choice of the buyer not a reflection a market value.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Aug 21, 2017 08:16 PM #24
Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Agreed.  Buyers cannot expect the seller to take less based on the buyer's personal taste.  Thank you for sharing.

Aug 22, 2017 11:51 AM #25
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Interesting how a buyer will do that.  At least they were thinking of the "what ifs!"  We never know what a seller might accept and sometimes I'm surprised, but deducting improvements from an offer is not a good idea!  Great post!

Aug 26, 2017 11:45 AM #26
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Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty

Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County
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