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How Can Home Buyers Use Seller Concessions?

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Executive Realty 91362

Seller concessions play a crucial role in real estate transactions. They help reduce closing costs for buyers, making homeownership more affordable.

We will explore what seller concessions can be used for and how they benefit both parties. We will also discuss the limitations, negotiation strategies, and the potential advantages and disadvantages of utilizing seller concessions.

Additionally, we will cover the maximum limits imposed on seller concessions based on different loan types. Stay tuned to gain a clear understanding of seller concessions and their impact on real estate transactions.

How Seller Concessions Work

Seller concessions are crucial in real estate transactions, benefiting buyers and sellers. It is essential to know that concessions are also called seller assistance or a seller credit.

We will provide a comprehensive understanding of how seller concessions work, including their definition, purpose, and the overall process involved.

Definition of Seller Concessions

Seller concessions refer to a strategy used in real estate transactions where the seller agrees to cover a portion of the buyer's closing costs.

These costs typically range from 3% to 6% of the home's purchase price. By offering concessions, sellers aim to make their property more attractive to buyers, especially in a buyer's market.

Explanation of the Purpose of Seller Concessions

The purpose of seller concessions is twofold - it benefits both the buyer and the seller. For buyers, seller concessions help reduce the money needed to close the transaction, making homeownership more affordable.

Buyers can allocate their financial resources toward other expenses, such as home improvements or furnishing, by having the seller cover a portion of the closing costs.

For sellers, offering concessions can make their property more appealing to potential buyers. In a competitive market, where multiple offers may be on the table, seller concessions can give sellers a competitive advantage.

Buyers may be more inclined to choose a property that offers financial assistance with closing costs, even if their initial offer is slightly lower.

Overview of the Process of Seller Concessions

Seller concessions involve negotiations between the buyer and seller, typically facilitated by their real estate agents.

Here's an overview of how the process unfolds:

1. After submitting an offer, the buyer requests seller concessions in the contract.

2. The seller evaluates the offer and determines whether they will provide concessions.

3. Negotiations take place to determine the specific amount or percentage the seller is willing to contribute towards closing costs.

4. If both parties agree on the concessions, they are included as a clause in the final sales contract.

5. The seller's agent 0r real estate transaction coordinator sends the agreement to the attorneys.

5. At closing, the agreed-upon amount is credited towards the buyer's closing costs, reducing the overall financial burden on the buyer. It's essential to note that requesting seller concessions may affect a buyer's attractiveness to certain sellers, especially if there are multiple offers on the property.

In such cases, offering a lower price for the house and covering the closing costs independently might be a more strategic approach.

Understanding the process and importance of seller concessions is crucial when navigating the real estate market as a buyer or seller.

It's always advisable to work closely with a real estate agent who can guide market conditions and recent examples of seller concessions and assist in negotiating favorable terms.

What Can Seller Concessions Cover?

Seller concessions are a valuable tool in real estate transactions as they can help alleviate some of the financial burden of closing costs. Understanding what expenses can be covered by seller concessions is crucial for buyers and sellers alike.

Let's explore some ordinary expenses that can be covered and the limitations that should be considered.

Standard Costs Covered by Seller Concessions

Seller concessions can be used to cover various expenses related to the closing process. Some of the expected costs that can be included are:

  • Property taxes: Seller concessions can assist in paying a portion of the property taxes due at closing.
  • Title insurance: Buyers can benefit from seller concessions by having a portion of the title insurance costs covered.
  • Property appraisal fees: Seller concessions can help cover the costs associated with property appraisal, providing relief for the buyer.
  • Attorney fees: In some cases, seller concessions can be utilized to offset the costs of legal representation during the transaction. The cost of an attorney can be significant, so this is a good one to cover.

Examples of Expenses Covered by Seller Concessions

Here are a few examples illustrating how seller concessions can be utilized:

  • If the property appraisal fee amounts to $500, a seller concession of $300 can reduce the burden on the buyer by covering a significant portion of the expense.
  • When the buyer faces high property tax dues, a seller concession could cover a portion of those taxes, making the purchase more manageable.
  • By offering to cover a portion of the buyer's attorney fees, a seller can make their property more appealing and potentially stand out among other listings on the market.

Understanding the Limitations of Seller Concessions

While seller concessions offer financial flexibility, knowing their limitations is crucial. Sellers should keep in mind the following points:

  • There is a maximum limit on the total amount a seller can contribute, usually tied to the overall closing costs of the transaction.
  • Requesting excessive concessions may deter some sellers, particularly in competitive markets where multiple offers are common.
  • Buyers should evaluate their financial situation and consider whether it's more advantageous to negotiate a lower purchase price instead of relying solely on seller concessions to cover closing costs.

Understanding the range of costs that seller concessions can cover is essential for buyers and sellers in a real estate transaction.

While they provide financial relief, it's essential to consider the limitations and negotiate strategically to ensure a successful and mutually beneficial outcome for all parties involved.

How to Negotiate Seller Concessions

When negotiating seller credits, it's essential to approach the process strategically to maximize your chances of success.

Here are some key strategies to consider:

Strategies for Negotiating Seller Concessions

  • Research and Understand Market Conditions: Gain insights into the current real estate market, including the demand for properties and the competition you may face as a buyer. This knowledge will help you determine the appropriate negotiation approach.
  • Identify the Seller's Motivation: Understanding why the seller is willing to offer concessions can give you an advantage during negotiations. If they're motivated to sell quickly or have already found a new home, it may increase your chances of securing concessions.
  • Show Your Commitment: Demonstrating your seriousness as a buyer can strengthen your negotiation position. Prequalify for a mortgage, have your finances in order and be ready to provide proof of funds.
  • Start with a Reasonable Offer: Begin negotiations by making a fair initial offer, considering the property's market value and comparable sales in the area. Present your request professionally and respectfully to establish a positive tone for further discussions.
  • Focus on Win-Win Solutions: Approach negotiations with the mindset of finding mutually beneficial outcomes. Consider alternative concessions, such as reducing the purchase price or asking the seller to cover specific closing costs.

Tips for Effective Communication in Seller Concession Negotiations

  • Be Clear and Concise: Clearly articulate your needs and expectations during the negotiation process. Provide supporting documentation and evidence when making requests.
  • Listen actively: Pay close attention to the seller's perspective and concerns. Active listening can help you identify common ground and potential compromises.
  • Remain Professional and Respectful: Establishing a positive rapport with the seller can facilitate more productive negotiations. Avoid engaging in confrontational or aggressive behavior that may hinder the process.
  • Utilize a Real Estate Agent: A skilled agent can provide valuable insights and negotiation expertise. They can advocate on your behalf, navigate complex negotiations, and help you achieve your desired concessions.

Factors to Consider When Requesting Seller Concessions

Before finalizing your negotiation strategy, consider the following factors:

  • Seller's Financial Situation: Assess the seller's ability to provide concessions based on their financial circumstances. If the seller faces financial constraints, they may be less inclined to offer significant concessions.
  • Local Market Practices: Learn about typical seller concession practices in your area. Understanding local norms can help you set realistic expectations and tailor your requests accordingly.
  • Sale Price and Appraisal: Consider the impact of concessions on the property's appraised value. Excessive assistance may result in appraisal challenges, potentially affecting your financing options.
  • Overall Offer Strength: Evaluate the strength of your offer, including factors like a competitive purchase price, favorable financing terms, and any contingencies. A firm offer can increase the likelihood of the seller considering your concession requests.

By adopting these negotiation strategies and effective communication techniques and considering relevant factors, you can confidently navigate seller concession negotiations and increase your chances of securing favorable terms that align with your needs and financial goals.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Seller Concessions

Seller concessions can offer several benefits for buyers in real estate transactions. Understanding these advantages can help buyers make informed decisions and navigate the complexities of the home-buying process.

Benefits of Seller Concessions for Buyers

1. Reduced Closing Costs: One of the primary advantages of seller concessions for buyers is the ability to reduce closing costs. As mentioned, buyers can significantly lower their upfront financial burden by negotiating with the seller to cover property taxes, title insurance, and appraisal costs.

2. Increased Affordability: Seller concessions make homeownership more accessible and affordable for many buyers. Buyers can allocate their funds towards other critical financial obligations or use them for home improvements by offsetting some of the expenses associated with buying a home.

3. Competitive Edge in a Buyer's Market: In a buyer's market, where available properties are abundant, seller concessions can give buyers a competitive edge.

By offering concessions, sellers make their homes more attractive, potentially leading to a quicker sale or a more favorable negotiation outcome for buyers.

Potential Drawbacks of Seller Concessions for Sellers

While seller concessions can benefit buyers, sellers should also be aware of potential drawbacks. Consider the following factors before offering assistance:

1. Reduced Profit Margins: When sellers agree to cover a portion of the buyer's closing costs, it can impact their net profit. Sellers may need to adjust their listing price or negotiate alternative terms to maintain their desired financial outcome.

2. Limited Buyer Pool: Some sellers may find that offering concessions limits their buyer pool, particularly in markets where multiple offers are expected. Buyers who can cover closing costs or provide higher prices may be favored over those requesting concessions.

3. Appraisal Challenges: Seller concessions may impact the appraisal process, as appraised values are crucial in determining loan eligibility and terms. If the appraised value falls short of the selling price, it could create financing issues for both the buyer and the seller.

Evaluating the Pros and Cons of Seller Concessions

When deciding whether to offer or request seller concessions, buyers and sellers should carefully evaluate the pros and cons. Consider the following:


  • Reduced burden of upfront costs for buyers
  • Increased affordability of homeownership
  • Attractiveness in a buyer's market


  • Potential impact on seller's profit margins
  • Potential limitations on the buyer pool
  • Possible appraisal challenges

Ultimately, the decision to utilize seller concessions depends on individual circumstances, market conditions, and buyers' and sellers' specific needs and goals.

Are There Limits to Seller Concessions?

Regarding seller concessions, there are limits that both buyers and sellers need to consider. These limits depend on various loan types and the specific rules and regulations associated with them. Understanding these limitations is essential for a smooth transaction.

Let's explore the overview of different loan types and their limits on seller concessions, the maximum percentage allowed for seller concessions, and the restrictions imposed on them.

Overview of Different Loan Types and their Limits on Seller Concessions

Various loan types have different rules regarding seller concessions. Here's a brief overview of some common loan types and their corresponding limits:

  • Conventional Loans: The limit on seller concessions varies based on the buyer's down payment. If the down payment is less than 10%, the seller can contribute up to 3%. However, if the down payment is between 10% and 25%, the seller can contribute up to 6%.
  • FHA Loans: The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) allows seller concessions of up to 6% of the sale price or the loan amount. There are several benefits to using FHA loans.
  • USDA Loans: The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) also permits seller concessions of up to 6% of the sale price or appraised value.
  • VA Loans: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) allows seller concessions of up to 6% of the sale price.

Exploring the Maximum Percentage Allowed for Seller Concessions

Understanding the maximum percentage allowed for seller concessions is crucial for buyers and sellers. It provides clarity on the extent to which assistance can be utilized. The maximum allowed typically ranges from 3% to 6%, depending on the loan type and down payment.

Understanding the Restrictions Imposed on Seller Concessions

Seller concessions have certain restrictions to prevent potential misuse or abuse. These restrictions typically include:

  • The total amount of seller concessions cannot exceed the actual closing costs. This ensures that the credits are used for their intended purpose.
  • There may be restrictions on the costs that seller concessions can cover. Common cost categories include property taxes, title insurance, appraisal, and attorney fees.
  • Policies regarding seller concessions may vary based on the specific loan program and lender requirements. It's essential to review the guidelines to ensure compliance.

By understanding these restrictions, buyers and sellers can navigate the seller concession process effectively and make informed decisions.

The Bottom Line on Seller Concessions

Key Takeaways from the Discussion on Seller Concessions

After exploring the concept and purpose of seller concessions, it is clear that they offer significant benefits for both buyers and sellers in real estate transactions. Buyers can reduce closing costs, making homeownership more affordable, while sellers gain a competitive edge in attracting potential buyers.

It is essential to understand that seller concessions can cover various costs related to the transaction, including property taxes, title insurance, appraisal fees, and attorney fees. However, there are limitations on the amount sellers can contribute, which cannot exceed the total closing costs.

When negotiating seller concessions, it is crucial to understand the current real estate market, work with a knowledgeable real estate agent, and be prepared to make reasonable offers that align with market conditions.

Analyzing the Impact of Seller Concessions on Real Estate Transactions

Seller concessions notably impact real estate transactions, making properties more attractive, especially in a buyer's market. Sellers can sell their homes more quickly and at higher prices by offering concessions.

Furthermore, understanding the limitations and guidelines of seller concessions for different loan types, such as conventional, FHA, USDA, and VA loans, allows buyers to maximize their potential benefits and navigate the negotiation process more effectively.

It is essential for both buyers and sellers to carefully evaluate the pros and cons of seller concessions before proceeding with a transaction.

While concessions can benefit buyers by reducing upfront costs, sellers may need to consider potential drawbacks, such as decreased net proceeds.


Posted by

With three decades of experience, Bill Gassett is an authority in the real estate sector. Bill writes informative articles for numerous prestigious real estate sites to help buyers, sellers, and fellow real estate agents. His work has been featured on RIS Media, the National Association of Realtors, Inman News, Placester, Realty Biz News, Credit Sesame, and his own authority resource, Maximum Real Estate Exposure. Reach out to Bill Gassett for his real estate, mortgage, and financial expertise.


Charles Ross - eXp Realty LLC
eXp Realty LLC Salina Group - Salina, KS
Love To Help People

Excellent post.Thank you for sharing. Have a wonderful day and a blessed week

Sep 27, 2023 04:53 AM
Sham Reddy CRS
Howard Hanna RE Services, Dayton, OH - Dayton, OH

Thanks Bill, for sharing some great tips on seller concessions to buyers!!!

Sep 27, 2023 05:29 AM
Bill Salvatore - East Valley
Arizona Elite Properties - Chandler, AZ
Realtor - 602-999-0952 / em: golfArizona@cox.net

Thank you for sharing the information. Wishing you continued

success. Have a wonderful day and sell a house. Bill

Sep 27, 2023 05:52 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Pasadena And Southern California 818.516.4393

Hello Bill - your point of understanding local market conditions is important.  Along with proper representation it can help a buyer (and seller too) succeed in a real estate transaction.   

Sep 27, 2023 06:04 AM
Alan May
Jameson Sotheby's International Realty - Evanston, IL
Cicadas are coming! Cicadas are coming!

Bill, I may have to print this out and include it in my buyer's (and seller's) presentation packets.  Nicely done, sir.

Sep 27, 2023 06:08 AM
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Hello Bill  and thank you for the great information you are sharing with us here in the rain.  Make it a great day!  Can I reblog this down the road?



Sep 27, 2023 09:35 AM
Richard Weeks
Dallas, TX
REALTOR®, Broker
Great information, thanks for sharing.  I hope you have a great day.
Sep 28, 2023 02:37 AM