The first thing we need to do is review "comparables".....comparable homes to your dream home that have sold within the last 6 months or so. We review properties that are in the same basic location, with similar square footage and amenities. We want to determine that the home is appropriately priced before making an offer. My job is to make sure you don't overpay for the property.
Then, we write up the offer. There's a lot more that goes into making an offer than simply price. My years of experience, real estate "know-how" and negotiating skills will help you make the strongest offer possible. Keep in mind that the "strongest" offer doesn't mean capitulating to the seller. The strongest offer is one that puts you in the best possible negotiating position to get you what you want. Remember, I work for you, and will always look out for your best interests.
Successful negotiations generally result in the feeling of a win-win for both the buyer and the seller. The key is to structure initial and counter-offers such that it appears you're being flexible. Give a little on the things that you really don't care that much about-the seller will feel that you're making concessions and negotiating in good faith, and will be more apt to act in a similar manner.
You want to make your offer with a minimum of contingencies - this will give you an edge in the negotiations. If you have a home to sell before purchasing, consider selling it first or get interim financing. And don't forget to get a mortgage pre-approval. (OK - I realize that previous posts have talked about this. I hate to nag, but it is very important that you get pre-approved.)
Be prepared for negotiations to take some time. We may go back-and-forth with the seller a number of times before coming to an agreement. Or it may take no time at all. You must also be prepared for this not to work out. Somethimes the parties can't reach a meeting of the minds, and both sides decide to go their separate ways. In this case, I always believe that it just wasn't meant to be, and there is something better out there for you.
It's your Realtor's job to guide you through this process, and work with your best interests in mind. We're also there to offer moral support. This is a business decision, but there's a lot of emotion in the decision, too. A good Realtor will recognize that and help you keep the business and emotions balanced.
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