Know When to Walk Away

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It’s often said that one of the most important skills in life is negotiating. Good negotiators are able to obtain higher salaries, make better deals when they’re out shopping, and get away with more speeding tickets than the rest of us. In short, negotiating is a valuable talent that can not only get us a great price on big-ticket item, but also get us out of a jam.

At no point in our lives is the ability to negotiate more crucial than the when we’re in the process of purchasing a home. In fact, it sometimes seems that the whole homebuying experience is just one big negotiation. While this may make some people uncomfortable – after all, not everyone likes haggling – it’s important to remember that no one can ever advocate for you better than yourself, so the back-and-forth process should be taken seriously.

However, as many experienced homeowners know, there are some home sellers that are unreasonable, difficult, or just plain rude. In many of these cases, no amount of negotiating is going to turn the seller on to the deal you’re offering. This is why it’s important to be able to evaluate the direction the deal is going in and decide if you should be trying harder to come to an agreement or if you should just walk away.

Of course, this is not always an easy decision to make. Many of us lack experience with any type of negotiation, let alone with haggling over a home price. So how do you know when you should try harder to close the deal, or, alternatively, that you should be re-starting the home search because this one just isn’t going to happen? Take a look at the guidelines below for a few ideas:

Signs you should keep haggling

  • The seller responds to your first offer quickly – this indicates that he’s motivated, and might be willing go through another round of offers
  • The seller is willing to budge from her initial asking price; almost no one expects to get the full asking price for their home, so it’s a good sign if the seller agrees to a lower price in the first phase of negotiations
  • You know the seller has already purchased another home; again, this means that the seller is highly motivated to unload their current home, so she’s probably willing to make a deal

Signs you should probably walk away

  • The seller doesn’t respond to your offer; if your realtor has to keep getting in touch with the seller’s realtor to get a response, consider it a sign that the deal is going in the wrong direction
  • There are multiple offers on the table – understandably, if the seller feels that there’s competition for his home, he’ll hold out for the highest price. If your purchase of the home depended on a price lower than asking, consider walking away
  • You know that the seller isn’t moving for any particular reason; if a seller isn’t feeling a sense of urgency due to a new job, new baby, marriage, or other major event, he’s not very motivated, so the negotiation could be really tough

The bottom line is that not every negotiation ends in a deal, no matter how skillful you are. The objective is to know when to move on so that you don’t lose out on another great home that’s just around the corner, so keep these tips in mind!

About Lindsay Meredith

Lindsay is a high school teacher and personal finance blogger. She lives, works, and plays in the Washington, D.C. area.

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