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Hardball Fouls: 6 Home-Selling Negotiation Strategies That Can Backfire

When you're selling your home, you might imagine you hold all the cards. And you do — sort of. But it's easy to become overconfident in a seller's market. If you don't do a reality check, pronto, you could end up sabotaging your sale.

Here are six common home seller negotiation tactics that can totally backfire if you don't approach them carefully.

1. Starting a bidding war

There's nothing wrong with fueling a little competition among buyers in order to get the best deal for you. But this tactic can easily backfire if you bungle it.

Common bidding war bungles include the following:

* Do not clearly explain up-front how you intend to handle multiple offers.

* Make them wait (and wait) for you to accept an offer. Some buyers may not be willing to wait for you to make a decision, especially if other homes are in contention.

* Play potential buyers against one another. If you have a strong offer on the table, there’s no need to insist all potential buyers come back with their highest bid. There's no guarantee buyers will play ball, and if that strong offer walks, you're stuck.

2. Haggling over repairs

What if the buyer completes an inspection and comes back with a long list of requested repairs?

Consider how good the offer package is before refusing to do repairs. Look at the bigger picture. You don’t want the buyer to walk away because they feel you are taking advantage of them.

3. Threatening to put your home back on the market

If negotiations aren't quite going your way, you might be tempted to call the buyers’ bluff. Hey, if they don't want to ante up, you can always put your home back on the market and find another eager buyer. Right?

Yes, you might find another taker quickly, but beware … it also might not go according to plan. There can be a stigma associated with putting a home back on the market. It may be harder to get buyers to take a second look.

A hot real estate market can also cool down quickly. Legitimate prospects may move on before you get your house back on the market.

4. Being stubborn on the closing date

You've decided your closing date needs to coordinate with the closing date on your new home to avoid complicated interim arrangements. Or, the buyer can’t possibly take possession this spring because your kids are still finishing school.

Guess what? Your buyers have scheduling issues of their own. Buyer and seller schedules seldom work out perfectly -- so be flexible.

5.Getting greedy over what comes with the house

Planning to take your beautiful custom light fixtures with you? Not so fast. Those expensive fixtures you installed to show the home can cause trouble at the negotiating table if you unless you expressly noted the exclusions in the listing.

Avoid this confusion by replacing anything that won't be staying with the house 

before you show it. If that's not possible, be prepared to leave the prized fixture behind, or negotiate a comparable replacement.

6. Refusing to pay closing costs

So, you're coming down the home stretch and this deal is almost done. Congratulations! But the buyer asked you to cover their closing costs.

Before you say "no way," consider this: Buyers sometimes roll the amount of those closing costs into their offer. For instance, if your home is listed for $600,000, a buyer might submit an offer for $604,000, but ask you to cover the $4,000 in closing costs.

A good deal comes down to doing the math, keeping your ego in check and putting yourself in the buyer's shoes. After all, when you sell your house, you'll probably be buying one, too.

Ready to sell your home? Contact us to get started.

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