| Multiple offers. Bidding wars. One-day sales. "Sold Out" signs on developments under construction. As little as five years ago, these events would have been rare in Virginia's real estate market. But in the last couple of years, they're commonplace in many neighborhoods---all because we are in a Seller's Market. |
What's a Seller's Market? It occurs when demand exceeds housing supply. The result is that the seller can expect top dollar for his property from buyers. For potential homeowners, it means they're at a disadvantage when it comes to negotiating price, terms and conditions. The seller is in the preferred negotiating position.
Being successful in this type of market requires that you be decisive. Never make a rush to judgment, but on the other hand you can't spend weeks playing a waiting game, hoping for that last $100 concession.
A key element is having an agent that represents you and not the seller. Don't give away any more advantage than you must.
Be prepared to make a reasonable offer for the property being sold. An initial "low-ball" bid generally sets the stage for very little flexibility on the part of the seller. Negotiations rarely go very far with this kind of start.
Know your bottom line. Remember, while you are trading counter offers of $500, someone else can write a contract and have it accepted. At the end of no more that two counter offers you should be able to have a ratified contract. Decide if it is worth losing the property over a few hundred dollars. (Or in some cases, even a few thousand dollars)
If having closing cost assistance is important to you, be ready to make a full price or near full price offer and ask for that assistance. If you are more concerned about the monthly payment, be prepared to forgo any additional monetary requests. Making a low offer and asking for significant additional concessions generally results in no contract.
No one wants to feel that he has been taken advantage of. A successful contract is one in which both the seller and buyer feel they have received and given a reasonable value for the property in question.