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Here are 6 things that the pros say you should never say to a potential buyer or buyer's agent.

‘Our house is in perfect condition’
Your home is your castle, and in your eyes it may seem perfect—but don’t make claims that aren’t true, says Cara Ameer, a Realtor® with Coldwell Banker.
“The home inspection may reveal otherwise, and, as a seller, you don’t want to wind up putting your foot in your mouth,” she explains. Bottom line: “There simply is no such thing as ‘perfect condition.’ Every house, whether it is brand new or a resale, has something that needs to be fixed, adjusted, replaced, or improved upon.”

‘It’s been on the market for X…’
Never, ever discuss how long the home has been on the market with prospective buyers, says Pam Santoro, a Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. This info is often listed and available on the home’s information sheet, but bringing it up—especially if the home has been available for eons—can send sellers the wrong message. No one wants to buy a white elephant—and, if they do, it’s probably because they think they’ll be getting it dirt-cheap.

If you’re hoping to move quickly, you may be tempted to tell a few little white lies. So you never had a problem with weird neighbors, eh? Or flooded basements? Or vengeance-seeking poltergeists? Realtors agree that your mistruths—however insignificant they might seem—could come back to you with teeth.
“You’re setting yourself up for potential liability,” explains Ameer. “You may not even be aware of the problem at first, but it could translate into an embarrassing moment upon inspection.” So come clean with what you know and admit what you don’t.

‘We always wanted to fix/renovate that, but…’
Tempted to mention, “We always thought about knocking this wall down and opening the space for more light?” How about “We planned on renovating this bathroom but ran out of cash”? Mum’s the word when it comes to fixes you intended to address. Nobody cares about good intentions.
“When sellers point out things they might change, this only alerts the buyer of more upcoming costs for them,” says Maryjo Shockley, a Realtor with Keller Williams. Who knows? Your buyers may not even want to knock down that wall or redo the bathroom. So why plant those ideas, along with those dollar signs?

‘We spent a ton of money on X, Y, and Z’
Just because you love the Brazilian koa wood flooring you installed throughout the first floor, that doesn’t mean prospective buyers will be willing to shell out for it.
“The buyer doesn’t care whether you spent $10,000 or $100,000 on your kitchen,” says Ameer. “They are only going to offer what they feel the home is worth in relation to area comparable sales.” So, save your breath, or else you’ll risk sounding like you’re trying too hard to justify your price. Desperation isn’t cool.

‘I’m not taking less than X amount for my home’
When it comes time to sell, it makes sense that you want top dollar. We get it! But at the same time, it’s important to be realistic and open to offers within a reasonable range.
“If you send a message that you are inflexible or not open to negotiating, it may not invite buyers to even try to work out acceptable price and terms as they will feel defeated from the start,” says Ameer. “Word may spread that you have this sentiment as a seller, and people may start to avoid the house.”

Here’s something you should consider when debating the great price chop:  The market will probably decide it for you anyway.
“It’s almost impossible to underprice, because the market will bring it back up,” says Mike King, an agent with the Partners Trust Realty in Brentwood, CA.   Think of it like eBay.   You list an item for $1, but you know it’s worth somewhere in the $250 range. Eventually people start bidding, and some people might want that item so much they end up paying $275 for it.  It’s actually a better move to slightly underprice your home than it is to overprice it, because you’ll have more offers to work with—and you can work the competition into a frenzy.  
“It’s called leveraging power,” King says. “If I’m a [motivated] buyer and I know there’s only three offers, I’m going be less aggressive than if you had 10 offers.”

 

Housing vacancies are currently at the lowest levels since at least 2005, according to the Census Bureau estimates. Nationally, the rental vacancy rate was 7.3 percent while homeowner housing rate was 1.9 percent for the third quarter 2015.

But how did housing vacancy rate change at a local level between 2014 and 2011? American Community Survey (ACS) recently published overall vacant housing estimates for zip codes for 2014.  Of the 32,634 zip codes, 79 percent had vacancy rate less than 25 percent, 16 percent had 25 to 50 percent, 4 percent had 50 to 75 percent, and 1 percent had 75 percent and higher. Pennsylvania (8.5% of the housing units) and New York (5.9% of the housing units) had the most zip codes with zero percent housing vacancy rate.

The Asheville MSA reported a vacancy rate of less than 20%, down slightly from 2005.

If you’re about to buy a home—especially if it’s your first—it’s perfectly reasonable to feel elated one moment, terrified the next, angry, indecisive, and a whole lot more. To help clue you in to what’s in store, check out our guide to the various stages you’ll experience on the road to owning some real estate. Godspeed!

Stage 1: You can’t seem to find what you want
You’ll have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find The One.

You have your heart set on a sprawling front porch, while your partner won’t even attend an open house without the promise of a finished basement, leaving your home search dead in the water. What are prospective home buyers to do?

“Work together with your partner or spouse to develop a list of ‘needs’ and ‘wants’ in your home search,” explains Wendy Flynn, a Realtor® with Keller Williams in College Station, TX. “Put it down on paper to commit to it. Expect that list to evolve as you view different homes. When there is a disagreement between partners/spouses, refer to the list of objectives that everyone agreed to in advance.”

Stage 2: At long last, you find your dream house

Finding your dream home will make you jump up and down with excitement.
Finally! You can’t believe your luck. This home checks off nearly all the boxes on your list. You’ve measured, and your sectional will fit perfectly in the living room. You know exactly where you’ll hang the flat-screen. Bust out your welcome mat, you’re ready to move in!

Stage 3: You can’t stop talking about your dream house

Even your family members are tired of hearing about how amazing this house is.
You’ve spent the past four hours scrolling through the photos you took of this magnificent dwelling. In fact, you’ve shared them with everyone from your great-aunt Dolores to your dog groomer. Everyone’s psyched for you. You’ve already invited 75 of your nearest and dearest to the housewarming party you can’t wait to host. You realize you haven’t had the home inspection yet or gotten approved for a mortgage yet, but you’re just so gosh-darn excited!

Stage 4: You’re having panic attacks about the home inspection.

What if the home inspector finds something that's an absolute deal breaker?
Termite damage to the sill plate and columns on crumbling footings are some of the things that are crippling you with insomnia as you await the home inspection.

“Going through home inspections is a bit like a couple taking their first vacation together. You learn things. The clients discover all of the realities of the home, and realize that they are buying the house ‘for better or worse,'” Flynn says.

As heartbreaking as bad news can be, it’s always better to know before you sign on the dotted line. Speaking of those all-important documents…

Stage 5: You’re drowning in paperwork

You're signing your life away but understanding a small percentage of it.
Tensions are mounting as you’re forced to peruse a stack of paperwork thicker than “War and Peace.” You’re also crossing your fingers that the financing comes through and those library books you lost in the late 1990s don’t come back to haunt you. How many relationships have ended as a result of a low FICO score, you ask yourself. Hopefully, though, all goes well and you keep slogging forward to the next lovely stage.

Stage 6: Holy crap, this is costing you a fortune

Don't worry, it's almost over.
With home inspection and survey costs, title, appraisal, and lender’s origination fees, you may feel like you’re hemorrhaging cash. Closing costs typically amount to 3% to 6% of the purchase price. The best thing you can do is be prepared. Oh, and never buy anything, not even food, ever again.

Stage 7: You’ve got cold feet about the closing.

Anxiety is totally normal -- after all, this is probably one of the largest purchases you'll ever make.
You’re about to take title and own this thing. Is this what you really want? What if you lose your job and can’t make the payments?

It turns out getting cold feet before closing is normal. To stay calm, Flynn suggests going over your “wants and needs” list yet again. Facing the facts will help you remember why you fell in love with this house in the first place.

Stage 8: Did I just make the biggest mistake of my life?

You realize all the things the home inspector missed.
What were you thinking? You shouldn’t own a home. This is madness! Cue more brow mopping and hand-wringing.This is kind of a carry-over of the cold feet—it’s just as natural to have a reflexive case of buyer’s remorse when you’re plunking down so much money.

But, if you’ve done your due diligence, stuck to your list of non-negotiables, and resisted getting caught up in the heat of the moment, chances are you will settle into your home just fine. Um, congratulations!

In up markets and down, there are always motivated sellers — those who want a quick or painless close, or just want to move the home. Incentives are common in buyers’ markets to make a seller’s home more desirable than their competition, but sellers also have to get creative in slower times of the year or in parts of town where homes don’t move quickly.

If you have a home to sell, and you think it might be a tough sale, consider offering buyers something to sweeten the pie. Here are a few ideas you might not have considered. You can either offer these out of the gate and advertise them as incentives, or keep them in your back pocket to use as a negotiation tool.

Buy down their interest rate

Most home buyers today need a mortgage to make a purchase. Banks typically offer buyers an interest rate based on the market at the time they apply. If they want to lock in an even lower rate, buyers can always pay an upfront fee, called a point. Paying upfront is called “buying down the rate,” and sellers can do it for the buyer.

If a bank offers a buyer three percent today on a 30-year fixed mortgage, the buyer (or seller) can pay one percent of the loan amount to get something like 2.75 percent. For buyers, this means lower monthly payments locked in for many years, which is more valuable than a small reduction in the purchase price.

And the savings from, say, a five-percent price reduction built into a loan and amortized over 30 years won’t come close to matching the monthly savings that buying down the rate will accomplish.

Include furniture or window coverings

Buying furniture and some finishes post-closing can be a huge hidden or soft cost to real estate. Owners who have renovated their home often chose furniture that matches the home’s new look. Some homes show so well, buyers might want to purchase the house and all the furniture in it.

If you have a home with custom furniture that might not fit so well in your new home, you might consider offering the furniture with the sale. In addition to helping sell the home, it might alleviate the future headache of trying to get rid of the furniture.

Credit for non-recurring closing costs

Buyers often come back to the seller after inspections and request repairs to the home. The wish list can include anything from patching roofing to replacing windows and repairing dry rot.

Most sellers don’t want the hassle of repairing these items. If not done right or to the buyers’ specifications, the repairs can hold up the closing — or even haunt everyone post-closing.

One way to incentivize buyers to continue with the purchase is simply to offer them a credit for non-recurring closing costs. This credit goes to the buyer as cash in their pockets at the closing.

Many buyers ask for credits and may not do the repairs for months. It’s better to give them cash and let them do as they see fit with it.

Offer buyers’ brokers higher commission

Listing agents often market their properties to other agents who have buyers. While a good buyers’ agent should advocate for all homes for their buyer, no matter the commission, sometimes a bonus brings some necessary awareness to a stale property.

It’s not uncommon for a seller to offer a half-percent or even one-percent bonus commission to the buyers’ agent for a property that won’t move. Agents make these offerings by interoffice communication and word of mouth in the community. (Don’t forget, a good agent is well connected and keeps tabs on what’s happening in the market.)

Credit for “Close By” date

A motivated seller might have a variety of reasons for wanting a quick closing, such as tax purposes or a deadline for a job transfer. Sometimes the consequences of the sale date justify offering a small bonus or credit to a potential buyer for meeting a closing date.

For example, a seller may have claimed residence in another state, and faces a giant tax bill if they don’t sell by a certain deadline. The tax liability may have larger consequences outside the real estate transaction.

If a seller wants a quick closing, they should offer a credit to the buyer — and maybe even a bonus commission to the buyers’ agent. For a buyer who rents and can be flexible, a quick closing is simple. Offering an incentive to do so would only be icing on the cake.

Sellers can offer incentives and promote them in a number of ways — some more strategic than others. Putting incentives out there as part of your marketing will surely get buyers in the door. So if you’re having a hard time selling or know up front that your home will be a tough sell, advertise the incentives implicitly. If you have a buyer, and you’ve come close to negotiating but are stuck, these incentives, pulled out at the eleventh hour, can help move the deal over the finish line.