How Can Buyers Tell if a Seller is Willing to Negotiate?

Every buyer wants to get a deal on things that they buy, and real estate is no exception. In fact, the bigger purchases are definitely the ones that buyers want to get the best price on given the enormous cost associated with them.

If you’re looking to buy a new home in the near future, you’ll likely have a budget that you have to work within. Not everyone has millions of dollars in their bank accounts that can give them the flexibility to buy anything they fall in love with. Most buyers only have a certain amount of money to spend when it comes to buying a house.

When you find a home that fits within your budget, you may want to negotiate with the seller in order to whittle down the price as low as possible. It’s all part and parcel of real estate deals: both buyers and sellers will want to wheel and deal in order to get the best outcome.

But even before you put in an offer on a home, there may be signs that the seller is open to negotiations. Spotting a seller who may be willing to bargain can help you attain a more successful outcome on the purchase of your new home and potentially save you a lot of money.

Here are some ways to tell if a seller may be willing to negotiate with you.

The Home is Vacant

If the home that you’re interested in is vacant, that obviously means the sellers have already moved out. Sometimes the home might not be completely vacant and will still have some furniture left behind, but there may be other signs that the sellers no longer live there, such as boxes packed up, no clothes in the closets, an empty fridge, and so forth.

If you notice that the sellers have already moved out, there may be a chance that they’re motivated to find a buyer and get the home off their hands. If they’ve already bought a new home, moved into it, and started paying a mortgage on it, odds are they’re carrying two mortgages until they’re able to find a buyer.

If that’s the case, they probably want to sell quickly so they won’t be under the burden of carrying two mortgages.

The Market is Slow

Depending on the market, the seller’s motivation could go either way. If homes are being bought really quickly, then it’s likely a seller’s market. In this case, sellers probably don’t have to work as hard to sell their homes.

Buyers could get a better deal in a slower market because there’s simply less competition. In this type of market, there’s more inventory than buyers in demand. In this case, you may be in a better position to negotiate with the seller.

The Listing Has Been Up For a While

If the market is rather cool, it could be taking a while for homes to sell. The number of days on the market (DOM) for listings simply refers to how long it’s taking for homes to sell in the area. Check out how long a listing has been up on the market. If you notice that the DOM on a listing is higher than the average, you might be able to negotiate.

The Seller is Offering Incentives

There are a few different tactics that sellers can use to draw in buyers, and offering incentives is one of them. Perhaps the seller of the home you have your eye on is including some perks to sweeten the deal. They might be offering to throw in the furniture or appliances, or they may be offering to partially cover closing costs.

Whatever the incentive may be, the fact that the seller is offering them may be a sign that they’re motivated to sell, which is the perfect position you want them to be in to negotiate.

The Listing Mentions “Motivated Seller”

Speaking of motivated, the listing description itself might actually directly tell buyers that the seller is motivated. If the seller is really anxious to get the home off their hands, they may want to directly advertise this fact.

No matter what the market may be like, a seller who is truly motivated is probably not interested in a lot of back and forth and instead just wants to get a deal done. If you discover that the seller is motivated, find out exactly what their motivations are so that your negotiating tactic can be even more effective.

The Seller Wants to Close ASAP

Sellers might mention that they’re looking for a quick closing. Obviously, that means they’re looking to sell quickly and get their home off their hands. Whether it’s because they’ve already moved out or need to get the money out of their home quickly, wanting a quick sale often means the seller is open to negotiation.

The Bottom Line

The motivation of a seller plays a key role in how willing they are to negotiate. While an unmotivated seller may have all the time in the world to find a buyer who’s willing to offer the price they want, sellers who are more eager to sell can provide a great opportunity for buyers to get a great deal.