Attractive buyers (buyers with excellent credit and financial history) tend to have the upper hand with sellers as well as realtors and mortgage lenders. Below are some great ways to turn the housing downturn to your advantage:
Be up-to-date with the market
The best way to get a great deal on a house is to come armed with a significant amount of data showing that you’ve done your homework and know what the place is worth. Thankfully, information on everything, from what comparable houses have sold for to what exactly has been remodeled, and when, is pretty much at your fingertips, through commercial sites as well as via government databases. Such data are especially useful when making an offer on a foreclosed home that’s been repossessed by a bank, where you won’t have to deal with touchy issues like a seller’s sentimental attachments to his home.
Don’t try to low-ball the bank
But if you come in with all the statistics and can make your case that yours is a fair price, they’re more likely to take it.
Be sure to negotiate
If you’re working with a real estate broker, start there. Traditionally, the agent representing the buyer splits the commission with the agent representing the seller. Buyer’s agents are fond of telling their clients that their services are “free” because the seller is the one paying the commission. But the seller wouldn’t be willing to lower his price if the agent was willing to lower his commission by an equal amount. With serious buyers few and far between these days, agents may be willing to take a commission cut, especially with motivated buyers.
Be sure to consider the location
No matter how inexpensive a property might seem, it’s no deal if it’s in a horrible area, or near an airport or highway, for example. While houses near great schools or within a few blocks of public transportation almost always sell at a premium to the overall market, they tend to hold their value in down markets and rise more quickly in good ones. Indeed, while it may seem that it’s the house you’re investing in, it’s actually the land underneath it that appreciates. That’s why some of the best deals to be had may be the worst houses on the best blocks, especially in areas where demographic trends remain strong.