3 Negotiation Tips for Homebuyers

For those with the means, the housing market seems ripe for the picking.Rampant unemployment, excessive debt and uncertain financial futures turned hordes of prospective buyers off to the market this year. But for the lucky few not facing such hurdles, the good news is it’s a buyer’s market.  

To help you take advantage of the ongoing housing slump, we rounded up three negotiation tips that will help you get the most for your money. You may be busy with a million different things, but if you’re serious about buying a home, then following these rules are really the bare minimum. If you’re not prepared to do this, then maybe you should be renting.

Rule #1: Get pre-approved.

This should go without saying, notes Victoria Schtainer, the New York-based senior vice president of Prudential Douglas Elliman. But many homeowners skip this crucial step, sacrificing their credibility, and dream home, in the process.

“When you go out and look at properties, the best course of action is to have your finances in check,” Schtainer says. Get your tax records, credit report and employment information together first, even before you’ve started to look. “That shows a serious buyer,” she says, and will help you assess your finances so you know what you’re bargaining with.

Getting pre-approved by a mortgage lender sets a homeowner’s expectations by telling you whether you’re financially able to afford a home, and how much you’ll be able to spend. It can also provide a glimpse of future mortgage payments, as well as the maximum mortgage for which you might qualify.

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