Negotiating when buying a home in Las Vegas is a standard convention. You see a listing price and you know that you are free to submit an offer that is more, less than or equal to the listing price that the seller has set. Sounds basic and straightforward, right?
But once we got into the details of making an offer that was right for us, we learned that there is so much more than you can negotiate for, other than price. These items can save you thousands of dollars, or better yet, save you from the disappointment of buying the wrong home.
Here are 9 things you can negotiate for when you’re buying a house:
Length of time to close
Most sellers are eager to close. They’ve been going through the process of selling their home for months by prepping it for sale and letting strangers walk through their bedroom on the weekend. For some sellers, a fast close can be a major bonus point. Do they really want the escrow process to go on for 45-60 days when it can be done in 30? Adding in a quick closing can help nudge a seller to accept your offer.
However, you want to be sure that the close timeline you’re offering is long enough for you to get through your contingencies: can you get inspections and your financing worked out in that time frame? Nobody likes to get promised one thing, and then asked for something else.
Standard contingencies look like this: financing, appraisal, and general inspection. We didn’t really pay much attention to this, because we thought it was standard and we didn’t know there was room to negotiate. When you’re writing your offer you have room to include (or not include) the contingencies that you want, but keep in mind that in our current Las Vegas real estate market, the more things you ask for, the less likely you might be to get an accepted offer. I suggest that you keep your priorities focused on the things of top most importance: get a good qualified and licensed inspection company to do a complete report for you to decide on what you want to address with the seller.
Time Frame For Inspections
No seller wants a buyer to drag their feet, and no buyer wants to feel insane pressure to complete thorough inspections. The actual time frame for inspections to occur can be a point that is negotiable during the process. If you know that the seller wants to close quickly, including a tight time frame for inspections (and the subsequent removal of related contingencies) can help sway the seller to accept your offer. Ask for the time you need, but don't hesitate for get it done sooner, when things go smoothly.
Depending on what’s normal for your market, not all the appliances found in the home will be included in the sale (such as the washer/dryer). Before making your offer you can clarify which of the appliances (if any) are included and when making your offer negotiate to have certain appliances included in the purchase.
Don’t want any of the appliances? You can also negotiate to have them removed from the property. It goes both ways. Some real estate agents (myself included) will actually arrange to have them removed for you after the sale is completed.
A warranty is a protection plan on the home’s appliances and systems, such as the HVAC system, plumbing, or hot water heater. In the event these things break or need repair within the warranty time frame, the repair would be covered by the warranty. A warranty can be offered by the seller or asked for by the buyer. I know some Las Vegas real estate agents, who will actually purchase their home buyer a home warranty at close of escrow (myself included).
Love what you see when you tour the house? You can negotiate to buy some or all of the furniture the seller has in their home. If the seller has taken time to decorate well or some of the spaces are uniquely sized (which can make finding furniture an issue), make an offer on the pieces of furniture that you’d love to keep. Just be sure that you stay focused on buying your new home and not get caught up in the things that are outside of the home purchase.. furnishings are considered personal property, and we usually cannot consider them in the escrow process.
Repairs are one of the biggest places that you’ll find room to negotiate both as you’re making an offer and before you close, once inspections have been completed. If the home requires significant amount of work to bring it up to today’s standards, you can ask for repairs when making the offer. If problems are discovered during inspections, you can negotiate to have them fixed or get a price reduction to cover the cost of the work which will need to be done after closing. Negotiating repairs on our retaining wall and chimney saved us thousands of dollars.
Note that if the seller states that a home is sold “as-is”, they are indicating early that they will not be willing to make any repairs that might be needed.
Offering a leaseback can be a huge incentive to a seller, who isn’t quite ready to leave their house once the sale takes place. They may be waiting to purchase a home or they may need a few weeks before their next purchase closes. Offering them an opportunity to rent the home for a short amount of time (either at zero cost or an agreed upon rate), may be a huge benefit for them. Just be sure to have a formal rental agreement in writing and know that these are issues that will not be handled by your title and escrow company. Consult a property manager to assist you with this sort of option in a home purchase agreement.
Closing costs can catch first-time home buyers off-guard, as they learn they’ll need to have additional cash available to close on the loan, aside from the down payment. But closing costs are another piece of the offer than can potentially be negotiated. Closing costs can be negotiated with the seller (mainly in a buyer’s market) or directly with your lender. In the current Las Vegas real estate market, you will not fair well in asking for much in closing costs, since it is a sellers market, but you can still get down payment assistance through your local mortgage lender. Nevada has several grant programs that are available to home buyers and you may even get a gift from your lender towards your down payment. For more information on this, just contact me by text, email or phone.