The hot summer season is upon us, and all indications are that inventory will remain on the low side in Benicia.  Buyers need to be vigilant and realistic in their search for a new home, and not price themselves out of the market before they even get started.

Buyers are often frustrated when they find the appraisal did not meet the purchase price, and the seller is unwilling to come off their accepted price to accommodate. They may set themselves up for disappointment by asking for the moon in repairs after reviewing the home inspection. Remember, this is still a seller’s market so be prepared for tough negotiations, and try to think like a seller.

Buyers may need to be willing to make up the difference on an appraisal in order to close the deal, especially when purchasing a unique property that is hard to get comps for, or a property that had many offers and went considerably over asking price. Check with your lender and agent before you even make the offer to have a plan should that situation arise. Know what liquid assets you have to work with should you need additional cash to close.

Those home inspections can be scary. Be sure to go over the report with the inspector and your agent, and, if possible, meet the inspector at the home toward the end of his four to six hour inspection to go over his/her findings and talk about immediate concerns. The home inspector is going to note everything possible in order to give you a very thorough report. This does not mean that the home is a wreck and falling apart. Learn what is a “must do now,” a “should do soon,” and a “like to do in the future.”

When negotiating with the seller of the home, ask for the essential health and safety items from the home inspection and do not present the seller with a laundry list of other repairs. You are not buying a brand new home, and you should expect a certain amount of wear and tear. Be willing to give something in return, maybe it can be a sooner close date, or even a slight price increase to cover part of the cost of the specific repair. In the long run you will not feel the price increase in the mortgage. A well-written letter to the seller explaining how much you love “their home,” with specifics about things that made you want to buy it and how you look forward to moving in and living there, is a great way to ease into a request. Those cabinets you are asking them to take out of the garage so your cars will fit may have been hand built by the seller and have sentimental meaning; to the seller they are an upgrade. Be respectful and explain why you are asking for this reasonable request.

Negotiation is four parts science and six parts art. Your realtor will help you close a fair deal.