A buyer should have this goal in mind when making an opening offer to a seller in New York City: Showing that they’re savvy, educated, serious, and easy to deal with.
There are two issues we want to pay attention to when deciding what price to come in with: Average negotiability in our submarket, and the seller’s position. While new development above $4m may close 25% below its asking price, the average Brooklyn two bed closes within 1% of its asking price. Knowing these specs will keep us from passing up good opportunities.
Take the Time to Learn the Seller’s Position
We’ll also want to know all we can about the seller’s position before making our offer. If the home has been on the market for some time and there are currently no offers, testing the seller’s negotiability is likely in our interest. However, if the home is new to market and the seller is already negotiating multiple offers, an offer categorically below the asking price would simply serve to disqualify us. If it helps you avoid a bidding war, offering the asking price saves you money!
What can we Negotiate on Other than Price?
We also want to find points other than money on which to negotiate. For a coop, few things empower us more than a clear and thorough financial statement and preapproval from a reputable bank. From a seller and listing agent’s perspective, a lower price from a buyer who will clearly pass the board – and from an agent who will clearly need no help with the board package – will be more attractive than a higher price from a buyer whose qualifications, and the expertise of their agent, are suspect. Using a reputable Manhattan real estate attorney, who works exclusively in Manhattan coop and condo closings, will help us put our best foot forward as well. Closing schedule can be another point of negotiability: If we can afford to give the seller time to find their next home, or close quickly if the seller prefers, that can give us an advantage over a buyer with an inflexible timeline. If you currently own your home, also important to avoid needing to use a sales contingency.
Bottom line: We want to show that we’re educated, savvy, and easy to deal with. If the listing agent can tell we’re a sure thing and won’t cause much trouble from accepted offer to closing, they will push their seller to take our offer, even if it’s slightly below what they’d prefer. THAT’S how you negotiate a better price on your home purchase.