Your success as a home buyer is going to largely depend on your real estate agent. If they have a good reputation, then you will do the best you are able to do.
However, if they have a stained or tarnished reputation, watch out. The way you can figure this out is by interviewing them.
We welcome questions about our placement and success with past and current real estate clients who we are representing in Santa Clarita real estate.
We have been representing both buyers and home sellers in the Greater Los Angeles Areas since 1998. During that time I have posted over 10,000 real estate articles related to the buying and selling process. I have also produced over 2000 real estate help videos pertaining to Santa Clarita real estate on our YouTube channel for Santa Clarita real estate. Our other main platform for our home buyers and sellers to use happens to be our real estate radio show and podcasting platform. I have been using SoundCloud as our podcasting and radio show channel. You can listen to this at HousingRadio.com.
Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned veteran, the negotiation part of the transaction can be a little daunting and stressful. However, it is necessary to ensure you are getting the best possible deal for your money. So, what should you negotiate when buying a home?
- Closing costs. Your closing costs are determined by a variety of factors, but you can expect it to be between 2% to 5% of the purchase price. Ask the seller to cover some or all of the closing costs upfront or request a closing credit that can be used to make specific updates and fixes to the home.
- Furnishings. Love how the seller has furnished and decorated the home? Buyers often negotiate keeping couches, fixtures, landscaping items, patio furniture, appliances, and more. And many sellers agree, wanting to make the home more appealing.
- Inspection and closing timing. Buyer offers that include a quick inspection and close timeline are often more attractive to sellers who have been going through the process for far too long. Just ensure you allow yourself ample time to get your financing in place and complete proper, thorough inspections.
- Home warranty. Sellers will often agree to pay the premium on the home warranty at closing and then hand it off to the new homeowner, who is responsible for the deductible on any future claims.
- Repairs. Your inspection may uncover small or large repairs needed to bring the home up to standard. You can negotiate to have these items fixed before closing or ask for a price reduction to cover the costs.
Closing costs in the Santa Clarita real estate market
Asking for the seller to pay closing costs are going to be market dependent. In some real estate markets, the closing costs are much easier to have the seller pay or allow to be paid. Remember these are negotiated with the home seller via their agent and via your agent.
They have to get paid and are your part of the title fee, your part of escrow and your lender’s fee. If a home is priced at $300,000.00 a home buyer may expect about $9,000.00 for a buyer’s closing costs. If the home is priced well at $300k, the home buyer may offer that seller $309,000.00 and state they want 9 thousand dollars to be applied to both recurring and non-recurring closing costs. – recurring reference items that repeat, like taxes and insurance – they are due throughout the year. Non-recurring are things like your lender’s fee to get you a loan, it happens only once each time you buy real estate and need a loan.
If the home is priced above FMV – Fair market value, a home buyer may offer the seller, in the same scenario $300,000.00 and then ask the seller for $9,000.00 back in recurring and non-recurring closing costs. Basically, the seller will then net $291,000.00 in this scenario and is allowing the home buyer to finance their closing costs also.
When asking for closing costs in Santa Clarita, us being super savvy agents, will demand that you include a love letter to accompany your offer with your request for closing costs. This method usually makes the home seller feel warm and fuzzy. This is the proper way to approach the home seller when asking them to take money out of their home sale and apply it. This also applies to ask the seller to risk an appraisal issue if they agree to allow the home buyer to have closing costs piled on top of the seller’s listing price.
If you don’t ask, then you won’t get. This is a tried and true method for a home buyer to get what they want when buying real estate. Most agents stop at the home without any of the seller’s personal property. Some sellers have items that are personal property that is custom made for the home. If in doubt and want something, make sure your agent asks for it.
The best time to ask for something that the seller has which would be considered the personal property of the seller would be to do it during the offering phase. This is because more attention is paid to the offering price than any other thing. Not that you are attempting to deceive the home seller, these requests are written on the offer, they just maybe less sensitive to the request if done early.
Incredible shrinking timeframes
Something that a home buyer can do to make their offer better is to change contractual time frames. For example, on the California purchase contract, the home buyer has 17 days to complete all inspections and 21 days to get a loan approval (as of 2052hrs 4.19.2019)
Maybe a home buyer would reduce the inspection time frame to 12 days. (in many an occasion the home seller’s agent reduce the time frames as part of their countering process)
Before this step is to be taken, you need to know that your lender can perform. You need to know that the home inspector is able to make it and generate a report with time enough to stay loyal to the contract.
Something else, this action is not for the faint of heart and needs to be done with great consultation with a real estate expert! I’m not a super fan of this. I don’t like to offer up compressed time frames for my home buyer’s inspection. I’d rather deal with it during a counter offer.
Most home sellers offer a home warranty as part of their sale process. It protects them from being bothered after escrow closes from the home buyer.
There are different home warranty companies, plans, and coverages. If you have a pool or two air conditioners, you may want to ensure that your agent asks the seller to pay enough to cover all items. There are also different levels of home warranty service, this should also be something that your agent needs to ask the sellers to pay for – the top shelf coverage.
Also, it’s important if you are a home buyer to have your agent use a home warranty company through a representative that they know. This goes very far if something happens and if you need to activate the home warranty. If you miss this step and let the seller’s agent choose the home warranty company and the rep, you will have issues trying to get things done with some of the Home Warranty companies.
Repairs – Request for Repairs/Credits
There comes a time within every escrow where the home buyer is going to have the property they are buying inspected. This will occur with a certified home inspector. The home buyers need to be present and need to ask all the questions possible. Usually, at least in my business, I attempt to get the pest control people out there at the same time so many of those concerns, if they exist, can be addressed at the same time.
It’s been my experience that the home inspector and the pest control people usually banter back and forth sharing industry knowledge and double checking each other’s work. That is good for the home buyer, two sets of eyes are much better than one.
When it comes to the home buyer via their agent, asking the seller for items, health and safety mostly, go be repaired, most sellers would rather issue monetary compensation for the issues that arise.
This is because money is easier and the act of taking money in lieu of repairs cancels most of the home sellers culpability.
I’m Connor with REMAX. I’ll be here for you when you are ready, Be safe – talk soon. Connor MacIvor.