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For Sale by Owner Articles • Owners.com - Negotiating for Home Sellers

How to Work with Interested Buyers

Congratulations! You’ve received a call from buyers you showed your home to last week, and they are interested in talking further about buying the house. They want to come back and see the house one more time and then sit down and discuss the possible purchase. At this point, there are several steps before getting an actual written contract.
Step 1 - Invite the buyers back immediately and put the house in absolutely great condition. This visit is when the buyers will make the decision to make an offer to you or move on to another house. Make sure everything is spotless. Do everything and more that you would do for an open house. Be sure you have created a calm and relaxed atmosphere in the house.
Step 2 - When the buyers arrive, greet them warmly and offer soft drinks, coffee or tea. Then let them take another look at the house. Offer to answer any questions they may have about the house, but stay out of their way. Hopefully, when they are finished looking they will have several questions. Remember that questions are buying signs. If they aren’t interested enough to ask questions, they certainly aren’t interested enough to buy. Answer the questions truthfully. You are setting the stage for future negotiations, so be calm and friendly.
Step 3 - It is possible that the buyers will indicate that they are interested in the house and ask what the next step is. You should always be prepared for this question. The next step is always for the buyers to put their offer in writing. If you have hired a contract attorney to negotiate the contract for you, the attorney should provide you with contract forms to give to the buyer. If you have not hired an attorney, you must have or at least know where to obtain contract forms. If the buyers say they would just like to talk about the sale and be sure you are on the same page, use common sense. Obviously you and the buyers have to come to terms and there is nothing wrong with friendly discussion, but nothing is binding until it is in writing.
Step 4 - The best advice is to not negotiate price verbally. If the buyer asks you how low you will go, indicate that you need to see their entire offer and evidence that they can qualify for the mortgage before you can negotiate price. Indicate that you have priced your home to sell and while everything is possibly negotiable, price is only one part of the equation, and you will have to see their offer in writing.
Things to Remember:
Remain calm and friendly.
Don’t take negative comments about the house or your price personally. This is critical to your success. Even if the buyer seems to be difficult (and some will be, it’s a fact of life) REMAIN CALM AND FRIENDLY.
FSBO transactions require a win-win. Do not allow the discussion to become confrontational.

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