Good Buys: Know How to Negotiate


Price negotiations are a part of most real estate deals. Buyers are in a better position to negotiate conditions found during their home inspection if they approach it the right way. Keep the following tips in mind when negotiating the price of a home:

1. Choose your inspector carefully. While buyers may think an inspection report gives them the upper hand, but the home inspector they choose needs to be qualified, credible and trustworthy. Verify the inspector’s training, ongoing education programs, any certifications they may carry and if they have all the necessary local licenses. Ask for a sample copy of their report. A poorly written or an unprofessionally prepared report by an untrained inspector will make it harder for the seller to trust the findings.

2. Attend the inspection. A good home inspector will encourage the buyer to attend the inspection because it makes the written report much more meaningful. A qualified inspector will demonstrate how to operate many of the systems of the home, point out important shut-off valves, and note any areas obstructed by furnishings or storage. All this makes it easier to verify that repairs have been made and check any areas that were obstructed at the time of the home inspection during a final walk-through (when the home is vacant).

3. Focus on the major elements. Every home has minor or cosmetic flaws. An inspector’s role is not to really focus on peeling wallpaper or cracked sidewalks, although he may document it. In general, anything that would cost less than $500 to fix should be considered normal maintenance. Repairs that exceed that amount are more likely to be negotiable.

4. Be realistic. Buyers often try and negotiate $2 for every $1 of actual repair expense. Avoid souring a deal by trying to over-exploit a situation during negotiations. Get several estimates for needed repairs to substantiate your requests so that negotiations are realistic and professional.

5. Consider a home warranty. If many of the major systems in the home are working but are older, ask about a home warranty. The seller may even consider paying for this coverage which will reduce the risks of expensive replacement costs in the first year. Most warranty programs are renewable so a buyer can opt to continue the coverage after the warranty period expires.

A professional inspection report and estimates for repairs will provide you with the right documentation to engage in realistic negotiations. With the right preparation, you can negotiate your way into the home that’s right for you.

Remember, these tips are only general guidelines. Since each situation is different, contact a real estate or home inspection professional if you have questions about a specific issue. More information is available online at

About HouseMaster Headquartered in Bound Brook, N.J., HouseMaster is the oldest and one of the largest home inspection franchisors in North America. With more than 385 franchised areas throughout the U.S. and Canada, HouseMaster is the most respected name in home inspections. For 30 years, HouseMaster has built upon a foundation of solid leadership and innovation with a continued focus on delivering the highest quality service experience to their customers and providing HouseMaster franchisees the tools and support necessary to do so. Each HouseMaster franchise is an independently owned and operated business. HouseMaster is a registered trademark of DBR Franchising, LLC.

This information is provided for general guidance purposes only. Neither DBR Franchising, LLC nor the local HouseMaster® franchise warrants its accuracy and assumes no liability related to its use. Contact the local franchise office and/or qualified specialists for advice pertinent to your specific house or circumstances.

All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Limited consent to preprint or republish this report may be posted, reprinted, emailed or faxed as long as the copyright and credit reflect “Courtesy of Jennifer V-E Johnson and”

Courtesy of Jennifer V-E Johnson, Reston Expert and

Be Sociable, Share!