Area Home Buyers Have Room to Negotiate

By Nora Tooher

Perk up, Philly-area home buyers: You may have more negotiating clout than you think.

While housing markets in many parts of the country are struggling with low inventory and soaring prices, the Philadelphia metro is considered the top market in the country for buyers, according to a recent Zillow ranking.

Nationwide, the supply of homes for sale was almost 9 percent below the level it was a year ago, according to Zillow. In the Philadelphia metro, however, inventory was down only 4.7 percent from the same period a year earlier.

In calculating the best markets for buyers and sellers, Zillow also considers price cuts and the number of days homes are listed on the market.

In the Philly metro, a home for sale spent an average of 133 days listed on Zillow, as of Jan. 31. Zillow considers the area real estate market “cold,” and says the median home value of $203,900 has increased only 1.6 percent in the past year. It’s expected to rise 1.4 percent within the next year.

All this spells good news for local buyers, who may be able to coax sellers into accepting an offer below their listing price.

But if your first offer is rejected, don’t be discouraged. Brendon DeSimone, a nationally recognized real estate expert, has some tips for responding when a seller rejects your initial offer:
• Don’t overanalyze the seller. Trying to figure out the seller’s motivations or financial situation can waste time and deter you from your home search.
• Make your best offer. If you’ve been holding back from offering what you can actually afford, it may make sense to just cut to the chase and put your maximum offer in writing.
• Walk away. Many home buyers look back and realize the house they just had to have was either out of their price range, flawed or not right for them. As in love, there’s always another one down the road.

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