Should I Haggle on a House Price? The Do's and Don'ts of Negotiating

Haggling on a house price can be a daunting task for many home buyers, especially if it's their first time buying a home. But with a little research and preparation, negotiating a fair price can be a successful way to get a good deal.

Before diving into the process of haggling, it's important to understand what it means. Haggling is the act of negotiating or bargaining over the price of something. In the context of real estate, haggling refers to negotiating the price of a house with the seller.

The importance of negotiation in real estate cannot be overstated. The price of a house is not set in stone and can vary based on various factors such as market conditions, seller motivation, and the state of the property. By negotiating the price, buyers can potentially save thousands of dollars on their home purchase.

Now, let's dive into the do's and don'ts of haggling on a house price.

The dos of haggling on a house price

Haggling is an art, and like any art, it takes practice to perfect. 

There are a few things you can do to make sure you're in the best position possible when it comes time to start bargaining: 

  • Research the property's market value: Before making an offer, it's important to research the property's market value. This can help you determine a fair and realistic offer. Several online tools and resources are available to help you understand the market value of a property, such as Zillow, Redfin, and Trulia.
  • Determine a realistic and fair offer: Once you have a good understanding of the property's market value, it's time to determine your offer. It's important to keep in mind that your offer should be fair and realistic, based on the market value of the property and any repairs or updates that may be needed. 
  • Consider the seller's motivations and circumstances: It's important to consider the seller's motivations and circumstances when negotiating a price. For example, if the seller is motivated to sell quickly, they may be more willing to accept a lower offer. On the other hand, if the seller has no urgency to sell, they may be more willing to hold out for a higher price.
  • Use leverage: Leverage can be a powerful tool in negotiation. For example, having a pre-approved mortgage or multiple offers on the table can give you more bargaining power.

The don'ts of haggling on a house price

So what are the don'ts of haggling on a house price? Don't do any of these things:

  • Don't lowball the seller. It's understandable that you want to get the best deal possible, but it's important to remember that the seller is also trying to get the best price for their property. Making an offer that is significantly below the asking price can be seen as disrespectful or unreasonable and can put the seller on the defensive. Instead, try to make a fair and reasonable offer based on the market value of the property and your own budget.
  • Don't be disrespectful or unreasonable. While it's okay to try and get a good deal, it's important to remember that the seller is a person with feelings and needs. Treat them with respect and consideration, and try to be understanding of their position. Making unreasonable or unrealistic demands can turn the negotiation process into a battle rather than a collaborative effort to find a mutually beneficial solution.
  • Don't be inflexible or unwilling to compromise. Negotiation is a back-and-forth process, and it's important to be open to the ideas and perspectives of the other party. If you're unwilling to compromise or make any concessions, it can be difficult to reach an agreement. Be willing to listen to the seller's perspective, consider their needs and concerns, and try to find a solution that works for both of you.
  • Don't bring up price first. You want to make sure that you've done your research and have a firm idea of what the house is worth before you start talking about how much money you're willing to spend on it. Otherwise, the seller might feel like they can play hardball with you and get away with it!

Tips for successful negotiation

To get a better deal, consider these tips and use them while negotiating:

Do your research

Before you start negotiating, it's important to have a good understanding of the market value of the property and the local real estate market. This will help you make informed and realistic offers and can also give you leverage in the negotiation process.

Have a clear budget in mind

It's important to know your limits and stick to a budget that you're comfortable with. This will help you avoid overpaying for a property and will also make it easier to walk away if the seller is unwilling to meet your price.

Make your first offer your best offer.

It's generally a good idea to make your initial offer your best offer, as this can set the tone for the rest of the negotiation process. If you start with a lowball offer, it can be more difficult to get the seller to take you seriously later on.

Be open to counteroffers.

It's common for sellers to counter your initial offer, and it's important to be open to this possibility. Consider the seller's counteroffer carefully, and try to find a compromise that works for both parties.

Don't make it personal.

This is one of the most important things to remember when you're haggling on a house price. It's not about you, it's about the seller, and they're probably going to do whatever they can to get out of their current situation as soon as possible. If you lose your cool and start yelling at them, they may feel like they can't trust you enough to work with you in good faith—and then they'll walk away from the deal. That's exactly what you want to avoid!

Don't be afraid to walk away.

 If the negotiation process isn't going well or the seller is unwilling to meet your price, it's okay to walk away. There are plenty of other properties out there, and it's important to only buy a home that you're comfortable with.


In conclusion, if you're looking to make a purchase on one of the best deals in town, it's probably a good idea to haggle. However, make sure you do your research and have a strategy for how much lower you can go before you start negotiating. Otherwise, you might end up overpaying for something that could have been much cheaper.



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