“There is never a single fixed price. Every property has both a floor and ceiling price,” says Patrick Juanéda, President of the Québec Federation of Real Estate Boards (FCIQ). On one hand, the seller wants to close the deal and obtain the amount closest to the ceiling price. While on the other, the buyer wants to pay something closer to the floor price. Irreconcilable differences? Not at all. Finding common ground is entirely possible, and that’s what successful negotiating is all about.
The power of negotiation
“The price is always negotiable,” says Mr. Juanéda. Expect the average reduction percentage to be from 2 to 3%.”
The real estate expert does stress however that each situation is unique: “If a house is listed at a “good price” (near the floor price) and it’s located in an active market (single family homes around $300,000, for example) overbidding can’t be ruled out. Do you really want to miss out to save a few thousand dollars?”
On the other hand, you have more room to manoeuver with a property that has been on the market for over six months and seen little activity.
Recognizing various scenarios forms the basis of any negotiation. A qualified real estate agent has the experience and instinct to guide the buyer. Without one, you’d have to study the local house listings and visit a lot of properties to develop a flair for negotiation. Continue reading →
Review this checklist so the home you buy doesn’t break the bank.
Consider these 8 home-related expenses:
Home inspection fee: Before closing, it’s customary for the buyer to hire a home inspector to confirm the home meets building standards and is “up to code” for that city. The inspection cost is based on the size and complexity of the home’s systems, but on average the fee should be between $375 and $500, according to our BMO Home Buyer’s Guide. You are responsible for paying this to the inspector. It’s a good idea to make your offer conditional, based on a successful home inspection. Sure, the house might look beautiful, but your inspector may detect structural or other problems that you can then negotiate with the seller to either fix or deduct the repair cost from the agreed-upon price.
Appraisal fee: Your mortgage lender will require an appraisal (for example, the current market value of the home) before they’ll finalize your loan. Appraisals generally cost between $250 and $500, according to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), and you may have the option to roll it into your closing costs.
Utility bills: Unlike renters — who may have utilities built into their monthly rent payment — homeowners are responsible for all bills, such as water, gas, electric, home phone, cable and Internet. And this can add up faster than you may think. For example, keeping a home warm in the winter and cool in the summer can be pricey, depending on where you live. In fact, heating accounts for a significant part of the total expenses of Canadian households, according to Statistics Canada. Its Survey of Household Spending found Canadians spend an average of $1,895 on electricity, natural gas and other heating and cooking fuel a year. Need help planning? Use Natural Resources Canada’s home energy calculator to estimate how alternative energy sources and energy system replacements could potentially affect your energy bills.
If we compare the expense of an inspection to the cost of buying a home, it really isn’t that expensive after all! But too often, we still skip this step.
“You would never purchase a used car without hiring a knowledgeable mechanic to inspect it first. So why wouldn’t you do the same thing before making one of the most important investments of our life?” asks Jean-Claude Fillion, an architect who specializes in pre-purchase inspections.
“It’s important to know where you stand before buying a home,” he continues.
Before you sign on the dotted line, here are five good reasons to get a home inspection before you buy a house. Continue reading →