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County public records are usually available on-line and can show other things that might work to your benefit. Many county clerks maintain a free access site for basic information about people and property which you can search for. Has there been a divorce filed? Does the seller have any liens or lawsuits pending against them? What did the seller pay for the home, how much was the original mortgage, and has it been paid off? You can’t necessarily put a dollar figure on what you might find but it may clue you in to a seller who is more motivated than they may lead on.
Counties will also maintain a tax roll which can usually be found on line as well. Does the advertised square footage in the MLS match what the county says? If there are additions, were the proper permits pulled? Much of this sort of information is on-line and can be found for free.
Many times we find homes of retirees who came to Florida years ago and now, for health or other family reasons need to sell. Quite often these homes will not have a mortgage and the sale of the property is at the direction of a relative. This situation can work for you as there is no emotional attachment to the property. They really just want the money.
Don't go in with a take or leave it attitude. Everyone needs to feel like they got something in the negotiation. Your initial offer should be part of an overall strategy. Going into low may be counterproductive. An owner may dig in early and wind up costing you more than if you came in a little higher. In other words, don't tick off the seller if they have priced the home well. Your objective is to buy at a price you would purchase the home for or less. Look on your negotiation as incrementally pulling the seller closer to your position. Sweeten the pot a little bit each time you counter. Many times you can tell how motivated the home seller is by their first counteroffer.
You also don’t want to negotiate out good will. When you get close, look at that extra couple of dollars as keeping good will in the deal. Just take it. Real estate transactions are complex and rely on a lot of people to get the job done. In this era of increased scrutiny by the lenders, you may get to the wire and find something is not done by the lender or something else is not done to the lender’s satisfaction. This may require an extension. If the seller is not happy with you, you might have just given them a reason to kill the deal. You will never know if tough negotiation on your part has motivated the seller to find a back up offer just waiting for you to get blown away.
Your due diligence, best efforts and all the real estate science in the world should get you the best deal. You might find a seller who wants what they want and the facts don’t count. In these situations you just have to make a decision that you are comfortable with. Stick within your bounds. Sometimes, it’s just not meant to be and you must be prepared to move on.
Cash offers put you at the head of the class. Our real estate contracts here in Sarasota have the option of purchasing without any financing contingency. The best advice for cash transactions is to add an appraisal contingency if there is any concern regarding value. Short of having the cash or knowing 100% financing is no issue, your position is greatly enhanced by obtaining loan approval before you even look at any real estate. This is different than a pre-approval in that a preliminary credit report is all that is pulled in the pre-approval. An outright mortgage loan approval requires you to apply for a loan up front and go through some of the approval process. You then become the next best thing to an all cash buyer. The seller will know that if they sign your offer, the house is sold.
Having rapport with a trusted real estate professional can be an asset to you. Every home and situation is different and there are a whole host of other factors that may come into play. A real estate agent who is the local expert generally will have insight and local knowledge which can only work to your benefit. We sell homes every month of the year so our knowledge is built to help you. We have built a system which includes many professionals who work together for you. We look forward to using our experience to work for you.