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The People I Was Selling My Home to Had Nonsense Reasons for Asking for Money Off. Here’s How I Handled It

A family meets with a realtor, who points at paperwork and smiles in a kitchen.

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I sold my home myself a short time ago. Because I did not have a real estate agent representing me during the sales process, I had to handle every aspect of the deal myself.

Once I received an offer from the buyers, I knew they would do their due diligence. Like most offers to buy a house, theirs was conditioned on a satisfactory home inspection. Following this inspection, however, they asked for money off of our agreed-upon price for silly reasons.

Here’s what I did.

I armed myself with information

After the home inspection, the buyers asked for money off of the property because they claimed there was an issue with some shingles on the roof. They also said they weren’t happy about some of the interior paint work. They wanted thousands of dollars to be discounted from the price of the property to fix these “issues.”

The problem with this is that my house was less than two years old and there was still a builder’s warranty on the roof. There was no actual problem with the roof based on my experience living in the house, and the paint in the home was just fine and no different from any of our neighbors’ interior paint.

I had to make sure I had the relevant information to respond appropriately, though. This meant I did my own due diligence. I obtained a copy of the builder’s warranty, I looked up similar homes that had sold and were for sale in my neighborhood, and I requested a detailed copy of their inspection report showing these so-called “problems.”

I also performed an assessment of what similar homes in the area had sold for. When I spoke to the buyers’ agent, I explained that if I provided the credit the buyers had asked for, I would be selling my home for tens of thousands of dollars less than what comparable properties had recently sold for — for no real reason, since the problems they were claiming existed did not really exist at all.

I stood firm in talking with the real estate agent

While the real estate agent tried to push back on me even after I came to him with information, I had the confidence of knowing that I was in the right in terms of my home’s condition and I was also certain I had priced the home fairly.

I also knew from what the agent had said that these buyers really wanted to get a mortgage loan to buy in my particular neighborhood. And I checked other homes that were currently for sale and found they had limited options.

Since I didn’t have a mortgage to pay off as I’d paid cash for the home, I also wasn’t in a huge rush to sell so I wouldn’t have been devastated if their offer fell through. So, I essentially told the real estate agent that I would be putting the house back on the market immediately if they wanted to try to renegotiate the price — and I let him know they needed to release the inspection contingency by the deadline unless they wanted me to move forward with taking the home off pending status.

The agent called me back right away and said they would release the contingency.

If you don’t want to handle these issues yourself, working with an agent may be your best bet

In my case, everything worked out in the end and my home closed on schedule. But, this process shows how many issues can arise during the days leading up to closing even after you get an offer.

If you have the knowledge and ability to deal with problems like this, selling your house yourself can save you money since you won’t have to pay a commission to a seller’s agent (which is customarily about 3%).

But you have to deal with some hassle — and sometimes agents will try to take advantage of you if you’re selling a home yourself, which I think is what happened here. So, be prepared to protect your own financial interests and, if you aren’t confident enough to do that, hiring an agent may pay off for you in the end.

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