7 Things Homebuyers Can and Should Haggle On

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Excited couple with the keys to their new home
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A home is usually the most expensive purchase someone will ever make in their lifetime. However, it’s also a great time to save money through negotiation.

Offering less than the asking price is just one of the ways to save money on a home.

Read on for other homebuying expenses that can be negotiated, too.

Mortgage rate

Mortgage rate
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Given that a home is the largest purchase most people will ever make, it’s crucial to shop around by getting mortgage rate quotes from multiple lenders. Interest rates as well as other loan costs (more of those next) can vary significantly from one lender to another. Even if the difference between two mortgage rates is less than 1 percentage point, choosing the lower of those two rates can save you thousands of dollars over the life of the loan.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau offers step-by-step instructions for comparing loan estimates from multiple lenders.

Another factor that affects the amount of interest you’ll pay over the life of a loan is the length of loan you choose. For example, a 30-year mortgage might have a lower monthly payment than a 15-year mortgage. However, choosing the 15-year term means you will pay off your home faster and sooner, and that will reduce the total amount of interest you pay in the long run.

Closing costs

Negotiating salary or a pay raise
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When you purchase a home, you’ll need funds for more than just your down payment. You likely will be responsible for closing costs, such as title insurance, appraisal fees and origination (lender) fees — which can amount to 1% to 2% of the total loan amount.

Rather than paying these fees out of your own pocket or adding them to the loan, consider asking the buyer to cover part or all of the closing costs. A motivated buyer might just offer to pay part or all of your closing costs.

Alternatively, your lender may be willing to budge on some closing costs or even waive some altogether. Talking with your lender during the loan process can help you understand what extra costs you might be responsible for. In fact, federal law requires lenders to give buyers a document known as a closing disclosure, which details closing costs and other aspects of a loan, three days before closing. But you can ask your lender to see your closing disclosure sooner, which will help you determine what closing costs your lender might be open to negotiating on.


Kitchen with stainless steel appliances
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Sometimes, kitchen or laundry appliances are not included in a home sale. Purchasing all new appliances can cost upwards of $5,000. So ask your real estate agent to speak with the sellers about including appliances that are already on site, or ask if the sellers would consider an allowance to purchase appliances. The buyer might come back with a lower purchase or even include funds to buy new appliances — such concessions are increasingly common in many housing markets lately.


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Love the four poster bed in the main bedroom or can’t live without the patio furniture? The seller might be willing to part with his or her furniture if it helps sell the home faster. Ask your agent if the furniture is included with a home. If it’s not, you can try to negotiate to have it included in the cost of the home, or you may be able to purchase the furniture for a fraction of its retail cost, saving the sellers the hassle of packing and moving. You’ll get to keep the pool lounger and more money in your pocket, too!

Needed repairs

inspecting home ductwork
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When buying an older home, getting an inspection prior to purchase can identify areas that need repair. Some of those repairs may need to be made prior to your lender approving your loan, which generally means the seller will have to cover those repair costs before you can purchase the home.

Your real estate agent and lender can assist in determining what must be repaired prior to closing, which will depend in part on whether the home is being sold as-is. But even if a repair isn’t required immediately, you still can negotiate on it, such as by asking the seller to give you a concession to cover the cost.

Closing date

June 30 circled in black ink on a calendar
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Before you sign on the dotted line, ask your lender how your closing date might affect the amount of interest you’ll that have to prepay at closing. Typically, mortgage payments are made in arrears and start at the beginning of the second month after closing. So you can save yourself some upfront interest costs just by closing on a different date.

Credit bureau Experian explains:

“When your first mortgage payment gets pushed further out — meaning closer to two months after closing than one — you’re not actually skipping a payment. You’re responsible for the loan’s interest and property taxes as soon as you close, so if your first payment is later, the interest must be prepaid and included in your closing costs.

So here’s the tradeoff: You can delay your first full mortgage payment, at the expense of paying higher closing costs — which may be preferable if you’re rolling closing costs into the loan. The timing of closing just dictates whether you’ll pay what’s owed a month after closing or at closing itself if your first mortgage payment won’t occur for two months.”

Moving expenses

Woman packing for a move
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Buying a home can be exciting and exhausting at the same time. Between buying boxes and packing tape and renting a truck, moving can be expensive, too. Make time to compare prices from different moving companies and don’t forget to ask for discounts. Asking for an extra day or what package deals they might have could save you hundreds of dollars on the move to your new home.

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