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Don't get bullied by pushy sellers, brokers

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis August 1, 2013 08:31 AM

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OK, we are in a seller's market, so buyers have to be flexible.

But the flexibility should be in adjusting expectations, not becoming a doormat for pushy sellers and their pushy brokers. If you first-time buyer in the Boston area puling down a middle class salary, I can guarantee you are not going to find your dream home. It's not going to happen.
.
You may have to even buy a home that needs work or consider buying a condo instead of a single-family.

That said, you need to have some a clear set of boundaries and lines in the sand before you get caught up in the emotional swirl of house hunting and offers.

And the most important is price.

My wife Karen and I drew the line at $300,000 when we were housing hunting a decade ago, just as the bubble was heating up. It was based on our combined income at the time - around $110,000 - and expectation we would be having children and paying for day care.

It turned out to be a wise move - we wound up having three children, with day care bills that were equivalent to hiring someone full-time. And no, we didn't get gold-plated day care, it is just expensive here in the Boston area, just as everything else is.

Home prices have gone up, then down and now up again, but things haven't changed that much.

However, buyers are facing pressure now not just to blow their budget, but also to waive inspections or to pick up the tab for the closing costs of the sellers.

In a market dominated by older homes, waiving the inspection is particularly foolish.

On the comment board of this blog the other day, Bynxers offered this set of common sense suggestions of what never to do when looking for a house, no matter how desperate things seem.

I though they were great, so take a look.

Here's Bynxers:

Well it looks like I am going to be renting forever then because I:

1- Refuse to bid up on a home or get into any type of a bidding war. Especially if its over the asking price. If I make an offer and then am told another offer came in higher I'll say- "That's too bad... what a shame. Guess it wasnt the house for us."
2- No problem writing a letter, but talk is cheap. I can appeal to a person about my kids and dogs and family dreams all day, but if this is financing the purchase of their retirement home in Naples, FL, I doubt they could care less.
3- I will pay my closing costs, you pay yours. Thanks, bye.
4- NEVER waive your right to an inspection or contingencies. Caveat emptor.... If they spring that on you, assume something is seriously wrong with the house and you'd be putting on a new roof or installing new septic system in 3 mont
hs.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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