The 7 Biggest Home Price Negotiation Blunders

Experts outline the top pitfalls for consumers to avoid when bidding down the price of a house.

House and money on scale
By + More

6. Offering a specific number. When extending an initial offer, present a range of figures—say, from $420,000 to $450,000—rather than a hard number. An offer of a specific number that is considered too low could upset the seller enough to derail the negotiations altogether, says Cohen. A price range, however, affords you more flexibility. "In negotiating, you don't want to adopt a position where you paint yourself into a corner," Cohen says. "Because the only way you can get out of the corner is to lose face and perhaps lose a few bucks."

7. Getting caught up in the game. Remember, your goal is to purchase a home—not beat the seller. "People often get so enmeshed in the negotiation game that they lose the house they like and could afford because they didn't get the negotiation price they thought they could get," says Daniel Shapiro, associate director of the Harvard Negotiation Project and coauthor of Beyond Reason: Using Emotions as You Negotiate. So what if the seller doesn't bring the price down as much as you had hoped? If you really like the house, the price has been reduced enough to fit your budget, and you've given the negotiation process your best shot, consider declaring victory. "I hear a lot of situations where real estate deals fail because one side or the other refuses to come down another $5,000," Brodow says. "They don't want to give in, and then it becomes an ego thing."