How much to offer on new construction home

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boglengineer
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How much to offer on new construction home

Post by boglengineer » Tue Oct 30, 2018 2:20 pm

Hi,
We are in the process of buying our first home in high COL area and have found a house that appeals to us, but are trying to determine how much to offer. Here are the facts:
  • The house (house 1) is new construction in a new development, but was built in 2017.
  • It has been listed since Nov 2017 and originally was listed for $685K. Since then the basement was finished and the list price was increased to $700K, but it obviously has not sold.
  • The house is finished except for the flooring in the bedrooms, which is planned to be carpet, but the buyer can change and we want to to make them hardwood. Additionally, the house needs (at least we want) gutters installed, which all of the rest of the houses in development have.
  • There are some items on the spec sheet that were not included and at this point don't make sense to include and we are okay with that, but think they should be negotiation points. The two big ones are that the specs call for a 2-zone A/C and heat, and only 1-zone was installed. And there is supposed to be central vac, but there isn't.
  • There is one other house (house 2) that is completed in the neighborhood that came on the market in Jul 2018 at $710K. It dropped in the last week or so to $690K.
  • House 1 and house 2 were built by different builders, which would explain why one dropped the price and the other has not.
Our realtor has told us that builders are extremely difficult to negotiate with because they aren’t emotional and only care about the numbers. In her experience in the area, she has rarely seen a new construction house come down any more than $20K. So we don’t want to piss them off by coming in too low with an offer and I think there is some truth to that. She is a family friend so I trust that she is giving her honest input. But at the same time, I can’t help but feel that there are several reasons that we should offer low. We are headed into the winter season, where the real estate market is much slower. The house has been sitting on the market for a year now so the builder has already lost a good amount on the house by now. Personally, I also think the real estate market is starting to slow down, but our realtor doesn’t seem to think so (but her job is obviously tied to the market so she may not want to admit it). And although I would be okay with waiting further to make an offer, there are reasons to try and make an offer in the next month or so (mostly a SO who really likes the house and the timing of the end of our current lease).

Given this information, we are only interested in house 1, and I would like to pay no more than $680K for it including the hardwood floors and gutters. Our realtor is willing to put in whatever offer we want, but I wanted to get some outside opinions. My questions are:
  • Is $680K reasonable given that we have some asks (floors and gutters)?
  • If so, what should we start with as an offer? If this were an individual homeowner selling their house, I would feel more comfortable starting low, but not sure with a builder.
  • Have you had experience successfully negotiating on new construction homes?
  • Any other thoughts?
Thanks!

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8foot7
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Re: How much to offer on new construction home

Post by 8foot7 » Tue Oct 30, 2018 2:26 pm

680 is a reasonable offer.

Often builders will not come down even in inventory houses that have been finished for a long time so as not to tank the rest of the neighborhood they’re actively building in. They have to get appraisal support for their prices on future homes. The carrying cost for a builder for an empty house from month to month is much lower than you might think, especially if the builder is of size.

If this is the last house in the neighborhood and there is no other active construction, you can drive a harder bargain.

One other point: consider asking for more features rather than a bigger discount. Most builders would rather put in a patio or a porch or hardwoods at their cost than discount the cash price of a house.

randomguy
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Re: How much to offer on new construction home

Post by randomguy » Tue Oct 30, 2018 2:37 pm

8foot7 wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 2:26 pm

One other point: consider asking for more features rather than a bigger discount. Most builders would rather put in a patio or a porch or hardwoods at their cost than discount the cash price of a house.
That was my experience. Dropping the price 30k looks bad. Adding 30k of improvements is doable.

I would thibk about 2 zone AC. Depending on the floor plan and usage it can be pretty nice.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: How much to offer on new construction home

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Tue Oct 30, 2018 2:52 pm

If builders are not emotional and only care about the numbers, why would you be afraid of pissing them off? They'll see a number, decide if the profit works and say yes or no. You can always make another number.

Real estate agents tell lies all the time because it gets them more money. $20k is a big drop on this house? Let me laugh a little.
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CurlyDave
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Re: How much to offer on new construction home

Post by CurlyDave » Tue Oct 30, 2018 2:54 pm

randomguy wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 2:37 pm

I would thibk about 2 zone AC. Depending on the floor plan and usage it can be pretty nice.
The more AC (and heat) zones the better. DW and I have an office where we both have desks, computers, etc. The constant electric load is only a few hundred watts, but that makes the office run warm and the bedroom on the same zone is always cold. To the point where we have to use an electric heater if anyone is in it.

noco-hawkeye
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Re: How much to offer on new construction home

Post by noco-hawkeye » Tue Oct 30, 2018 3:00 pm

My rule - If your first offer is accepted, then you offered too much. I would not blink an eye at 675 at everything on the list including fixing the 2 zone AC stuff, at least to get things started.

boglengineer
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Re: How much to offer on new construction home

Post by boglengineer » Tue Oct 30, 2018 3:03 pm

randomguy wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 2:37 pm
8foot7 wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 2:26 pm

One other point: consider asking for more features rather than a bigger discount. Most builders would rather put in a patio or a porch or hardwoods at their cost than discount the cash price of a house.
That was my experience. Dropping the price 30k looks bad. Adding 30k of improvements is doable.

I would thibk about 2 zone AC. Depending on the floor plan and usage it can be pretty nice.
Thank you for the input. It is very aligned with what our realtor has told us and it is definitely not the last house in the division. The others have sold from $670 at the beginning of the year to $720 towards the end of the summer. Our strategy is to ask for everything to be done: HW floors, gutters, 2-zone heat and A/C, and central vac and see what they come back with. There are a few other small asks we will add to the list, but they aren’t quite as big as the others. Is it easy to convert a forced air system from 1-zone to 2-zone? I imagined it would be a lot of work, but I don’t really know because that one we would like if it was doable. In terms of price, what should we start with, $670? $675? $680. I really would not like to exceed $680. My gut says $670.
If builders are not emotional and only care about the numbers, why would you be afraid of pissing them off? They'll see a number, decide if the profit works and say yes or no. You can always make another number.

Real estate agents tell lies all the time because it gets them more money. $20k is a big drop on this house? Let me laugh a little.
This was definitely my original sentiment, but I have no experience in buying a home. Given the fact that the builder has gone 1 year without dropping the price makes me believe that they are irrational. I would think that tying up ~$700K for a year has already cost them more than $20K so I don’t really know what to expect. Hence asking here to see what other people’s experiences are.

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8foot7
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Re: How much to offer on new construction home

Post by 8foot7 » Tue Oct 30, 2018 3:08 pm

boglengineer wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 3:03 pm
randomguy wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 2:37 pm
8foot7 wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 2:26 pm

One other point: consider asking for more features rather than a bigger discount. Most builders would rather put in a patio or a porch or hardwoods at their cost than discount the cash price of a house.
That was my experience. Dropping the price 30k looks bad. Adding 30k of improvements is doable.

I would thibk about 2 zone AC. Depending on the floor plan and usage it can be pretty nice.
Thank you for the input. It is very aligned with what our realtor has told us and it is definitely not the last house in the division. The others have sold from $670 at the beginning of the year to $720 towards the end of the summer. Our strategy is to ask for everything to be done: HW floors, gutters, 2-zone heat and A/C, and central vac and see what they come back with. There are a few other small asks we will add to the list, but they aren’t quite as big as the others. Is it easy to convert a forced air system from 1-zone to 2-zone? I imagined it would be a lot of work, but I don’t really know because that one we would like if it was doable. In terms of price, what should we start with, $670? $675? $680. I really would not like to exceed $680. My gut says $670.
randomguy wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 2:37 pm
8foot7 wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 2:26 pm

One other point: consider asking for more features rather than a bigger discount. Most builders would rather put in a patio or a porch or hardwoods at their cost than discount the cash price of a house.
That was my experience. Dropping the price 30k looks bad. Adding 30k of improvements is doable.

I would thibk about 2 zone AC. Depending on the floor plan and usage it can be pretty nice.
This was definitely my original sentiment, but I have no experience in buying a home. Given the fact that the builder has gone 1 year without dropping the price makes me believe that they are irrational. I would think that tying up ~$700K for a year has already cost them more than $20K so I don’t really know what to expect. Hence asking here to see what other people’s experiences are.
A key to remember; they aren’t tying up $700k. They’ve already paid for labor most likely out of their working capital and the materials cost of your home to them is probably 250-300.
A price concession to you is one they’ll most likely have to make on the remainder of the homes in the neighborhood, which can easily dwarf a bit of interest or tie up of working capital.

Thegame14
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Re: How much to offer on new construction home

Post by Thegame14 » Tue Oct 30, 2018 3:13 pm

are you currently renting? how much do you have to a down payment? We? I assume that means you and your spouse.. Ages? incomes? retirement savings? plan for kids in the future?

Can you keep renting? I am not sure which HCOL area you are talking about, but news today said SoCal market is starting to take a hit.

boglengineer
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Re: How much to offer on new construction home

Post by boglengineer » Tue Oct 30, 2018 3:14 pm

8foot7 wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 3:08 pm

A key to remember; they aren’t tying up $700k. They’ve already paid for labor most likely out of their working capital and the materials cost of your home to them is probably 250-300.
A price concession to you is one they’ll most likely have to make on the remainder of the homes in the neighborhood, which can easily dwarf a bit of interest or tie up of working capital.
That is a good point that I hadn't thought of. But I'm proposing to start with an offer of the same price as the cheapest/first several homes sold for. But it would be $30K less than asking but I would settle for $10K higher than this.

JediMisty
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Re: How much to offer on new construction home

Post by JediMisty » Tue Oct 30, 2018 3:17 pm

It is a truism that buliders are less likely to drop the price than throw in upgrades, even costly ones. Check your comps carefully and make an offer you're comfortable with. Be prepared to walk away if you can't get a reasonable price, though. They can often afford to carry a house longer than an individual does. That said, since they're not emotional, you're unlikely to piss them off. And who knows, they might approach you later if the house is still not sold. BTW, depending on your state, you might have the right to go month to month after your initial lease expires. Knowing where you stand takes some pressure off to buy.

boglengineer
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Re: How much to offer on new construction home

Post by boglengineer » Tue Oct 30, 2018 3:24 pm

Thegame14 wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 3:13 pm
are you currently renting? how much do you have to a down payment? We? I assume that means you and your spouse.. Ages? incomes? retirement savings? plan for kids in the future?

Can you keep renting? I am not sure which HCOL area you are talking about, but news today said SoCal market is starting to take a hit.
Yes, currently renting and can keep renting - our lease technically converts to month to month. I'd rather focus this on the actual offer than on the affordability of the house, which I think is affordable by most Boglehead standards. But, I will say that we do have 2 kids, the first of who will be starting school next year, so we are interested in settling down for that.

randomguy
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Re: How much to offer on new construction home

Post by randomguy » Tue Oct 30, 2018 3:31 pm

boglengineer wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 3:03 pm


Thank you for the input. It is very aligned with what our realtor has told us and it is definitely not the last house in the division. The others have sold from $670 at the beginning of the year to $720 towards the end of the summer. Our strategy is to ask for everything to be done: HW floors, gutters, 2-zone heat and A/C, and central vac and see what they come back with. There are a few other small asks we will add to the list, but they aren’t quite as big as the others. Is it easy to convert a forced air system from 1-zone to 2-zone? I imagined it would be a lot of work, but I don’t really know because that one we would like if it was doable. In terms of price, what should we start with, $670? $675? $680. I really would not like to exceed $680. My gut says $670.
When we had it done, they added some controlled dampers to adjust the air flow and added a new control box. It was a couple thousand dollar job. Our duct work was in an pretty easy to access attic.

Honestly you can offer anything and you will learn quickly if they will discount. They aren't going to be offended or not deal with you if you offer 650k. They will just go we are too far apart. Homeowners on the other hand can be emotional and just refuse to deal with you. There is no real way of knowing if they want to get rid of the house ASAP and will take 670 to move on or if they are going to hold out til the end and get their 700k.

staythecourse
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Re: How much to offer on new construction home

Post by staythecourse » Tue Oct 30, 2018 3:34 pm

The facts are the facts. The house has been available for x amount the last year and has not sold. It is true builders are not emotional, but that means they don't get offended either. They know (should know) the surrounding market dynamics and their own carrying costs of not selling and how it affects their flow of money to do more projects if this one is not sold.

My suggestion, is throw out a number that you feel is reasonable and COMFORTABLE with. The worst thing that happens is they say no so who cares. They are not your friends or your family.

Good luck.
"The stock market [fluctuation], therefore, is noise. A giant distraction from the business of investing.” | -Jack Bogle

Thegame14
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Re: How much to offer on new construction home

Post by Thegame14 » Tue Oct 30, 2018 3:51 pm

Also I think 2 zone heat and AC should be a big negotiation point, if you wanted to switch now from one zone to 2. What would that cost? same with having a central Vac installed. They should without question lower the price by those two amounts. Plus a house sitting on the market for a year is a bad sign, it means they are far too overpriced. I think offering them $30K less is generous. I'd be looking to offer them 10-15% below asking and seeing what they come back with. Interest rates are rising and going to keep rising, housing prices are going to level and likely come down in most areas, ESPECIALLY HCOL like California, New York etc... unless you have a crazy area where housing cant keep up like Seattle, I think waiting will be in your favor. You can always get a lower interest rate loan if rates come down later, you only get one chance to negotiate a purchase price. If we really are headed for a recession, it is likely to be due to rising interest rates, that slows down the housing market and economy, we then have a market correction, and then likely lower interest rates to help boost the economy back up. So if you time it right and buy when prices fall then you can re-do your loan when a recession comes and rates fall again, you could come out ahead.

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Watty
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Re: How much to offer on new construction home

Post by Watty » Tue Oct 30, 2018 3:53 pm

boglengineer wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 2:20 pm
Additionally, the house needs (at least we want) gutters installed, which all of the rest of the houses in development have.
It seems absurd that a $700K home would not have gutters. I would be very concerned that the builder cut a lot of other corners that you cannot see. They also skimped on the HVAC system and vacuum.

I would be concerned that the house might have had a prior buyer that backed out because they found out that the house has a problem.

Even in a new subdivision like that houses will frequently come up for sale because people have changes in their situation. If you like that subdivision you can just wait for some other house to come on the market.
boglengineer wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 2:20 pm
The house has been sitting on the market for a year now so the builder has already lost a good amount on the house by now.


If your local housing market is still going up then they may have actually gained a lot by holding the house for a year. I think my local market is up around 8% and we are not in a real hot area.

Bacchus01
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Re: How much to offer on new construction home

Post by Bacchus01 » Tue Oct 30, 2018 5:01 pm

Get a new realtor. Any realtor that tells you that is milking every penny of commission

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sergeant
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Re: How much to offer on new construction home

Post by sergeant » Tue Oct 30, 2018 5:15 pm

It's business not personal. Make the offer that you're comfortable with and get the extras you want thrown in. This is a slow time of year for new homes, loan rates have increased, and some prior hot markets are cooling. You're in the driver's seat. You would have gotten a better deal not showing up with an agent. Builder has to pay her commission now.
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Atilla
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Re: How much to offer on new construction home

Post by Atilla » Tue Oct 30, 2018 5:20 pm

"You would have gotten a better deal not showing up with an agent. Builder has to pay her commission now."

Yep. :moneybag Think of it as a huge front load fee you have to pay.
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boglengineer
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Re: How much to offer on new construction home

Post by boglengineer » Tue Oct 30, 2018 5:23 pm

Atilla wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 5:20 pm
"You would have gotten a better deal not showing up with an agent. Builder has to pay her commission now."

Yep. :moneybag Think of it as a huge front load fee you have to pay.
Although I know it’s true and my in-laws did suggest it, this is our first home purchase and we didn’t really know what we were doing so we opted for the hand holding.

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Re: How much to offer on new construction home

Post by carolinaman » Wed Oct 31, 2018 9:00 am

8foot7 wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 2:26 pm
680 is a reasonable offer.

Often builders will not come down even in inventory houses that have been finished for a long time so as not to tank the rest of the neighborhood they’re actively building in. They have to get appraisal support for their prices on future homes. The carrying cost for a builder for an empty house from month to month is much lower than you might think, especially if the builder is of size.

If this is the last house in the neighborhood and there is no other active construction, you can drive a harder bargain.

One other point: consider asking for more features rather than a bigger discount. Most builders would rather put in a patio or a porch or hardwoods at their cost than discount the cash price of a house.
+1. I saw this play out with a high end development in our neighborhood after the great recession occurred in 2008. It was a small development of 30 homes and about 20 were built and sold before recession. The builder slowed down building remaining homes and stubbornly kept price in same range, which was good for those who had already bought homes.

I think negotiating for add ons that are desirable for you and that add to value of property is your best strategy.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: How much to offer on new construction home

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Wed Oct 31, 2018 9:08 am

Don’t be afraid to offer low. Not a new house, but my house was listed originally for $380k. We offered $225k and agreed to $226.5k. Yes, the numbers are correct.
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daheld
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Re: How much to offer on new construction home

Post by daheld » Wed Oct 31, 2018 9:13 am

Watty wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 3:53 pm
boglengineer wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 2:20 pm
Additionally, the house needs (at least we want) gutters installed, which all of the rest of the houses in development have.
It seems absurd that a $700K home would not have gutters. I would be very concerned that the builder cut a lot of other corners that you cannot see. They also skimped on the HVAC system and vacuum.

I would be concerned that the house might have had a prior buyer that backed out because they found out that the house has a problem.

Even in a new subdivision like that houses will frequently come up for sale because people have changes in their situation. If you like that subdivision you can just wait for some other house to come on the market.
boglengineer wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 2:20 pm
The house has been sitting on the market for a year now so the builder has already lost a good amount on the house by now.


If your local housing market is still going up then they may have actually gained a lot by holding the house for a year. I think my local market is up around 8% and we are not in a real hot area.
This. I would run far, far away. My personal opinion that modern homes are generally not built to a high enough standard to take the risk of buying new. I firmly believe buying a home that was built a few decades ago is a less risky proposition, so long as it's properly and thoroughly inspected, as any home should be. The fact that someone would build a $700,000 home and let it sit for an entire year without gutters is an insanely bright flashing red warning light.

I also can't square your comment in the original post that builders are not emotional, but you're worried about offending them. If the former statement is true, offer $650,000 and go from there. Do you really think someone running a business would be so offended as to walk away immediately from a buyer who's interested in a property that's been sitting gutterless and empty for a whole year?

carguyny
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Re: How much to offer on new construction home

Post by carguyny » Wed Oct 31, 2018 9:21 am

With no gutters, I would expect some foundation damage or flood damage. All the rainwater is running off the roof and sitting in the foundation. We had one storm where our basement flooded due to gutters needing a cleaning. This was the one and only time it happened despite multiple hurricanes. I would move on and find someone who takes pride in their projects being top quality not cheap.

Our house was built new 9 years ago, we've painted the exterior once and spent maybe $3k to $4k on other repairs for a multi-million dollar property since it was new. Quality construction matters.

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Re: How much to offer on new construction home

Post by Filetmerlot » Wed Oct 31, 2018 10:12 am

Our experience when buying a house that was new was pretty good. We purchased our home in April 2008 right after the housing bubble burst. There were 8 houses in our neighborhood and we were the third one to purchase from the builder. The first person that bought closed right before the bubble burst so he paid full price. The 2nd family and then us received significant discounts. The houses were originally listed around 550-600 pre crash, but we ended up offering 370 and settling on 390. Through conversations with the neighbors that moved in later, the houses that were finished later that year the builder started nickel and diming everything so they paid a little more.

The builder didn't really lose anything on the deal. The land for the development he excavated as a gravel pit for a couple years before he built the houses and he got all of his money back that way. The houses were gravy. So if the builder already made his money you may not have anything to lose with a lowball offer.

Bacchus01
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Re: How much to offer on new construction home

Post by Bacchus01 » Wed Oct 31, 2018 11:26 am

Another story.

We bought some land about 2 years ago. They were asking $325K. I offered $145K. The realtor was pretty mad. Then I found out the realtor was related to the people selling the property, who had inherited it due to the death of their brother. I almost lowered the price.

The realtor told me it was insulting and they had another offer already for $225K. I told them they should take it as that's above market. I'm not about to overpay for an investment. This is business, not personal.

A week later they called me back and we settled for $160K.

Know what the market is. Don't low-ball just to low-ball, but check what others are going for. Is it fairly priced? If not, discount. If it is, take it.

boglengineer
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Re: How much to offer on new construction home

Post by boglengineer » Thu Nov 08, 2018 2:55 pm

Hi All,

As an update, we ended up offering $668K for the house with our request list and just heard back. The builder countered with agreeing to put in the hardwood floors and gutters, but at the list price of $700K. It also says that the 2-zone A/C-heating is actually installed.

Given that our big 3 asks (floors, gutters, 2-zone, we didn't care about central vac) were addressed, in my mind it really comes down to price. Any advice for how to respond? I still think $680K is what I would want to pay and maybe an absolute max of $690K (still undecided if I am willing to go that high). Also as an update, the other house in the neighborhood (from a different builder) that dropped from $710K to $690K is now pending.

I know some of you suggested asking for other features. There's not much else I can think of aside from possibly a fence and a patio. But those don't cost that much.

Thanks!

Nowizard
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Re: How much to offer on new construction home

Post by Nowizard » Thu Nov 08, 2018 3:12 pm

In a similar situation, we asked for a variety of smaller items and gave the builder his asking price. Some things that are smaller but ones you might want or benefit from having are: towel and tub racks (installed), a couple of power vents in the attic to release heat, ceiling molding upstairs since it is often left out, a fridge or some extra sod. We received these items plus an irrigation system for a home that had been on the market a number of months in a subdivision where others were selling more rapidly. He was nearly the exclusive builder in the subdivision and did not want to lower his price.


Tim

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mrspock
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Re: How much to offer on new construction home

Post by mrspock » Thu Nov 08, 2018 3:25 pm

boglengineer wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 2:20 pm
Our realtor has told us that builders are extremely difficult to negotiate with because they aren’t emotional and only care about the numbers.
I’d point out to this agent that you are the same, and offer a stone cold fair price. I purchased my home from a builder and negotiated it down by about 6% (granted this was a few years back), and got some options thrown in. I’m always careful never to use an agent when buying new as well, not having them pay a “buyers fee” to an agent helps give them more room negotiations.

In some sense, fact builders only care about the numbers is actually a huge advantage, they aren’t going to be clinging to a price because it’s grandmas house or some other nonsense. Come up with a fair number based on the market and away you go.

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Watty
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Re: How much to offer on new construction home

Post by Watty » Thu Nov 08, 2018 5:25 pm

boglengineer wrote:
Thu Nov 08, 2018 2:55 pm
I still think $680K is what I would want to pay and maybe an absolute max of $690K (still undecided if I am willing to go that high).
What to do next really depends on your local market so there is no way that you will get good advice on a board like this.

I would just take a hard look at what else you could buy in the same price range to see if anything new has come on the market or there have been price reductions.

Even though it is new construction and may have a warranty you should still get the house inspected.

One thing to keep in mind that there is no good way to predict what interest rates will be six months from now. They have already gone up a lot and they could go up more. This might not be a good time to be greedy.

All that said, $680k sounds obvious next offer if you would be happy with that price.

Do make sure that the additions they agreed to are in future offers paperwork. This should include very specific details about floors and gutters.

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Re: How much to offer on new construction home

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Thu Nov 08, 2018 5:33 pm

Tell them "thank you for adding those things we want......$500k". :D
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pshonore
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Joined: Sun Jun 28, 2009 2:21 pm

Re: How much to offer on new construction home

Post by pshonore » Thu Nov 08, 2018 5:35 pm

Watty wrote:
Thu Nov 08, 2018 5:25 pm
boglengineer wrote:
Thu Nov 08, 2018 2:55 pm
I still think $680K is what I would want to pay and maybe an absolute max of $690K (still undecided if I am willing to go that high).
What to do next really depends on your local market so there is no way that you will get good advice on a board like this.

Thats very true. You have to know local "customs". When I sold RE several years back, it was considered bad form to offer less than full price on new construction. Builders would usually just reject the contract and not counter. Some didn't like that but that's the way the game was played. And forget about not using an agent. Most builders list in MLS (at least in my area). And commission on new construction was 4% not 6%. Its not like buying an existing house. Someone's got to answer questions and explain the process and do some hand holding. I sold a lot of new construction and thoroughly enjoyed it.

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