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How do you talk a property seller down in price?

When you find a great piece of property to buy, it can be downright painful to realize that a buyer is asking too much. Sometimes, a seller is just being unreasonable -- other times, they're simply optimistic. Either way, you shouldn't walk away without trying to negotiate a more respectable figure.

Here are some tips that can help you do it:

  1. Don't get emotional. You want the seller to work with you, not get offended and dig in their heels. Don't attack the seller's mindset or sensibilities. Instead, come in with objective market data and ask the seller if they'll work with you to establish a price that fits the facts.
  2. Have money ready. Showing up with a hefty deposit check that you're willing to hand over can often overcome a seller's objection to a lower price. Money in hand tells the buyer you're a sure thing -- and that's often more attractive than waiting around for someone else to pay their price.
  3. Consider paying cash. If you have the money to do it, cash talks -- quite loudly. If you can make a cash deal for the property, the seller may jump at the offer knowing that they won't have to worry about financing contingencies, questions from the bank about values and so on. If the seller is motivated, this could easily get them to take a lower price.
  4. Wait it out. If a seller is being stubborn, focus on facts and make a competitive offer -- even if you know they're likely to refuse. Recognize that they're hoping for something that may never come. There's nothing wrong with coming back around in a month (or several months in a row) and repeating the offer if the property remains unsold.

Just make sure that you have some solid legal assistance when it comes time to handle the real estate transaction. Whatever you pay for a piece of property, you want to make certain that there are no barriers to a clear transition of ownership.

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