Be careful how you negotiate!

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Whenever you’re negotiating on a property, be careful to not alienate the other side. Sellers tend to avoid buyers who seem difficult to deal with. And if there are multiple offers on the table, this could easily move your offer to the bottom of the stack.

So you’ve found the perfect property and you’re ready to make an offer on it. The old saying, “It never hurts to ask,” doesn’t always apply. For example, you may love the current owner’s living room set and ask the seller to leave it in the property. Even if the seller is planning on throwing it out, they may not just throw it in with the home. I recommend negotiating on the home first and waiting to discuss the personal property until the contract is signed and the price is set in stone.

A “low ball” is rarely well received, even if a property has been on the market for a long time or you’re making a cash offer. There may be a reason behind the price the property is listed for. A one-sided offer will often yield a flat-out no from the sellers without even a counter offer back. Have a good reason for your low offer based on market-driven data. A seller will be more willing to negotiate and possibly see the light if you have the data to back you up.

What if your offer has been accepted but you’re no longer happy with the property or price? Don’t be too quick to use your home inspector’s findings against the seller. A leaky sink is not cause for a $1,000 price reduction. Remember, a home inspector’s job is to find every major and minor issue with the property. Some issues will need to be addressed immediately by the seller, but others will be improvements you’ll have to make after the sale. A home inspector may recommend a battery backup system on the sump pump, but that’s an improvement not a problem with the property, and it shouldn’t be used to renegotiate the contract. No home is free of flaws, not even brand new construction.

Your real estate broker can also hurt you in negotiating on a property as a result of an abrasive style and the reputation they develop because of it. Be sure to do plenty of research before hiring a real estate professional to represent you.

To contact me, call 847-292-4700, e-mail or visit

About Giuseppe Zerillo

Giuseppe Zerillo is the managing broker and owner of Zerillo Realty Inc. He is active on many boards, serving as village trustee of Harwood Heights and corporate secretary for Casa Italia. In 2011, he received the IANU Foundation's 2011 David Award for outstanding promise in the field of real estate, and in 2012 he was honored by the Illinois State Crime Commission for his community outreach. Constantly seeking opportunities to give back, he donates to several charities and raises money for children with disabilities.

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