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Negotiating a House Using Seller's Agent

Bogleheads • View forum - Personal Finance (Not Investing) - www.bogleheads.org
We are looking to buy a house in a smaller town where the housing market is cold. The reason is new houses are being built in the town every day, which drives down the resale value of older houses. We found a house we like in a community with tons of young families like ourselves. The houses range in value from mid-200s through high 300s.

We are looking at the nicest, largest house in the community. It has a great layout and everything we want, including a 3 car garage, mudroom, finished basement, open layout, flat 1/2 acre backyard.

The house was built new in 2012 and sold for $355,000. Since then, the owners have finished the basement nicely, and also added a tiny back deck. I have researched market trends and comps sold in the last 3 years, and the value has not increased at all in this time.

However, the sellers listed the house on the market at a price of $409,900. We toured the house using their agent, and put an offer of $355,000 (same price they bought in 2012) A day later they countered us at $399,900. We think the house is way over valued for this community, so we did not counter with another offer right away.

Instead, we waited a month to see if their would be any other offers. Like we expected, no other offers were made.

Last week the sellers went around the agent's back to contact a mutual friend of ours, and said they were anxious for us to place another offer. The wife even said she was having trouble sleeping at night. A day after that, they dropped the sale price online to $394,900. We then waited a day and offered $362,000 including some furniture and exercise equipment they were most likely planning on leaving or selling.

The agent told us the seller seemed pissed at this offer, and did not counter us back. On top of this, our mutual friend let us know the sellers are not happy with the agent because he showed us 3 other properties at our suggestion. They even told our mutual friend they are thinking of taking their house of market to get rid of the agent. I think they are trying to sell directly to us not using the agent.

It is an interesting situation, but I feel the agent could do more to bridge the gap for everyone involved.

Any thoughts are appreciated.
Date: Jun 19, 2017   


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