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For the majority of purchases you will make in your life, the transaction is relatively simple. You pay the asking price and everyone walks away happy. That’s not quite the case when it comes to real estate though. Purchasing a house can be a complicated process, and it’s important to negotiate to make sure you get the best deal possible.

Use an agent or broker.
Never try going it alone, as it will put you at a massive disadvantage. It’s your agent’s job to look out for you and make sure all your wishes and requests are heard, in addition to getting the deal signed in writing once everything has been ironed out.

Ensure you have the money you offered.
Once you’ve found a home and want to put in an offer, it’s important to remember that the offer is legally binding—so don’t offer up more than you can actually pay. This is why it’s so important to ensure that you know how much money you have to work with before you begin looking at houses. You also don’t want to offer way more than the property is actually worth, which is where your agent will come in handy to help you understand the market.

Consider how long it’s been on the market.
A newly listed home will likely have other offers and competition, so making a low offer could affect your chance at landing the property. But if the property has been on the market for some time, you have an advantage in that the offers have probably dried up. While this gives you the opportunity to make a lower offer without the risk, be sure to take your agent’s advice on the matter.

Learn all you can about real estate.
Studying up on all the real estate terms out there before you go into the buying process will put you at an advantage when it comes time to negotiate. Knowledge is definitely power when it comes to large financial deals like this, so learn everything you can in order to avoid ending up with regrets on move-in day.

Consider the counteroffer.
Once you put in an offer, it’s very likely that the owner will come back with a counteroffer. It’s up to you to either accept or reject the offer, or come back with your own counteroffer. It’s worth noting that these offers usually expire within a few days, so acting fast is in your benefit, especially since the seller can cancel the offer at any time.