Ms. Lank: When we received a full-price offer on our home, it included a percentage reduction to assist with closing costs. Is the percentage negotiable? Because clearly we can't negotiate the purchase price offer. — C.S.
Answer: Your buyers are offering (in writing) to pay your full asking price but want you to pay some of the closing costs they'll have on the day they settle up buying your home.
Everything is negotiable. Yes, you can counteroffer (in writing), refusing to pay some or all of their costs. But if they don't accept that, understand that you can't go back and take their original offer. Once you counter, the previous offer is dead. You'd run the risk of losing these buyers altogether.
If you accept this offer, on the other hand, that's it; your house is off the market. And if all goes well, it's sold — subject to (depending on) whatever else they listed in their offer. Perhaps, for instance, they'll need to obtain a mortgage loan.
You're probably wrong when you say you can't negotiate the purchase price. Because they included that "but" in their offer, you might even be able to ask for a higher purchase price.
There's no right or wrong about whether you should negotiate. It depends on a lot of factors. How long has your home been on the market? Have other buyers shown interest? How did you price it in the first place? How badly do you need to sell? Are there other contingencies in the offer? Would these buyers be able to come up with the cash needed at closing?
At any rate, all you asked is whether you could counter about the closing costs. Yes, you may, but if you do, understand that you risk losing the deal completely.
Hi, Edith: I don't think the letter from R.L., which said, "Please send info on how to sell your home by yourself and not pay a commission," was asking about becoming a real estate agent. I think the reader just wanted to know how to sell his or her home without using an agent. — V
Answer: You're right, of course. Maybe I shouldn't have gone into all that detail, but I wanted to let R.L. know that I couldn't say how to do it in the simple email response that was wanted.
That's why I listed the elaborate, time-consuming study and tests my state requires before a beginning agent is allowed to assist a seller, and that my state license law says that can only be under the close, personal supervision of an experienced broker.
I advised the reader to consult a librarian and read a couple of books on the subject for the would-be fizbo (or FSBO, for sale by owner). I'm showing my age again. I probably should have just sent R.L. to the internet. It must be full of information and advice.
In answering a timeshare complaint, I pointed out that people with good timeshare experiences don't bother to write to me, and that brought this next email:
Dear Ms. Lank: My wife and I owned three timeshares, beginning with our first purchase in the late 1970s. The experience was positive in all respects. We joined the RCI network as a way to exchange our weeks, which we did at locations from Florida to Hawaii, and give weeks to our kids for their honeymoons.
We never considered them an investment. To us, they were an easier way to enjoy travel without the cost of resort hotels, or the worry and expense of owning a vacation cottage miles away.
Sadly, my wife and lifetime partner passed away seven years ago, and the ownership no longer held personal value. That plus the annual fees were getting unreasonable. There is no resale value, and I had no intention of paying someone to take them off my hands.
The solution? I simply surrendered the titles. Case closed at no cost. I first checked with my attorney to see if the action would hit my credit rating. Her answer was no.
Now, others may have contracts with provisions preventing that move, so anyone looking to get out from under timeshare ownership should have an attorney review the document before making the move. We enjoyed our timeshare ownership. They made perfect sense for us at the time. When that time came to a close, they were easily removed from my list of responsibilities. —D. P.
Answer: Thanks for telling us about your experience. Your legal solution may not work in all states or with all timeshares, though.
Contact Edith Lank at www.askedith.com, at [email protected] or at 240 Hemingway Drive, Rochester NY 14620.