Negotiating for a house is a bit like a game of control. The one with the advantage will win the deal. There are many factors in the buying of a house, so you may win one game and lose another, in the end the one who has won the most games wins the match.
Although you might not realize this, the first part of the negotiating will probably be to your disadvantage. The person selling the house will know you are interested if you ask about the price, this automatically places you at a disadvantage. If you are making an offer, you are interested in buying; there is no doubt about that.
There is however, still a lot to be done when buying a house, so you can always recuperate your disadvantage. It will take months to define all the mortgage transactions so there is still time before the transaction is closed. There will be appraisals, home inspections to go through with before the price is decided on.
During this time the person who is selling you the house is also looking for another, or has even found one already. Chances are, he or she has already put a down payment for the house and is waiting for you to buy. This will put you at an advantage this time, for the owner of the house is eager to sell now, for he or she has organized the necessary issues to start moving. This is where you should start negotiating for a better price.
How to distinguish a motivated seller from one who does not really care to sell
When dealing with the seller, try and decide whether he is faking a nonchalant attitude, or whether he really is not convinced he should sell. This will avoid wasting time, for you cannot negotiate with someone who is not ready to do so. Be prepared to let go of the house you wished to buy. It is not worth paying the full amount a seller asks for, however much you like the house. If you cannot negotiate with the seller, because he is not well disposed, then do not, let the house go, there is always another perfect house somewhere else.
If the price you have reached is not a good deal, do not accept it and leave it for someone else. You never know, the seller may be contacting you a few weeks later and accept your offer. You have to take the risk if you want to negotiate good prices. When you do abandon the negotiations, let the seller understand that you like his house and that although the house is probably worth the money, you just do not have it.
Another strategy is to offer a price that is higher than you are actually prepared to pay, this will get the seller listening. Then let him know that if you do buy, he will have to take care of some major reparations, such as roof repair, flooring, plumbing system, add anything that comes into mind. This will allow you more area for negotiation.