When selling and  buying real estate, negotiations begin once a seller receives a written offer.

Since most everything is negotiable, the agents for the buyers and sellers go back and forth to obtain an accepted contract. While there might be a lot of verbal communication, what is in the written contract is what will bind all parties.

Here are some negotiable items:

Price. Sellers want the highest price and buyers want the best deal they can get. In our current seller’s market, some offers include escalating clauses, offering to beat all other offers by a certain dollar amount.

Closing date. While a fast closing date might be ideal, some sellers might prefer a flexible closing date that will allow them to find and close on the home that they are buying.

Closing costs. Some buyers might ask sellers to pay part of their closing costs up to an allowable amount by the lender (more prevalent in a buyer’s market with high inventory and low demand).

Financing contingencies. When the buyers are obtaining a mortgage, it usually takes about 25 days to get a loan commitment or underwriter approval. Sellers might look for cash or fully approved buyers.

Home warranty. A buyer can ask for a home warranty or a seller can offer one. Most are for one year and may cover HVAC, water heater, and all appliances including washer, dryer, plumbing and electric.

Leaseback. If the seller needs extra time to find a place to live after they sell their home, they might negotiate a rent back from the new buyer after closing (or a buyer may offer that upfront).

Home inspection. I do not think waiving an inspection is a good idea, but a buyer might limit the inspection to major items only and have it completed quickly (something most sellers will appreciate).

Appraisal contingency. In the current market where buyers are paying at or above list price, they may make their offer stronger by agreeing to pay the difference if the appraisal falls short of the sale price.

Association fees required at closing. Page 4 of the Contract For Sale, item 11, has a seller and  buyer box that, when checked, binds that party to pay for homeowner association required fees.

Larry Stoller is a broker and Realtor with Real Estate Five of the Lowcountry. Larry@RealEstateFive.com, RealEstateFive.com, SunCityOpenHouses247.com