The Ballad of House Buying: Part 5 – The Art of Negotiation

Negotiation isn’t the sharpest tool in my skillset. So after I had made the decision to make a move and try to buy the House with the Cute Backyard, I was a bit worried about the negotiation part of the process.

To not bore you with the details of the financials, (that are printed in the newspaper any way) it should be sufficient to note that I had a ceiling that I was willing to pay. I also had a goal of what I was hoping to pay. The gap between these numbers was about 5,000. The gap between the listing price and my goal was 13,000.

I talked to Lori on the phone on Monday, January 12. I gave her a starting number that was extremely lowball. I also asked for the window treatments and for them to update the electricity. I also asked that they pay the closing costs (which through this process I learned is little more than a shell game) and I asked for the receipts that were down in the basement that were from the original building of the house in 1950. To build this house in 1950 it cost less than 8,000. That number includes the labor.

Lori asked me what I wanted to put up for Ernest Money. I still don’t quite understand the concept of Ernest Money. I guess it is money you put up when you make an offer on a house to prove that you aren’t just dicking with them.

We agreed on 250 bucks and she began filling out the paperwork.

I had a full day of slaving a way at the Computer Mine, so when I got off work I went over to Lori’s house to sign my name to a document a bunch of times and initial it a ton more.

While we were going over the paperwork, Roger (Lori’s husband) made me a chocolate shake. It was quite excellent.

On Tuesday morning Lori submitted the offer.

I didn’t hear anything about it the rest of the day.

On Wednesday morning Lori called me with their counteroffer.

The good news, I could have the ugly window treatments. I could have photocopies of the original receipts. They would pay the closing costs. The price came down under the ceiling of what I was willing to pay, but not quite to my goal.

The bad news was that they weren’t willing to do anything about the electrical.

I had a full day of swinging a pick axe ahead of me, so I told Lori that I would mull things over and call her when I got off work to tell her what I was thinking.

That night I was meeting Kelly (from the Jaycees) at Cafe Diem to discuss setting up PayPal for the Ames Jaycees.

In between the work and this meeting I called Lori back with my counteroffer.

The number was a little lower than my goal and I asked for a thousand dollar allowance to get the electrical updated.

Lori submitted my counteroffer.

I had the meeting with Kelly and I think all that was decided at that meeting was that Cafe Diem makes an excellent Hot Chocolate.

I also decided that whatever their counteroffer was, I was going to take it.

The next day around noon, Lori called me back with their counteroffer. The price came down exactly to my goal and they agreed to the allowance for electricity.

I accepted the offer.

This meant that I had to sign and initial some more forms. I couldn’t do it that night. I was going over to Jen and Derrick’s new pad to help paint.

I went over there after work to admire the handiwork of Derrick and his old man. The night before I had dropped by for a tour of the place. Derrick and his dad were painting the master bedroom.

On that night there had been some debate over which wall would be the accent wall. It was one of those debates where Derrick (as the man) was engaging in for pride because he surely knew that the wall that Jen had picked was going to be the accent wall.

Regardless, Derrick was very excited about the paint on the accent wall. They had painted the rest of the walls a blue-gray color called Shade. They were painting the accent wall a brown color. Derrick was very excited about this paint because it included granite. This was going to make the wall sparkle.

I spent the night primering one of their secondary bedrooms with Shannon. The room was painted an Ogden Bulldog blue. I did take note that Shannon is very good at taping. A skill that will undoubtedly be put to use on my future painting projects (if everything came together on this house).

Lori came over at 8 in the morning the next day and I signed the offer sheet in my pajamas.

I had agreed to buy a house.

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