Buyers "are more focused on negotiating, drawing limits in their mind and focusing on the strategy," says Justin Knoll, president of the Denver Board of Realtors.
Some of it is a point of pride, he says. "They want to tell their friends and family that they really got a smokin' deal."
They "want value," says Alice Walker, president of the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors. "They are very picky. They're just a lot more critical. They are not going to settle because they know they don't have to."
Her advice to sellers: Repair, update, clean and stage. "You have got to remove every obstacle possible for the buyers," Walker says.
The more-for-less approach even holds when buyers consider bank-owned properties, says Joan Pratt, real estate broker, Re/Max Professionals in Castle Pines, Colo. "They want the short sales and the foreclosures and they want them to look like they're owner-occupied," she says. "They don't want to paint. They don't want to put carpet in. They don't want to clean."
And they're surprised when they don't find it, Pratt says.