Don't: Present a laundry list of defects
One weapon in the buyers' negotiating arsenal is to write a long list of what's wrong with the house.
Big mistake, says Phipps. "You really do a disservice to your strategy."
"Sellers don't care why you're discounting the house," he says. They're looking at that bottom-line number. Include a roll call of defects and the question becomes, "Why do you want this place?"
The sellers will conclude that you and their house "are not a good match," Phipps says.
Instead, he recommends a kinder, gentler approach for buyers: Submit a list of comparables, your offer and a personal letter introducing yourself and why you want the house.
If major issues make the home worth less than its counterparts, mention two or three of them, keep the tone neutral and reference third-party empirical sources, Phipps says.
For instance, a buyer could say that in the 90 days the home has been on the market, three other neighborhood homes have sold. And while the reason for that is a mystery, the other homes all had updated kitchens, while this one "is original to 1975," he says.
If you're really making an offer, don't "dig down into what is wrong with the house," Phipps says.