If you’re a first-time homebuyer, you may be uncertain about how much you can negotiate the price of a home. Can you offer less than the asking price? How much less? What if the seller makes a counteroffer? Here’s a look at how much you can negotiate the price of a home, what other aspects of a sale you can negotiate, and what constitutes a reasonable offer.

Key Takeaways:


How To Decide on a Starting Offer

Whether you should make an offer above or below list price depends on market conditions and the house itself. If you’re in a buyer’s market, where supply exceeds demand, you have more leverage to negotiate because there’s less competition. If it’s a seller’s market, where demand exceeds supply, you’ll have less leverage because you’ll be competing with other bids for the seller’s approval.

“When negotiating, you want to find an intersection where both parties feel like they’ve won,” says Marisa Simonetti, a real estate investor with Simonetti Real Estate Team in Minneapolis. “People value different things in a transaction, and it’s important to listen to figure that out. Some people value selling quickly and are willing to take a lower price to accomplish that. Others are content to wait for a full-price offer. A reasonable offer is one that takes these factors into account.”

When should I offer more?

It makes sense to offer more than the asking price on a home when you’re in a seller’s market and expect competition from other buyers. If you have your heart set on a home and plan on living in it for a long time, you may decide paying more is worth it.

When can I offer less?

If it’s a buyer’s market and the home has been on the market for a while, a seller may accept an offer lower than the asking price. The same is true for a home that needs repairs or renovations.

What’s a reasonable offer?

It’s a delicate balance of making sure you get a good deal but aren’t wasting the seller’s time with an offer that’s too low. Here are some ranges to give you an idea of what constitutes a reasonable offer:

  • Less than 10% below asking price. The home is in decent condition but needs touch-ups and basic repairs. The hope is your offer is close enough to the asking price for the seller to accept.
  • Between 10% and 20% below asking price. If the home needs more extensive repairs, you may be able to offer 10% to 20% below the asking price. One way to convince the seller to accept such an offer is by figuring out what the necessary repairs will cost.
  • 20% below asking price. If the home is in poor condition and needs major repairs, you can try making an offer up to 20% below the asking price. This is a lowball offer, but if you’re lucky, the seller may consider it.

Reasonable Offer Chart

Reasonable OfferUnreasonable Offer
Listing Price5% Below10% Below15% Below20% Below25% Below30% Below
Check Out Our First-Time Homebuyers Guide

What Can You Negotiate Besides the Price?

If the seller won’t budge on the price, there are other aspects of a sale you can negotiate to save money.

Closing costs

Buyers typically pay their own closing costs, but you can ask the seller to pay some of your fees. Closing costs are the fees you must pay to fund your mortgage and transfer legal ownership of the home to your name. Expect them to cost 2% to 5% of the purchase price.


A contingency in real estate is a condition that must be met for a sale to close, such as a satisfactory inspection or minimum appraised value for the home. Waiving contingencies can make your offer more appealing to the seller, though doing so reduces your ability to back out of buying the home if something goes wrong. In a buyer’s market, you may be able to negotiate more contingencies and make it easier for you to cancel the sale.


If the home inspection reveals necessary repairs, you can ask the seller to make them before closing. For example, the roof might leak, or there might be water damage in the basement. If the seller is unwilling or unable to fix those problems before closing, you could ask them to cover the cost or reduce the sale price.

Home warranty

In a buyer’s market, you may get the seller to pay for a home warranty, which typically costs between $350 and $750. A home warranty is an insurance policy that pays for repairs to certain appliances and major systems, such as plumbing, electrical, heating, and cooling. A typical home warranty lasts a year and would protect you from paying for costly repairs right after you move in.

Closing date

Sometimes, timing is everything. If the seller needs to close the deal quickly — perhaps they are moving for a new job or maybe getting a divorce — offering to meet their deadline could encourage them to accept your bid. Alternatively, if you’re paying full price, you may be able to negotiate with the seller a closing timeline that suits your schedule.

Appliances or furniture

If the seller’s furniture or appliances caught your eye when you toured the home, you could ask the seller to include them in the sale. If you need to buy furniture or appliances anyway, or if the seller says they plan to get rid of the items you admire, you can save yourself the cost of buying a sofa or refrigerator.

Getting a Counteroffer

Don’t be surprised if the seller makes a counteroffer.

Suppose a home is listed for $500,000, and you offer $480,000 with contingencies. The seller counteroffers with a price of $490,000 and no contingencies. You could accept those terms or make a counteroffer of your own at $490,000 with contingencies. The seller might accept your counteroffer but could also turn you down. Even though the seller would be getting the same amount of money for the home if the deal goes through, they may prefer an offer without contingencies.

Know your financial limits and understand the risks you’re taking when waiving contingencies.

Tips for Negotiating the Price of a Home

Here are some tips on how to negotiate home prices as a buyer successfully.

Get a home inspection

A home inspection documents the condition of the home you’re buying. Without one, you run the risk of buying a home that’s unsafe or in need of expensive repairs. If the inspection report reveals unexpected problems with the home, you can ask the seller to make repairs or reduce the sale price to compensate. If they refuse and you have an inspection contingency in your purchase and sale agreement, you can cancel the deal and get back any earnest money you put down.

Communicate through your agent

Negotiation is one part of the buying process where you can lean on your real estate agent’s knowledge and experience. A good real estate agent or Realtor will be familiar with how much comparable homes have sold for recently and can advise you on which asks are reasonable and which might be too much. It’s best to rely on your agent to negotiate the deal with the seller or their agent for you.

FAQ: How Much Can You Negotiate the Price of a Home?

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about negotiating the price of a home.

Is it OK to offer 10% below asking price?

If a home needs some repairs or renovations, offering 10% below the asking price can be appropriate. This also can work if it’s a buyer’s market and the home has been on the market for a while without selling.

What is the lowest you should offer on a house?

An offer less than 20% below the asking price is generally considered unreasonable.

Can you counteroffer twice?

There is no limit to the number of counteroffers that can be made so long as both the buyer and seller are willing to negotiate. It’s also possible for either party to walk away.

The Bottom Line on Negotiating the Price of a Home

Your ability to negotiate the price of a home will depend on market conditions, the condition of the home, and the seller’s willingness to compromise. The part you can control is arming yourself with knowledge about the negotiation process and the home you want to buy. You also should use a real estate agent with experience negotiating sales. Remember, different aspects of the deal can be negotiated, so even if the seller doesn’t budge on price, you may be able to find other ways to save money on the deal.