4 Ways to Get Creative When a Real Estate Deal Breaks Down

By Brendon DeSimon

SEATTLE (Zillow) — Real estate buyers and sellers often come close to making a deal — but something stands in their way. Multiple offers and counters fly back and forth over the course of several weeks. Maybe the buyer and seller are just a few thousand dollars apart on price. There could be one sticking point neither is able to get past.

When this happens, it’s time to get creative. Here are some ways buyers and sellers can close a stalled real estate deal.

The seller offers to pay HOA dues

A buyer considering the purchase of a condo or a home where there are monthly assessments (or dues) may have trouble swallowing those costs in addition to the monthly mortgage payment. But when buyer and seller are off by only a few thousand dollars, reducing the home’s price won’t do much for the buyer in the long run. For example, a $15,000 price reduction amortized over 30 years would end up saving the buyer just a few dollars per month.

Instead, a smart agent will suggest the seller pays the homeowners association for a year’s worth of dues. This could save the buyer, say, $500 per month. Although that’s a lot less than a $15,000 price cut, it would go a long way toward helping the buyer afford the total monthly expenses.

The seller pays the property taxes

Nobody enjoys paying property taxes, especially when they’re due in April, the same time as state and federal income taxes. If a buyer and seller are off on price, the seller can offer to pre-pay the property taxes, thus removing the burden from the buyer at a time when every penny really counts.

The buyer offers the seller a rent-back

Does the seller need more time in the home, but all parties want to move the deal along instead of doing a three-month escrow? Frequently, the solution is that the buyer allows the seller to stay in the home after the close of escrow for a pre-determined time. In return, the seller pays the buyer a pre-determined “rent.” This generally is the buyer’s monthly mortgage prorated for the amount of time the seller stays behind.