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Bargaining Power is Back; 92% of Recent Sellers Accepted Buyer-Friendly Terms

August 30 2022

Home sellers are once again making repairs and accepting contingencies as we move toward a more balanced housing market

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Aug. 30, 2022 -- The days of frenzied sales with waived inspections might be behind us, as buyers regain a bit of bargaining power. According to a new Realtor.com® survey, 92% of people who sold their home within the last year accepted some buyer-friendly terms and 41% accepted some contingencies in the contract. Additionally, among those surveyed, the number of buyers asking for repairs based on the inspection results more than doubled in recent months and the number of sellers refusing to make repairs dropped to zero. Whether it be financing, timing, repairs or flexibility, the art of negotiation is returning to the housing market.

Realtor.com® surveyed 449 people who sold their home within the last 12 months. To highlight the shifting market, responses were collected based on how long ago the home sold.

"Our survey shows that the overheated housing market of the past two years, which predominantly favored sellers, is beginning to regain a sense of normalcy, which is welcome news for home buyers," said George Ratiu, manager of economic research, Realtor.com®. "The combination of higher mortgage rates and prices have noticeably cooled demand over the first half of the year. In addition, as more homeowners have been listing their properties, rising inventory is motivating more of them to resort to price cuts in order to successfully close transactions. At the same time, even as we are seeing a shift toward a more buyer-friendly market, it's worth noting that the majority of recent sellers are still satisfied with the outcome of their home sale."

Room for negotiation

Despite the extremely competitive housing market of the past several years, the survey suggests that negotiation is back on the table – for both price and contract terms. Homes that sold at- or above-asking price peaked at 82% in Feb. and March of 2022 when mortgage rates were below 4% and dropped to 69% for homes that sold within the last month when rates hovered near 6%. By contrast, the share of sellers who sold below-asking jumped from 18% in Feb. and March 2022 to 31% for those sold within the last month.

Additionally, 92% of all recent sellers accepted some buyer-friendly terms. Those included:

  • 41% Accepted some contingencies in the contract (appraisal, home inspection, home sale, financing, etc.)
  • 32% Dropped the price because the home didn't meet appraisal
  • 32% Paid for some or all of the buyer's closing costs
  • 30% Had to be flexible on the ideal timeline for closing
  • 29% Paid for repairs to the home after the appraisal
  • 28% Were not able to rent the home back after close despite asking to

Inspections and repairs make a comeback

A professional home inspection is always a good idea for homebuyers, but during the housing market's peak, many buyers waived this important step in order to be competitive with their offer. Of those who sold within the last month, 95% reported that the buyer requested a home inspection, up from 82% of those who sold 6-12 months ago. More than twice as many buyers of homes that sold in the last month asked for repairs as a result of the home inspection (67%) compared to homes that sold 6-12 months ago (31%). The number of surveyed sellers who refused to pay for any repairs during that time dropped from 8% to zero.

Nearly all respondents (95%) who sold their home in the last month made some updates or repairs to the property prior to listing, compared to 71% who sold 6-12 months ago. The average amount that recent sellers spent on repairs prior to listing was $14,163.

Not all bad news for sellers

Despite the shifting market, homes are continuing to sell quickly. In fact, 22% of people who sold within the past month said that their home went under contract in less than a week. This is up from 14% of people who sold 6-12 months ago. Additionally, 92% of people who sold their home in the past month were satisfied with the overall outcome of their home sale, down slightly from the 98% who were satisfied 6-12 months ago. Nearly half (46%) of sellers in the last month were satisfied with the price of their home sale, compared to 72% of those who sold 6-12 months ago.

Changing needs motivate sellers

After two years of the pandemic, sellers' needs have changed, prompting a search for another home. Of those who sold within the last year:

  • 31% were looking for different amenities/features
  • 29% found that the home no longer met the needs of their families
  • 26% needed a home office for remote work
  • 23% wanted to live closer to family and friends
  • 20% felt they bought their home in a hurry/panic and decided it was not the right home for them
  • 17% no longer needed to live near an office

Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States from Aug. 9-12 among 3,001 adults, of which 449 had sold their home in the last 12 months. The sampling margin of error of this poll is plus or minus 1.8 percentage points. The results reflect a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults. Results were weighted for age by gender, region, race/ethnicity, and income where necessary to align them with their actual proportions in the population.

About Realtor.com®

Realtor.com® is an open real estate marketplace built for everyone. Realtor.com® pioneered the world of digital real estate more than 25 years ago. Today, through its website and mobile apps, Realtor.com® is a trusted guide for consumers, empowering more people to find their way home by breaking down barriers, helping them make the right connections, and creating confidence through expert insights and guidance. For professionals, Realtor.com® is a trusted partner for business growth, offering consumer connections and branding solutions that help them succeed in today's on-demand world. Realtor.com® is operated by News Corp [Nasdaq: NWS, NWSA] [ASX: NWS, NWSLV] subsidiary Move, Inc. For more information, visit Realtor.com®.