Deborah Kling
Deborah Kling
Team Leader

Understanding Seller Concessions

Understanding Seller Concessions: What Are They and How Do They Work?

Whether you’re a buyer looking for your first home or a seller preparing to put your property on the market, you’ve probably heard the term “concessions” in real estate. But what exactly does that refer to?

What are seller concessions?

Seller concessions, which are also called seller assist or seller contributions, are the costs a seller agrees to pay to help the buyer when closing on the home. It’s essentially a gift that a seller can offer to reduce the amount future homeowners have to pay out of pocket.

While both the buyer and seller have closing costs they’re responsible for, a buyer’s closing costs are usually 3% to 6% of the home’s purchase price. This is aside from the down payment, which means buyers need to have a good amount of money saved up just to get the keys to their dream home.

To sweeten the deal and close quickly, sellers can either pay a flat percentage of the buyer’s closing costs, or buyers can ask them to cover a specific expense, such as the home inspection or home appraisal. Either way, seller concessions are typically negotiated as part of the buyer’s offer on the home purchase. But while they’re relatively common in real estate transactions, they’re far more likely to occur in a buyer’s market. According to the National Association of Realtors’ 2023 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 20 percent of sellers offered incentives to attract buyers.

Seller concessions can be received on all types of home loans, including conventional, FHA, VA, or USDA loans. However, some rules set limits on the maximum amount that a seller can hand over, depending on the loan type. We’ll discuss more about this later on.

What can seller concessions cover?

For home buyers, your closing costs will vary depending on your situation. In general, however, you should expect to pay 3% to 6% of the home’s value in closing costs, aside from your down payment. This means you need to have a good amount of money saved up just to get the keys to your dream home. Here are some examples of closing costs and fees that a seller might be willing to cover:

  • Property taxes
  • Attorney fees
  • Home appraisal
  • Mortgage origination fees
  • Real estate tax service fees
  • Title insurance
  • Mortgage discount points
  • Inspection fees
  • Homeowners insurance
  • Homeowners association fees
  • Purchase of a home warranty for the buyer

Likewise, a seller concession does not always have to be monetary. It can be other things connected to a home that a buyer may put value into, or anything that can sweeten the deal for the buyer. For instance, a buyer may ask for any existing furniture, appliances, or other loose home items, and the seller agrees to leave them even though they’re not initially included in the sale.

Situations when sellers might be willing to agree to concessions

Asking for seller concessions is a part of the negotiation process involved in a real estate transaction. But it’s important to know when sellers may be more likely to offer concessions, and it can be in any of these situations:

It’s a buyer’s market

In this circumstance, sellers have less negotiating power. And since fewer buyers looking for homes than there are houses for sale, sellers can better entice a fair offer by giving a concession.

When the house is overpriced

Instead of having to lower the asking price, a seller may be willing to offer concessions.

When the home has been on the market for too long or it’s been a slow season.

A home that has been on the market for more than a few weeks may raise a red flag to potential buyers. To help sell their home, a seller may be willing to make concessions. The same thing if a seller needs to move during a slow season, especially during the winter months when there may be fewer home buyers.

When a seller needs to move quickly

It may be worth it for some sellers to agree to concessions if they feel it will help expedite the sale of their home, especially if they need to relocate as soon as possible or have already bought a new home, hence paying for two mortgages at the same time… READ MORE…

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Understanding Seller Concessions

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