We were researching buying a house and came across this article about bargaining for a house in the US. I thought that it might be useful for others who are considering buying a house in the US. How to Bargain for a House As Market Cools, Buyers Regain Long-Lost Negotiating Power; Want an Audi With That Condo? By RUTH SIMON Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL October 29, 2005; Page B1 Home buyers are finally starting to catch a break. After years of soaring real-estate prices -- not to mention periodic bidding wars for third-rate properties -- inventories of homes for sale are rising in many parts of the country. As a result, some buyers are regaining long-lost bargaining power. That gives buyers in many markets more room than they have had in years to push sellers to sweeten the pot. Buyers are asking for, and often getting, concessions ranging from help in paying their closing costs to money for repairs or redecorating. <table align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="1" width="259"><tbody><tr><td class="illustration"> This Rhode Island home got new landscaping before being shown. </td><td rowspan="2" width="12"> </td></tr></tbody></table> And sellers in many markets -- including once-hot areas like Phoenix, San Diego and Boston -- are finding that they can no longer just slap a price on their home and expect it to move quickly. Increasingly, they are being advised to set more realistic pricing expectations and to spruce up their property with fresh paint or some new plantings out front to stand out from the crowd. In Rhode Island, where active listings are up 43% from a year earlier, some agents are going even further. Broker Ron Phipps recently offered the buyer of a 2,200-square-foot waterfront condo priced at $550,000 a two-year lease on an Audi TT sports car. The buyer applied the $18,000 value of the lease to the purchase price instead -- then bargained with the seller to kick in an additional $7,000 for closing costs and a new air-conditioning system. The re-emergence of tactics like these is notable because it could signal the end of a prolonged seller's market in some parts of the country. Some sellers are even cutting list prices outright. In Phoenix, where the number of homes on the market has climbed to 17,000 from 5,400 three months ago, "we're now constantly getting emails that prices have been reduced," says Charles McLean, broker-owner of Century 21 Metro Alliance. His advice to sellers: go "all-out" with marketing tactics like open houses. As recently as this summer, that wasn't only unnecessary, it was often impossible -- properties sometimes were selling in as little as 24 hours. In Northern Virginia, Elaine Raabe, the buyer for three stores run by the local Realtors association, says she's having trouble keeping signs that say "price reduced" in stock. For the previous two years, she says, "you couldn't keep an 'under contract' sign in the building." In San Diego, Steve Krescanko of Century 21 Award is advising clients to offer the buyer's broker a 3% commission instead of 2.5%. On a two-bedroom, two-bathroom home in Escondido, Calif., that recently sold for $420,000, the seller combined a 3% payout to the broker with $6,500 toward the buyer's closing costs. <table align="left" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="1" width="265"><tbody><tr><td class="illustration"> Buyers can get help with closing costs near San Diego. </td><td rowspan="2" width="12"> </td></tr></tbody></table> Of course, home sales traditionally slow in the fall. And if mortgage rates remain low, sales could bounce back in the spring. New-home construction surged in September, according to the Commerce Department. Sales of existing homes held steady at their second-highest level on record in September, according to the National Association of Realtors, or NAR. (That's partly because of a boost from Katrina refugees buying homes.) And many "price cuts" right now are actually deceptive: Sellers who overpriced their properties are being forced to roll back expectations -- but they're still getting more than they probably would have for the same property a year ago. On Friday, NAR said it expects sales of existing homes to climb 4.8% this year from 2004 to a record 7.1 million. Next year, however, it believes sales will fall 3.5%. NAR expects the median price of an existing home to climb 12% this year, but just 5.3% next year. Already, there are indications the market is in transition. Rising oil prices and higher interest rates may finally be taking a toll, amid concerns about an overheated housing market. A recent survey of real-estate agents by Banc of America Securities analyst Daniel Oppenheim found that selling times were rising in 19 of 20 markets. Prices in 13 markets were flat or falling, up from four in July. Although buyers in many markets have the newfound ability to start asking for concessions such as closing costs or repairs, whether they get them is another matter. It depends in part on the dynamics of the local market -- and the willingness of the seller to face reality. "We have sellers who refuse to acknowledge that the boom pricing is over," says David Lereah, chief economist of NAR.