How to Negotiate the Best Deal

1. What does the market say?

At various times we’re in a “buyers” market, a “sellers” market, or a market where housing supply and demand are roughly equal. Though there is a certain posture one can take when negotiating in any market and beat the street.

Because most properties are not exactly alike – it is possible to buck general trends and have more leverage than the marketplace would seem to allow.  For example, if you have a home in a Park City community with few listed sales, there is a chance you can negotiate towards a favorable sale.  Though, if you’re a Park City homebuyer that can close quickly and shorten the due diligence deadline, this could be stong for the seller and refelct a financial benefit.

2. Who has leverage?
If you or your agent continue to run a Park City home ad in many Park City publications it can sometimes appear the seller is desperate.  Many buyers are seeing homes online and most likely have seen your home.  Buyers are savy and most of the time do their homework.  They just don't know how to create leverage.

3. What are the details?
In Utah we are in a undisclosed sales price state and the number is not always the number.  There are many variables that are included in the transactions and good to ask your broker.  Was it furnsiehd, were there allowances, are there memberships included, who paid what?  Zillow and Trulia numbers are far from accurate most of the time.

For example – two Park City condos sell for the same price of around $1,250,000.  The condos are nearly the same, asking price the same, but are they really the same? It depends.   As an example, one owner could offer to replace the carpet and appliances, paint all the bedrooms, and offer a certain amount to the closing costs.  The second owner could be ridged in their price, offer no closing incentives, and offer the home as-is (not repairing anything in an inspection report).

4. Who has expertise?
Work with an experienced agent or broker.  It helps when your Realtor is actually a Broker – which means they have been involved in at least 35 transactions in the last 3-5 years in the Park City Utah market.  Every deal is different, whereas agents learn something from every sale which helps the to negotiate a purchase or sale.  Experienced is key.  Experience will save you money - though you may have a friendly relationship with a part time or newer agent - trust me it will cost you money as real estate, the negotiations, and what to look for takes years of experience to understand.

5. Financing

Not always common in Park City and Deer Valley, to the extent you plan to finance get your approval letters from you lenders before negotiating the transaction.  This will help drive and create a stronger offer.  Also, try to bury any contingencies inside your due diligence period and don’t tell the seller.  Take care of these items in the first 21 days, which lets you generally cancel the contract at any time during the due diligence period.


Luxury Home Buying Guide - Park City Utah

From stately ski homes at the Colony at White Pine Canyon with exclusive slopeside privacy to ranch style golf cabins at Promontory, options for luxury living in Park City Utah very by location, view, and access to the outdoors.  Typically a luxury home or condo in Park City starts at around $1.5 million in secondary markets and upwards to an average of $5+ million for a ski home with direct ski access in Deer Valley.  To the extent you are looking closer at a luxury home in the Park City area, here are a pointers to help streamline your search: 

Step 1 Learn the Search Process.  At times, several Park City properties may not be actively listed across the MLS or search engines, so be prepared to expand your search and find a Realtor that has experience and certain relationships.  I personally stay very active in the Park City brokerage community and keep notes on who has sellers and who has buyers.  

Step 2 Evaluate your List  Evaluating a luxury home, especially a second home in Park City, can be more difficult.   Knowing the differences of the HOA, views, ski access, golf access, transfer fees, and club types is critical.  My team of staff, including myself keeps very close to our market and understand the differences of properties in Empire Pass with a Talisker Club membership to a golf properties at Glenwild. 

Step 3 Consider the Financing.   Tight lending restrictions does not affected the higher end market in Park City Utah.  Though, with low interest rates money is cheap sending many high end investors to the bank.  However lenders recommend 15-20 percent down, and most recommend 25-35 percent down today in the upscale market.  I have excellent lenders that will work side by side with me and know the added demands of the luxury market.  

Step 4 The Offer  Making the appropriate to start your negotiations is key.  At times in the Park City luxury market sellers may not be strapped for cash and have the financial means to hold on to a property to get the right price.  However, others may want to take a loss to invest in other investments.  Its easty to use Zillow or Trulia, but you must understand Utah is a non –disclosure state and what you are reading may not be accurate or up to date.  I always pull all data from the most reliable source – the Park City MLS, whereas you can also pull closings under a non-disclosed price.  I then create my assessment based on the results and apply them towards a particular property when negotiating for a seller or a buyer.  Please contact me at if you have any questions!


Selling Your Home for Top Dollar

1. Understand why you are selling your Park City home  The decisions to sell your Park City home affect many things, including setting the price and how much money you want to invest in an effort sale.   Also determine if time could be more important that a bit more money in your negotiations.  These decisions can dictate strategies.  Ultimately – these decisions need to remain confidential between you and your agent.

2. Do your homework before setting a price  Be prepared to analysis your first price thought.  Pricing your home too high can have consequences that actually cause you to sell your home a touch under its value.  Most of the buyers in the Park City real estate market are looking at 6-8 more, including yours.  Pricing of closed home in the last 6 months would be your best indicator, including inventory, and the condition of your Park City home.

4. Find a good real estate agent to represent your needs  Most Park City sellers would only not use the last agent for representation.   This generally boils down to communication and/or price.   Make sure you and your Realtor cover all expectations up front.

5. Maximize your home's sales potential  How your home looks and feels is very important and can help gain the extra 1-3% more in value.  They look at feel of your Park City home can create real emotion.  Hire a cleaner and make sure it shines, including the windows which are very important to be crystal clear.   Buyers are walking through you home and imagining their life in your home.  Clean creates a positive emotion.

6. Make it easy for prospects to get information on your home  Open houses are useful, but in the end don’t really sell your home.  Investing in the Park City market, most buyers are using an agent and want information quickly as they are often out of town.  Make sure to have all the necessary information on your home readily available.  If you have the plans, a great general contractor, and architect – also have that available.

7. Know your buyer  Your are negotiation the sell of your Park City home to a buyer you want your agent to set the pace of the negotiation.   Your Realtor should get as much information about this buyer as possible.  This helps with how flexible they are with their wallet, and its interesting how most agent will provide all the info.

8. Make sure the contract is complete  Provide and disclose as much as possible.  Confidence helps buyers believe in the property.

9. Don't move out before you sell  There are many studies that show most homes are harder to sell when they are unfurnished.  Including a lower sales price as many buyers fell the sellers are more motivated.  To gain top dollar keep your home furnished or staged when you are marketing your home to sell.



6 Mistakes to Avoid When Moving Up


1.     Rose tented goggles – Most of us dream of improving our lifestyles and moving to a larger home. The problem is that there’s sometimes a discrepancy between our desires and the actual amount we are willing to spend on a Park City Home. You drive by a home that you fall in love with only to find that it’s already sold or that it’s more than that you are willing to pay.  Most homeowners get caught in this hit or miss strategy of house hunting when there’s a much easier way of going about the process.  For example, as a real estate broker I can seamlessly research all markets, agent relationships, and study the MLS for homes that meet your criteria.  One line public search engines generally have around 70% of the homes for sale.  The other 30% are word of mouth, pocket listings, or new to market that can take up to a week to hit the MLS.  Feel free to fill out this form and send me your specifics you are looking for

2.     Failing to make necessary improvements – If you want to get the best price for the home you’re selling, there will certainly be things you can do to enhance it in a prospective buyer’s eyes. These fix-ups don’t necessarily have to be expensive. But even if you do have to make a minor investment, it will often come back to you ten-fold in the price you are able to get when you sell. It’s very important that these improvements be made before you put your home on the market. If cash is tight, investigate an equity loan that you can repay on closing.  The market in Park City is strong depending on the market and depending on the neighborhood you may not need to do much!

3.     Not selling first – You should plan to sell before you buy. This way you will not find yourself at a disadvantage at the negotiating table, feeling pressured to accept an offer that is below-market value because you have to meet a purchase deadline.  If you’ve already sold your home, you can buy your next one with no contingencies.  if you do get a tempting offer on your home but haven’t made significant headway on finding your next home, you might want to put in a contingency clause in the sale contract which gives you a reasonable time to find a home to buy. If the market is slow and you find your home is not selling as quickly as you anticipated, another option could be renting your home and putting it up on the market later – particularly if you are selling a smaller, starter home. You’ll have to investigate the tax rules if you choose this latter option. Better still find a way to eliminate this situation altogether by getting your agent to guarantee the sale of your present home (see point number 5 below).

4.     Failing to get a preapproved mortgage – Preapproval is a very simple process that many homeowners fail to take advantage of.  While it doesn’t cost or obligate you to anything, preapproval gives you a significant advantage when you put an offer on the home you want to purchase because you know exactly how much house you can afford, and you already have the green light from your lending institution. With a preapproved mortgage, your offer will be viewed far more favorable by a seller – sometimes even if it’s a letter lower than another offer that’s contingent on financing. Don’t fail to take this important step

5.     Getting caught in the “Real Estate Catch 22” – Your biggest dilemma when buying and selling is deciding which to do first.  Point number 3 above advises you to sell first. However, our state approved contracts for Park City homes and condos allows a review period which is negotiable and helpful (something we can discuss).

6.     ‘Failing to coordinate closings – With two major transactions to coordinate together with all the people involved such as mortgage experts, appraisers, lawyers, loan officers, title company representatives, home inspectors or pest inspectors the chances of mix-ups and miscommunication go up dramatically. To avoid a logistical nightmare ensure you work with a seasoned agent or broker.  This business is extremely complicated and experience helps - especially those who have earned the Broker status.


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