To win the accepted offer in a hot home selling market, avoid these five mistakes.

Tight inventories will continue in 2022. If you’re preparing to compete to buy a house this year, take advantage of the lessons learned by people who tried and failed before you. Avoid these common mistakes to outsmart the competition, even if you can’t outbid them.

Mistake 1

Thinking you have leverage. Ignore negotiating ideas conceived before June 2021. Old-school strategies of feeling out the other side and including throw-away conditions you intend to concede to appear as conciliatory will get you excluded from the conversation. As a buyer, you and I have no leverage.

Mistake 2

You are trying to meet in the middle. If your offer is not your best price, what do you gain by setting a price where the seller can meet you in the middle? Owners are not looking to compromise on price in the first two weeks on the market. This strategy only works as leverage for the seller to inspire other buyers to fear losing the house to a better offer. (No one, except the seller, will know your offer is a non-factor.)

Mistake 3

You failed to give the owner security. The owner is most interested in two lines on the offer: price and closing date. Money and security. The remaining nine hundred lines and 23 pages of the purchase agreement protect a buyer from committing to close until the last possible moment. Many good-price-offers get rejected for their high-risk contingencies. Review your offer from the seller’s perspective; look for a commitment to go right to closing safely and securely. Contingencies are luxuries of a buyer’s market. If you won’t make an offer without the protection of an escape clause, this might not be your time to become a homeowner.

Mistake 4

You give up because you don’t want to get into a bidding war. The competition isn’t what you think it is. Be assured, out of ten offers on the table; the owner might have two offers they could accept as written. More likely, it’s one acceptable offer. Keep this in mind: you’re not competing with ten other buyers even if the owner has ten other offers. You’re only competing with the one or two buyers who submitted offers acceptable as written. 

Mistake 5

Your offer includes drafting mistakes or ambiguous terms. Most purchase offers submitted this year won’t be rejected because of the price. Owners refuse or pass on most offers because they are not acceptable as written. The Wisconsin purchase agreement forms are almost dummy-proof. Almost. The drafter still has to fill in blanks correctly (Numbers go in blanks preceded by $ signs, and words that complete sentences go in those blanks not preceded by $ characters.) Ambiguity is a fatal flaw. Subjective criteria, undefined terms, and unresolvable contingencies require counteroffers. Owners are not sending counteroffers when they have clean offers in hand. Given a chance to fix their offers, I’ve been told by buyer agents, “just send us a counter.” Some people never know how easy it would have been to get their offer accepted.

Bonus Mistake

You allow your buyer agent to speak for you. The proper way to negotiate an offer is in writing. We will not verbally negotiate with buyer agents. There is nothing but trouble when two agents hammer out some details and expect their clients will understand the scope of the commitment made on their behalf. It’s not often, but sometimes an owner will give one buyer a chance before committing to another offer on the table. I know the buyer agent is trying their best for their client when they tell me their client will never accept the counteroffer I sent. I’ve seen these “unacceptable” counteroffers accepted enough times to know the buyer agent should say nothing but thank you and present the offer. When a buyer agent speaks for his client without presenting a counteroffer, they run the risk of the listing agent reporting the buyer agent’s feelings back to the seller. I’ve seen sellers withdraw counteroffers based on the negative first reaction of buyer agents. No one knows what a buyer or seller will do. Don’t give your authority away.

Three Costly Mistakes Homesellers Must Avoid This Spring

Real estate commissions are negotiable. But you wouldn’t know it by looking at listing contracts. According to RealEstateWitch, Wisconsin home sellers are paying an average rate of about 6.0%, one of the highest rates in the country. 

Ask any broker, and they’ll probably quote their commission as 6.0% of the sales price. So why aren’t the rates being negotiated? There are two reasons in my opinion. (1) Brokers are well versed in handling the commission negotiation question. (2) Consumers accept the argument against negotiating commission. 

The Consequences of Unnegotiated Commission

Bloomberg reported commissions would top 100 billion dollars in 2021. Is this a problem or a success? It depends. Homeowners pay broker commissions out of their home equity. The commission is calculated on the sales price: $400,000 X 6% = $24,000. But the commission is paid from home equity savings. Assume your equity is $100,000. Let me ask the question another way. Is paying 24% of your savings for one service the best you can do?

The Three Costly Mistakes

The spring market is on in Madison. Thousands of people will sign listing contracts this year. Most will make three mistakes that cost them thousands of dollars. Avoid them and increase your aftersale profit by thousands of dollars.  

1) Promise to pay a buyer broker a 3.0% commission to represent the buyer in negotiations against you. Listing brokers will lock commit you to promise to pay a buyer’s broker top rate commission when you sign a listing contract. You can negotiate up from there, but not down.  The time to negotiate buyer broker commission is after you see the offer terms.

2) Promise to pay a 6.0% commission to the listing broker to procure a buyer without exploring options. Alternatives to full-price commissions are indeed few and hard to find, but they’re out there. Before committing to any level of service and price, the wise homeowner will explore options.

3) Blinded by the bright light of a high price. After years of working with multiple offers on single homes, you would think the strategy of offering the highest price and renegotiating later would be well recognized and avoided. There are always new agents and easily dazzled homeowners willing to take a chance on the bright shining price. You can negotiate a ridiculous price; just make sure there are no escape clauses that let the buyer renegotiate a better price a few weeks after acceptance.

 Essential Real Estate brokers guide homeowners to negotiate wisely. We believe you should have options to keep the advantage on your side and reduce your selling costs where possible. Every dollar you save is home equity money, and you need it for whatever you’re going to do next.  To learn how to use our strategy to increase your profit, contact me at

Our Client is the Hero

You may know this person. We call them our HERO.

Our hero is a caring person and they own a home.

They know this to be true: if you don’t overpay when you buy, you make money; overpay, and you’re spending equity you haven’t made yet. Our heroes often begin homeownership with a bit of equity. After 5, 10, 15, 30 years, our careful owners increased their equity by a lot.

They made improvements and resisted spending equity on instant gratification.

Equity is important to our clients, but it’s only part of the value of their property. There’s more value in the memories.

Our clients know when you sell, you leave bricks and mortar behind; the memories go with you.

We believe you should keep your memories safe when you sell your home. Protecting your equity is our job.

One day, it occurred to me that we all sell for the same reason—to get the equity to do our next plan in life.

And when we sell, that’s the time our equity is at risk. This is when an expert real estate guide is essential.

However, selling is when the real estate sales system works against the careful owner.

The system is designed to be good for consumers and profitable for the broker, the bankers, the government, and service vendors. Home sales drive the American economy, and the machine runs on the fuel of home equity.

As good as you might be in saving money, the people who want what you have are better at getting what they want than you are at keeping what you got when your emotions get in the way.

Ask any broker, and they will tell you: real estate commissions are negotiable. 

That’s true. Commissions are negotiable.

The problem is, there’s no negotiating happening.

Since 1989 when I started, the commission has been 6.0% of the sales price and negotiable.

Here and across the country, the avg commission is still at or near 6%.

Our clients are intelligent people. Remember, they’re the hero of the story.

Whether they say it or not, they question the obvious: How can their home values rise and fall with the economy, but broker commissions remain immune to market pressure? 

In the recession, when homes were on the market for six months and sold far below asking prices, commissions were six percent.

Today when homes are on the market for six hours and selling well above appraised values, commissions are still six percent.

Six percent must be magical.

Six has staying power because one side has no idea how to negotiate, and the other side is highly skilled at not negotiating.

Brokers handle the commission question the way they were trained for a hundred years.

It goes like this: Our commission is six percent. It’s negotiable, of course.

But, you don’t want to do that because… (manipulate fear here)

And homeowners are easily persuaded by fear.

Home sellers don’t know how to negotiate. What they’re doing isn’t working.

 A typical home seller who pays the full commission will spend $24,000 of their equity paying commission.

We fixed that by. We show our heros where and when to negotiate the commission and our typical client pays about 33% less. That’s about $8,000.00

It’s possible to get better terms and pay lower fees, which add up to more equity savings. That’s what we do for our heroes. They love it.

If I said it before, I will say it again–you pay the costs to sell and you pay for negotiating errors with the money that would be your equity.

I know, you might think you’re likely to lose money by underpricing your home. This market seems to have solved that problem as lower prices just draw more buyers and more competition pushes prices higher.

You’re most likely to lose money by being misled into paying for things you don’t need and paying fees you could avoid.

Selling a home is something you will do a few times in your life. When you’re on a journey you’ve rarely or never taken, a guide who’s been there, who knows the system, knows the contracts is invaluable.

Careful people who value their equity and memories don’t need a social media marketer, or expensive sizzle to sell their homes. Zillow is going to put your home in the face of every person who thinks of owning a house like yours.

 Careful people who would rather keep what they earned than give it away turn to us. We’re their guide avoiding traps and negotiating better terms. After all, real estate is a contract negotiating business, and buyer agents don’t work for home sellers.

At Essential Real Estate, we guide careful people to save home equity money by paying lower fees and avoiding costly negotiating errors.

It takes two sides to negotiate a commission

Do you know how it’s said, “Real Estate Commissions are Negotiable?”

It’s true; they are.

The problem is it takes two sides to negotiate. 

And, it appears one side doesn’t. 

In our market and across the country, the average commission is still Six percent of the sale price. And what does a person get for that?

When brokers don’t negotiate, homeowners spend way too much of their equity on broker commissions. (100 billion dollars last year)

And that’s the problem we solved.

Essential Real Estate clients never pay six percent commissions, and for the commission they pay us, they get more profit, lower costs, and better contracts.