With overall volumes down and affordability and interest rates in flux, the housing market may feel like it’s a castle with a moat around it. But the reality is that people are still making deals on fewer available homes—and they’re willing to negotiate.

So how can buyers and sellers storm the castle to claim their new dream home? When it comes to the current state of the housing market, we know there are three things buyers and sellers clearly agree on. They:

  1. Believe it’s still competitive
  2. Are very concerned about interest rates
  3. Think homes are overpriced.

Though sellers still have a perceived edge in the market, there is more openness to negotiate on both sides: 76% of prospective sellers and 80% of buyers are willing to make concessions to expedite their process. These are the five main concessions both sides can agree on.

1. Buyers and sellers are equally willing to be flexible on the closing date.

The closing date can be the bane of the home buying process – a crucial detail that hangs in the balance of (often) competing priorities, contracts and varying timelines. That said, buyers and sellers are taking market conditions into account: 70% of sellers and 75% of buyers indicate a willingness to be flexible on choosing when to close. 

With this added elbow room, homeowners can relieve some of the pressure of the buying process, allowing buyers to tie up loose ends in their current accommodations and sellers to seal the deal on their terms. This is especially helpful because these two groups overlap – 72% of sellers are also buyers, according to Realtor.com. 

Tip: If it’s an option, a sale-leaseback offer can be a creative way to line up closing dates while allowing extra time for the actual moving date. 

2. More sellers are willing to come down on price than buyers are willing to increase their offer.

Even though sellers have the upper hand these days, 41% of them say they would be willing to decrease their listing price. This finding emphasizes the seller’s desire to move forward with transactions in this market: 74% of sellers want to sell as quickly as possible. 

On the flip side, only 27% of buyers say they would increase their bid price. This lack of flexibility could be attributed to the whopping 93% of buyers who think homes on the current market are overpriced. Moreover, the majority of buyers (73%) say they plan to bid at or below the asking price. 

Tip: With so much volatility in the market, comparable sales from just months ago may no longer be a perfect indicator of price. To make the best pricing decisions, try to obtain the latest data on closed sales and under-contract listings. 

3. Buyers want a sense of security and aren’t as willing to forgo a home warranty policy.

Home warranties can provide the peace of mind that’s hard to come by in today’s market, offering protection against repair or replacement costs for home appliances and systems. Only 18% of buyers are willing to forgo a home warranty policy, with the vast majority (82%) saying it’s a must-have. For buyers already transacting at the top of their budgets, a home warranty is especially valuable. That said, only 29% of sellers say they would be willing to provide one. 

Tip: Check the price of home warranties in your area. You might be surprised by how affordable they are when compared to other repair concessions. A home warranty can be a great way to unlock a stalemate by offering peace of mind to a buyer or a more cost-effective concession from a seller.

4. Buyers and sellers are both open to paying for closing costs to ensure certainty.

Despite concerns around financing, 33% of buyers are willing to pay for all closing costs and 35% of sellers are willing to assist with the expenses. This concession may speak to two challenges in the market. On one side, the majority of sellers (87%) say the certainty of an offer –ensuring it doesn’t fall through – is extremely important. With many buyers searching for a better deal, however, the rate of contract cancellations and fall-throughs is significant. On the other side, home options remain limited, so if a buyer finds their dream home, they may be more willing to cover those additional costs. 

Tip: Making a deal is about more than just the purchase price. Whether selling or buying, understand that the closing costs are paid by both sides so you can evaluate additional ways to bridge a gap while preserving your bottom line.  

5. Buyers don’t want to pay for repairs, and neither do sellers.

One concession where buyers and sellers are not aligned is who should pay for home repairs. Some 67% of buyers don’t want to pay for remodeling or repairs, and nearly 70% of them say they want a turnkey home. This trend falls in line with shifting post-pandemic lifestyles: people have less time to invest in home improvement projects, and construction timelines are unpredictable. Even so, just 23% of sellers are willing to apply credit for remodeling or repairs. 

Tip: If possible, a buyer and seller can agree to a pre-inspection before formalizing a contract. This helps both parties get in front of deal-breaking repair negotiations with upfront due diligence.

Making concessions is a natural part of the home buying and selling process, and it doesn’t have to mean buyers sacrifice their dream homes. By seeing all the cards on the table – closing dates and costs, repairs and policies, and price – buyers and sellers alike can make informed decisions to make the most of this market.