How close to its listing/asking price should a condo actually sell for?

I’m hoping to move sometime in the next few months or so. More than likely, it will be by myself into an apartment or condo. Because I’m kinda looking for a new job I’m leaning towards the apartment right now, but if I either decide to stay more long term at my current job or find a new one I think I’ll be at long term, I may lean towards the condo instead.

If I do decide to go the condo route, I have only a vague idea about how you’d go about buying one, and no experience in home buying. The only reasearch I’ve done so far is looking at places online just a bit, and a little calculating of what I can afford.

To be honest, if I did decide to shop for a condo, I would be very flexible regarding what I want, and getting a good deal would be my main goal. As long as it isn’t in a high crime area, and isn’t completely falling apart, I’d be considering a wide range of units, with getting good value being my main criteria.

My question:

When I’m looking at condos online or in the paper or whatever, does the price they are listed at reflect what they will actually sell for? Are these prices negotiable like buying a car for example? In some cases I see several units listed in the same complex, would this suggest I could maybe negotiate a better price? Any rule of thumb for calculating what a condo would actually sell for?

Buying a condo is a similar process to buying a house. You’ll most likely want to get a real estate agent. The only differences between buying a condo to buying a house is that depending on the jurisdiction you get a few days to read the condo docs and decide whether this is something you are interested in.

This depends mostly on what the market you are in is like. When I was looking for a place last year, often you had to offer more than the asking price in order to not get outbid. I understand that this has changed somewhat but how much variation there is in price really depends on what the market is like where you live.

Just like houses and cars, the list price for a condo is what the seller hopes they can get for it. And, just like houses and cars, that price can range anywhere from a reasonable request to a steal to something that has absolutely no connection to reality. (As in, the equivalent of $20,000 for a beaten-up rusty Yugo with no engine.)

Make your offer much like you would for a car: take a look at what other similar items have sold for recently, factor in the condition and location, and generally start on the lowish side of what you’d like to pay in order to give you and the seller some room to negotiate.

In a really hot market, like Caffeine.addict mentioned, you may have to offer the most you’re willing to pay and hope you don’t get outbid: if you bid at the low end of your price range, chances are you won’t get the chance to make a counter-offer.

In general, sellers will like your offer more if you have minimal (or no) contigencies on your offer: I have seen times where the seller will take a lower offer (with no contigencies) over a higher offer (contigent on the buyer’s house selling, for instance) because it means less hassle and a quicker sale.

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