Best places to bargain for a home

Jill Simmons


The real estate market is showing signs of life — in many areas, home prices are rising, or at least stabilizing, and stories about bidding wars are starting to surface.

While all of this is good news for sellers, buyers remain in the driver’s seat in many parts of the country. To determine the metros where buyers had the most negotiating power, Zillow looked at factors including percentage of listings with price cuts, the median price cut, foreclosure re-sales, and the difference between the final list price and the final sale price. You may be surprised at which places made our Best Places to Bargain list.

Rockford, IL

Home values in Rockford are quite affordable compared to the rest of the country. The Zillow Home Value Index shows the median home value in Rockford is currently $77,700, well below the national median of $146,200. Nearly 40 percent of listings in March had a price cut and the median price cut was 8 percent.  Price cuts usually signal to buyers there is room to negotiate and that’s no exception here.

120 N Highland Ave, Rockford, IL 61107
Home for sale:
Price cut: $10,000 (April 25)

This 4-bed, 1.5-bath Tudor-style home spans two lots on 0.32 acres and offers features of its 1930 build date: leaded glass windows, French doors, and hardwood floors. It has 2,080-sq ft of living space.

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Punta Gorda, FL

Florida was hit hard by the housing crisis but things are starting to turn around in certain areas. Home values in Punta Gorda were up over 3 percent from last quarter. In Punta Gorda, 36 percent of all listings in March had a price cut (median price was almost 8 percent).

16405 Pyreness Ln, Punta Gorda, FL 33955
Home for sale:
Price cut: $30,900 (May 18)

This 3-bed, 2-bath home has 2,686-sq ft of space in the deed restricted community of Burnt Store Lakes, which offers access to a marina, plus golf and restaurants. Features include pool and spa and views of abundant wildlife from second-floor master balcony.

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Cleveland, OH

Listings with price cuts are on the rise in Cleveland with nearly 36 percent of listings in March taking a hit. Twenty-six percent of all sales in March were foreclosures, which means there is a lot of distressed inventory that helps keep a lid on the price of non-distressed listings. All of this means there are bargains for buyers in Cleveland.

2195 W 41st St, Cleveland, OH 44113
Home for sale: $179,000
Price cut: $3,000 (May 3)

Just minutes to downtown Cleveland, this two-story contemporary Colonial has an open floor plan with 12-foot ceilings, 2.5 baths and 2 oversize bedrooms. The home was featured on the Ohio City Home Tour.

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Chicago, IL

Home values in Chicago have fallen almost 38 percent since the Chicago market peaked in 2006, which means buyers are looking at home values back at 2003 levels. Thirty-eight percent of listings in March had a price cut, up nearly 6 percent from a year ago. Median price cut was around 7 percent and buyers were able to negotiate another 5 percent off the last list price.

5337 N Nashville Ave, Chicago, IL 60656
Home for sale: $286,000
Price cut: $13,900 (May 19)

Located in Union Ridge real estate market, this 3-bed, 2-bath 1,600-sq ft home has a remodeled kitchen, with granite counters and newer appliances. Updated baths on the first and second floors. Fully finished basement with living room and second room which can be used as office or bedroom.

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Sarasota, FL

Another Florida market is experiencing some good news, with home values rising over the past quarter and month.  Despite the rise in values, buyers still have a lot of power here as 34 percent of the listings in March had price cuts and buyers were able to negotiate 6 percent off the list price.

2058 Rose St, Sarasota, FL 34239
Home for sale: $179,000
Price cut: $8,400 (May 25)

This charming 3-bed, 2-bath cottage in the Southside School District is move-in ready and offers a new kitchen with granite counters, stainless steel appliances, tile back splash and eat-in breakfast bar. Hardwood floors throughout.  Close to neighborhood trail for biking/walking.

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New Haven, CT

Almost 37 percent of all listings in March had price cuts in New Haven, up 10 percent year over year.  The median price was 6 percent and buyers were able to knock off another 6 percent off the last price by the time of close.

463 Norton Pkwy, New Haven, CT 06511
Home for sale: $179,900
Price cut: $19,600 (May 16)

Charming 1920′s home contains oak floors, chestnut trim, China cabinet and window seat. Newer mechanicals, plus updated roof, windows and siding. Heated porch. Close to Yale and downtown.

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Philadelphia, PA

While home values in Philadelphia weren’t hit nearly as hard as most of the country, they are still down 20 percent from their peak in 2007 to a current median home value of $103,700. Thirty-five percent of listings had a price cut in March, with the median price cut at almost 6 percent. Zillow’s data shows buyers are able to negotiate 5 percent off the list price.

4037 Mitchell St, Philadelphia, PA 19128
Home for sale: $225,000
Price cut: $4,900 (May 11)

End of row, 1,400-sq ft brick home on the Manayunk real estate market has 3 bedrooms, 1.5 baths and offers hardwood floors throughout. Updated kitchen with marble flooring, counters and back splash, maple cabinets, dishwasher and disposal, exit to rear deck, yard and garden areas.