Q: I’m on a tight budget and want to buy a house that was listed for $77,500. I made an offer at $72,000 and the owner came down to $75,500.

The home is 10 years old and the owners have offered to leave the washer, dryer and kitchen appliances. The seller rejected my offer, but I’m on a really right budget don’t want to pay too much. What do you think?

A: The real question is about how much the property is worth. If you are offering $72,000 and there is no one lined up behind you to make this offer, you have a good case for sticking close to your original offer. But if your price is too low for the market, the seller won’t have any incentive to sell it to you, but will sell it to someone else. While you should not overpay for the home, it the seller’s price is a fair price, the home may be too expensive for you.

As I see it, you and the owner are about $3,000 apart, or 5 percent of the purchase price. While I’d never suggest you quibble over a few thousand dollars, you are on a tight budget and every nickel counts.

I think you should go over your budget to see how much you would have to spend on new appliances if the owner took those with him when he moves. You should also have a good idea of what other homes in the area sell for and whether the appliances were included in those sales. If you have a good real estate agent, she should be able to give you some useful information.

My guess is that you’d spend around $3,000 when you go out to buy a washer ($500), dryer ($500), stove ($500), oven ($500), dishwasher ($500), and refrigerator ($800). Of course, then the appliances would be new. In your case, the seller is offering to leave 10-year old appliances behind. That’s nice of him, but eventually you’ll have to replace them.

If you really want this house and it is a good value, I think you should go back to the seller and offer to split the difference between what you’ve offered and the price at which the seller has countered your offer.

That way, you’re only eating an extra $1,500, which should still be affordable even on a tight budget.

By the way, make sure you’re getting good financing advice from a top mortgage lender in your area. Because your finances are so limited, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting a loan that really suits your needs.

Published: May 20, 2005