Kiplinger

Home Prices Take a Breather

Potential sellers take note: You may not have the upper hand in negotiating, even with first-time buyers. Witness Robert Ruppelt, 35, and his fiancée, Sara Shultz, 32, who were recently looking to buy a first home in Tampa. The couple made an offer on a four-bedroom, two-bath home that had been listed at $255,000 but was relisted at $248,000 after a price reduction. The couple countered twice with offers of $232,000 and $238,000, both of which were rejected. So Ruppelt and Shultz walked away.

"We wanted to feel we were getting a deal. We knew we'd be fine if we didn't get that one, and we didn't feel a need to rush," says Ruppelt. Ultimately, they settled on a new home that will be completed this summer for about $265,000. It will cost more than the other house, but the couple like that the home will be brand new and they can pick the flooring and paint colors.

Home prices nationwide started to soften in mid 2018. No one expects them to dive; rather, prices will continue rising but more gradually as the housing market regains a bit of balance between buyers and sellers and reverts to long-term trends.

Carl Medford, a

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