3 times you SHOULD negotiate better pricing!
We know… negotiating can be super uncomfortable. You don’t want to offend someone by offering less than they are expecting. And many times, we wonder if it is even appropriate to negotiate. Surprisingly, there are many situations that you absolutely can haggle for a better deal! Here are 3 situations you SHOULD negotiate better pricing.
Did you know you can negotiate high medical bills? Keep in mind that cash is king. When speaking with the billing department, be sure to ask if they would be willing to accept a lower amount if you pay that day in cash. If it is reasonable offer, they will often say yes. Confirm that they will NOT be sending the remaining balance to collections and that you are all agreeing to accept that amount as the final price.
If you don’t have the cash to make an offer, always ask for a payment plan as opposed to putting the full amount on a credit card. Payment plans are almost ALWAYS interest free! The hospital or medical office may have a specific amount they expect in payment each month. If you just can’t make that payment, tell them! It is better for them to accept a smaller (still reasonable) payment as opposed to no payment at all or missed payments. Making regular on-time payments is important and will help keep your account out of collections.
Getting accepting to the college of your choice is the dream of many college students! But keep in mind… when applying to colleges, you are the customer. Yes, many schools are very competitive and we often view acceptance to those schools as a privilege (thus the College Admissions Scandal that has swept the Country). But, at the end of the day, colleges need students! There are a few ways you can leverage your negotiating power at colleges and universities.
- Apply to multiple schools: As the old saying goes, “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.” Give yourself multiple options. This past year, a 17 year old girl from Greensboro, North Carolina, applied to 115 college and was accepted to 113. She also received a grand total of $4 million in scholarship/aid offers! And she requested to have the application fees waived. This is an extreme example, but she gave herself LOTS of options.
- Compare financial aid/reward offers: After applying to a college, you will receive a financial aid package from that school. This shows what they are willing to offer you to come to their institution and will include scholarship offers. Use these packages as leverage! Compare your top offers and show them to your first choice schools. If they are equivalent colleges and want you as a student, they will often match the offer or negotiate a better deal.
- Leverage any special skills: If you have a strong academic record, athletic or musical talent, use this to your advantage. Choose a college where your abilities will shine and be an asset to both you and the school.
If you are continuing your education post high school, be sure to apply for our BCFCU Academic Scholarship Program! Every year, we choose 3 members to receive a $1,000 scholarship! In addition, we have our BCFCU Sallie Mae Loan program that will cover 100% of the remainder of your tuition payments.
Buying a home:
Negotiating a home price can be tricky and often times depends on outside factors. Knowing the market is a huge negotiating tool for the buyer. If your housing market is competitive, you may need to make a decision quickly or even offer more than the home is listed for. We hear many stories of homes going on the market and having 3 to 4 offers in the first day alone.
One of the best tools you can use is pre-approval! Before you even begin looking for your dream home, come to the credit union and get pre-approved! This will help you know exactly how much house you can afford and give you an edge when negotiating. BCFCU offers very competitive first mortgage products to make owning your dream home a reality.
Working with a licensed realtor will also give you an edge. They will know the market and what homes are worth. This will help you make a fair offer. Be sure to work with a realtor local to the area you want to purchase a home. If you are looking to move out of town, contact an agency in that area to begin your search. Local agents will know their area and be able to give you the best advice. Check out this article from realtor.com for advice on how to choose a realtor for an out of state home purchase.