It used to be that new home builders in Hawaii and just about
everywhere did NOT negotiate. If you walked in and liked their model,
you could buy a house like it, and overpay for upgrades if you were
really determined to do so .

But if you ever asked them to come down in price, or change some terms,
you were told very politely, "please sign on the line and stop asking
for anything more than we want to give you."

In over 10 years in this business, I had never seen a builder willing
to negotiate, until this month. I took a client of mine over to a
builder (let's just say, in West Oahu), and we found a beautiful large
house that had a huge lot.   My client loves gardening (like me) so
this 2000sqft+ house with 10,000+ sqft of land was perfect.  But it
seemed a little pricey.

Then just as we were looking around the model, the builder's agent
offered this up: "The developer is offering to pay all closing costs,
plus a $30k credit for upgrades, plus a 2-1 buydown on the rate.  BTW,
a 2-1 buydown means your interest rate starts out 2 percent below the
market for a year, then 1 percent below the next year, then fixed for
28 more years.

But my client, still looking for a better deal, asked for more.  After
much discussion, he was offered an additional discount on the price AND
an additional credit for upgrades.

In the end the price reductions and credits added up to about 13% of
the list price of the house. So the next time you walk into a builder's
office, put on your game face.  Get as much as you can out of the
deal.  Buyer's, it's your market. Even in the builder's office!