Best way to negotiate

Most people think negotiating is making the other party do what you want.   That works when one party has the power to force the other into submission.  Like if you’re an 18 wheeler trying to make a slow car get out of your way.  If you’re the President and can threaten nuclear war.  Fist fights.

Not in real estate.  That behavior typically is counter productive because the other party can usually find somebody nicer to work with and still come out better.

It is a seller’s market now.  Sellers have the upper hand since there are fewer houses for sale.  But they still can’t make a buyer do more than the buyer is willing to do.

Negotiating is getting the other party to do the most they are willing to do for you.  You get them there by thinking of which terms are the most important to them.  In a sale, you have price, inspection repairs, what stays with the house, closing date and possession date.  You also have to know which terms you have some wiggle room on.

Sometimes the timeline is more important than a little more money.  When I bought my current house, there were several other offers.  To compete, I asked the listing agent what plans the seller had made for moving.  They had not found a new house yet.  Since I was keeping my old house as a rental, I did not care when they moved out.  They had lived in the house for 20 years and taken good care of it, so I was not worried about them trashing the place.  I wrote the offer with us closing in 30 days and agreed to let the sellers rent back from me until they found a new house.  They stayed for 3 weeks after the closing.  Now, I know not many people can be THAT flexible, but it is a prime example of giving the other party something really appealing that was really of no value to me.  Conversely, I’ve had clients who needed to be in or out of a house on a short timeline.   I’ve even had clients who had a new fridge and let the seller take the one in the house for agreeing to a better price.

I sold a house last night and it is a prime example of good negotiating.  The buyer had a price in mind.  My seller had a price in mind.  It wasn’t the same price unfortunately.  We were $1000 apart.  This was a cash sale.  The house was sitting vacant.  The buyer offered to close sooner than originally stated and agreed to not ask for any repairs unless there was something majorly wrong with the place.

To my seller, this meant less interest to pay for a house to sit vacant.  Less to spend to insure and heat the place in the dead of winter.  No concern for having to do repairs.  All in all, it probably added up to $1000 in saving for him.

So, the buyer got his price and the seller effectively got his price too.  All because the buyer gave the seller something that was not important to him, but was of value to the seller.

This is how it should be done.


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