Buying or selling a home is not an event it’s a process, we like to say. It’s a process that’s full of negotiations…
- negotiating an offer, with the hope of a contract both parties find a win/win
- negotiating on the response to a home inspection
- negotiating on the results of an appraisal that didn’t meet one or the other party’s expectations
- negotiating on any other contingencies
The best negotiations happen when both buyers and sellers don’t let their emotions rule. It’s not always easy in a process that stirs up emotions and puts people in a stressful state of mind, but it’s the best way to guarantee the best possible outcome. Instead of letting the situation become adversarial, it’s better to aim for a win-win, when everyone is satisfied with what is most important to them.
Here are some general negotiating tips that are applicable for both buyers and sellers:
- Don’t Let Emotions Rule. It’s true that often people buy emotionally; if you don’t love the house, most likely you shouldn’t buy it. But emotions need to be in check when you’re negotiating. Rational heads make the best decisions. We’ve seen people get emotionally worked up and lose sight of the end goal, while standing on principle over a small matter.
- Don’t take offers personally. Selling your home can be emotional. But it’s simply a business transaction, and you should treat it that way. If your agent tells you a buyer complained that your kitchen is outdated, to justify their lowball offer, don’t be offended. Think of it, rather, as sign the buyer is interested and understand that those comments are a negotiating tactic. Negotiate in kind.
- Be creative. If you’ve received an unacceptable offer through your agent, ask questions to determine what’s most important to the buyer and see if you can meet that need. You may learn the buyer has to move quickly. That may allow you to stand firm on price but offer to close quickly. The key to successfully negotiating the sale is to remain flexible.
- Set baselines. Decide in advance what terms are most important to you. For instance, if price is most important, you may need to be flexible on your closing date, or other items. Or if you want certainty that the transaction won’t fall apart because the buyer can’t get a mortgage, ask that a buyer be prequalified.
- Don’t take offers or counter-offers personally. Don’t be offended if the other party doesn’t agree with you on the value of a house. (The other party probably doesn’t know you, it’s really not personal).
- Set Baselines, but remain flexible. Decide ahead of time what you want most and what is least important, then keep your eye on your goal. Remain flexible. Sometimes a change in closing date or a problem with the home inspection or the appraisal can rattle a buyer or seller. Be ready to work together to reach the goal.
Remember the important things, the things you really don’t want to live without in a home. Keep those items at the top of your list and be willing to let go of the less important things.
Remember that the best situation is a win-win. If both parties can get what they want most, everyone wins.
Real Estate Agent Negotiating Skills
Your Agent, whether a buyer’s agent or listing agent, needs to be a great negotiator. That usually comes with experience, but some people just have a natural talent for it. Either way, make sure that your agent has the skills to negotiate well on your behalf in a competitive Real Estate market.
If you’re not sure how to discern whether a real estate agent is a good negotiator, ask for Referrals. Statistics say that 4 people you are acquainted with, will have a real estate transaction this year.* Call someone you trust, ask them what their experience has been. You wouldn’t pick a professional in any field without a referral, why should the biggest investment of your life be any different?
*Buffini & Co.
See our Testimonial Page.
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The Highland Group
Frederick, Md 21701
Chris Highland – The Highland Group – 301-401-5119