We have often said over the last 28 years: Buying or selling a home is not an event, it’s a process. It’s a multi-step process that is full of negotiations…
- negotiating an offer, with the hope of a contract both parties find a win/win
- negotiating on multiple offers
- negotiating on the response to a home inspection
- negotiating on the results of an appraisal that didn’t meet expectations
- negotiating on other contingencies, like radon, well and septic, or pest inspections
The best negotiations happen when both buyers and sellers win something. Negotiating in Real Estate is not like other types of transactions.
Buying or selling a house is more than likely the largest financial transaction that most of us encounter in our lives. It is a process that is often stressful. It is a long process compared to buying a car or a toaster. It’s a process that stirs up emotions because it is about our home, a very personal thing.
Whether you are buying a home or selling a home, the way to get the best possible outcome is to keep your eye on the goal. 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.
Real Estate Negotiating 101
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; after all, 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 because it is your home…your nest. But in reality, 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 If your agent tells you a buyer complained that your kitchen is outdated, to justify their lowball offer, don’t be offended.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 are on a timeline and need to get the sale completed to move on to your next location, timing is everything.
- 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.
- 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). Besides, nine times out of ten, the appraiser has the final say on that issue!
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. Make sure your agent has what it takes to be your trusted adviser.
At the Highland Group, we’ve been helping buyers and sellers negotiate their way through the real estate transaction for 28 years. Chris Highland is known by his past clients as a skilled negotiator.
If you’re not sure how to discern whether a real estate agent is a good negotiator, ask for Referrals. Statistics say that four 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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