One of my favourite parts of working in the real estate market is keeping my negotiation skills sharp. I love the negotiation process, and this is where I really go to work for my clients, letting my skills shine. This is when you know for sure you have a tiger on your side.
It’s an exciting time! You feel THIS close to your goals, so close you can taste success. Adrenaline kicks in, and there’s that mix of excitement and anxiety when you enter this phase of a real estate transaction. It’s kind of like asking someone on a date via text message: You spend a lot of time staring at the phone, waiting for a reply, gaming out all the possible scenarios in your head.
That high energy is great, and it’s a huge part of why I love my work. Although as a professional REALTOR® I try and make this process a Win/Win for my clients, there are times when a compromise needs to be made and all parties need to cooperate. There comes a point in the transaction when both parties realize that, if everyone gives a little, then everyone wins.
4 Tips to Help You at the Negotiating Table
Knowledge Is Power
The more you know, the better your hand will be. Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, every little bit of information puts the sale in clearer context. That includes the fair market value for the home in question, the value of other homes in the neighbourhoods, and the motivations of the people involved. If a seller has to sell quickly and the buyer knows it, that information absolutely affects their positions at the negotiation table and their ability to move the offer one way or another.
On the flip side, it’s a good idea to keep your motivations for buying or selling close to your chest. As your REALTOR® and representative, I need to know if you’ve only got 30 days before you have to relocate to another city in order to help meet your goal. But that’s information we can keep between us, and it will keep us in a better position for the negotiation process.
It’s OK To Walk Away
It’s a well known fact in any negotiation that the person who can walk away from the deal holds the cards. You may not want to walk away, but you should be willing to, and it’s important to remember: No offer is the “last” offer until you accept it. There’s always another “perfect” home out there, and always another “perfect” buyer who will fall in love with your property.
Our goal is to get the deal done for you, if at all possible, but if it’s to your detriment is it really worth it? It’s important to stay realistic, even in the excitement of the moment, and know before you step foot into negotiations what your “deal-breakers” are. Maybe it’s a budget cutoff, maybe it’s a move-in timeline, or maybe it’s a condition on the sale. Whatever the deal-breakers, you’ve got to know what they are before you step up to the table, and stick to them.
Choose Your Battles Wisely
The last thing you want is for the negotiations to sour over minor details: Make sure you keep an eye on the big picture and what’s really important to you. Are your stainless steel appliances really off-limits? Is that antique armoire you spotted during the viewing worth the deal falling apart?
Just as it’s important to be able to walk away, it’s also important not to let your ego get the best of you. Fighting harder and harder for a thousand dollars here and there when you’ve got fair offer within your price range can be a losing battle, and a little like banging your head against a brick wall.
Keep It Moving
Time is a key element in the negotiation process, and if you stall the process for too long it can make things more difficult for you. That’s not to say you should ever rush, but keep in mind yours might not be the only offer on the table, or the only house someone is looking at. Buying or selling a home is a big decision and you should make sure you take the time you need to think about it, but an offer made can be withdrawn if you hesitate too long.
This is another reason why it’s important to know what your goals and deal-breakers are before going into the negotiation process. If you’re prepared and know what you’re willing to give and where the lines in the sand are ahead of time, you should be able to keep things moving. And that doesn’t mean “accepting” something right away: A lot of the time, it means sending in a counter offer.
Another thing to remember: A negotiation means it’s give and take. Both sides will have to make concessions, and if one side won’t budge an inch then the deal’s over before it’s even begun. Remember what I said at the beginning: Sometimes if both sides give a little, then everyone wins in the end.