1. Work from a foundation of sound information. It’s essential that you amass an arsenal of information, and use that as the basis for your negotiation. You are in no position to negotiate, aggressively or otherwise, unless and until you are well acquainted with the real estate market immediately surrounding your home, including:
2. Approach the negotiation as a problem-solving challenge. Today’s negotiations are really more like problem solving scenarios, when you take into account all the parties whose needs must be met for the transaction to move forward. Traditionally, negotiations were a two-way power struggle between the buyer and seller, based primarily on their wants and their respective bargaining leverage. But on today’s market, the bank – or banks on both sides — often have their own guidelines and needs that impact the terms of the deal, whether it be the seller’s lender insisting on a certain price in a short sale, or the buyer’s lender and appraiser refusing to lend anything above a certain price.
3. Manage your own mindset. You probably shouldn’t even try to buy a home that you don’t strongly like, or even love. It often makes sense to hone in on a specific offer price (within the range what is reasonable for a home) based on how much you want it, or how much you’d hate to lose it – especially in a multiple offer situation, where you may only have one chance to make an offer.
4. Minimize time pressures. Over the years, I have seen many a buyer and seller make brow-raisingly questionable offers and counteroffers based solely on the fact that they have to move by a certain deadline. Because shelter is a basic human need, the prospect of having to move out, relocating to a new job or moving to a new town without having housing in place can cause even the most nimble among us to feel ungrounded.
5. Act and react quickly – not impulsively. When you find ‘your’ place, make an offer. When you get an offer or counteroffer), respond to it. In real estate, time is always of the essence, and prolonged hesitation often results in lost opportunities. There’s nothing wrong with sleeping on a decision overnight, especially if the ‘right’ move is unclear. But you never know when another buyer or another property might show up on the scene and change the whole bargaining dynamic, costing you more money or wooing away your home’s buyer.
This is why it’s so important to be clear on the market data, your own budget and your own top and bottom lines from the start, so that you are positioned to act quickly, strategically and intelligently when the circumstances require it.
Buyers, sellers and agents: what negotiation insights have you gleaned from your own real estate experiences?
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